High Tech and High Touch: A Framework for Understanding User Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Smart Interactive Services

Nancy Wünderlich, University of Paderborn, Germany
Florian von Wangenheim, Technical University of Munich, Germany
Mary Jo Bitner, Arizona State University

Smart services – services delivered via technology embedded in products, machines, and other physical objects – represent a fast-growing segment of the service innovation marketplace. This paper examines a specific category of smart services which we label “interactive smart services” in which a customer interacts via phone or the Internet with a service provider who is also able to access and control the customer’s equipment. We build a comprehensive framework for understanding t user attitudes, acceptance and usage for this category of interactive smart services. The research employs a grounded theory approach and is supported by interviews with smart service users and providers in a B2B context in the United States, Germany and China. This research findings illustrate that the typical focus of service providers on technology features is not enough to increase usage behaviors of smart service customers. Instead, providers should emphasize the interpersonal relationship during the technology-mediated service interaction by providing control cues, raising social presence and trust building mechanisms.

 

The paper is published in Journal of Service Research, February 2013, pp. 3-20.