Paluch, Stefanie; Blut, Markus
January 2011
AMA Summer Educators' Conference Proceedings;2011, Vol. 22, p518
Conference Paper
Changes in markets, customers, and technologies are enabling new business models, capabilities, and products, such as the infusion of services (i.e., "solutions") into goods-dominant firms, products co-created with customers or network partners, and offerings customized to customer behavior observed over time (Marketing Science Institute 2010). Some technologies such as remote services enable service transactions over the internet and the generation of services without establishing personal contact. Remote services constitute such an emerging type of technology-mediated service in the business-to-business context. A study conducted by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. estimated that 11 percent of service jobs around the world could be carried out remotely (Farrel, Laboissiere, and Rosenfeld 2005). Particularly in high-technology industries such as IT, medical healthcare and mechanical engineering, remote services are established instruments that are often used for remote repair, remote diagnosis and maintenance (Biehl, Prater, and McIntyre 2004). These services significantly change the delivery process of services, since they are provided in an interactive technology-mediated production process, exclusively allowing the service providers to access and modify the service object over long distances. Remote services have the potential to be beneficial for both service providers and customers based on the increased flexibility regarding the service delivery, time savings regarding the problem solving and costs reduction concerning travel costs of technicians and unplanned system failures. Despite these potential advantages the acceptance by the customers is still fairly low. As more providers offer their customers remote services, understanding what creates a satisfying experience becomes crucial. Although the antecedents to customer satisfaction are well documented in classical contexts (Oliver 1997; Szymanski and Henard 2001; Yi 1990), customer satisfaction in a remote services context has not been subjected to conceptual or empirical scrutiny. More specifically, no systematic research into the determinants of remote services-satisfaction has been conducted. No research has been conducted even though the findings from such studies would add value to strategies designed to augment remote services-satisfaction and guarantee that remote services-customers will be satisfied. Against this background, remote services are considered as a major research priority and researchers call for more empirical studies (Ostrom et al. 2010). Hence, our objective is to provide the initial evidence for the determinants of remote services-satisfaction. We examine and document the role of (1) remote service technology, (2) remote service workflow, (3) economic value, (4) information exchange, (5) interaction, (6) remote service individualization, and (7) auxiliary services in customer remote services-satisfaction assessments. We rely on qualitative evidence gathered through in-depth interviews to develop a conceptual model which includes determinants of remote services-satisfaction. We then test this model across users of remote services in a second B2B-industry. We close the study by discussing implications of the findings and directions for future research. Even though satisfaction is central to increase competitiveness of new technology-mediated services, no research has examined the determinants of remote services-satisfaction. One objective in this study was to begin to fill this gap in the literature. To this end, we document that (1) remote service technology, (2) remote service workflow, (3) economic value, (4) information exchange, (5) interaction, (6) remote service individualization, and (7) auxiliary services have a significant influence on remote services-satisfaction levels. We further document the relative magnitude of these effects. References are available upon request.



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