Self-Service Systems: Quality Dimensions and Users' Profiles

Self-Service Systems: Quality Dimensions and Users' Profiles

Calin Gurau (GSCM – Montpellier Business School, France)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-064-6.ch004
OnDemand PDF Download:


The evolution of information technology applications has changed the landscape of the service industry, offering the possibility of customer empowerment through self-service applications. Considering the main three streams of research already applied in the study of self-services, this chapter investigates customers’ perceptions about eight dimensions that characterise the quality of the self-service experience. On the other hand, the study attempts to analyse the influence of the self-service users’ profile (gender, Internet usage experience, and online self-service usage experience), and to provide specific insights about the needs and wants of various categories of customers.
Chapter Preview


In the last 15 years, the evolution of information technology applications has changed the landscape of the service industry. The implementation of self-service technology has created new service channels and procedures. Nowadays, clients can conduct bank transactions through automated teller machines (ATM) or on the Internet (online banking), make reservations or purchase tickets through online kiosks, check-in automated hotels, or use self-scanning systems in retail stores (Bobbitt & Dabholkar, 2001). The integration of self-service technology with Internet applications has increased even more the convenience of information-rich services; the customers can now access the service from their homes or offices, 24 hours a day, without geographical limitations.

On the other hand, the introduction of effective self-service systems allows companies to automate the repetitive elements of services, concentrating their resources and personnel on more personalised aspects of the company–customer relationship, and thus providing more added-value to their clients. However, the implementation of this strategy requires more than the introduction of self-service applications. These self-service systems need to be tied-in with employee-related policies and procedures. These internal procedures must insure that the customer can rely on virtual assistance when using a self-service interface and that can feel comfortable in a range of transactions without human intervention (Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders, & Wong, 2002).

The production and consumption of services have specific characteristics that permit customer empowerment but, on the other hand, create challenges related with customer satisfaction and with customer’s perception regarding service quality. By comparison with products, the services are (Zeithaml, Bitner, & Gremler, 2002a):

  • 1.

    Intangible: Services cannot be seen, tasted, felt, heard, or smelled. This makes evaluating service quality very difficult and potential consumers look for visible indicators of quality.

  • 2.

    Inseparable: Services are produced and consumed at the same time and cannot be separated from their providers. Provider and client must interact for the service to occur and therefore both parties become part of the service provided.

  • 3.

    Variable: As consumer and producer are both part of the service, the quality of services may vary greatly depending on who provides them and when, where, and how they are provided. Marketers must therefore take steps towards achieving quality control amongst their service providers.

  • 4.

    Perishable: Services must be consumed as they are provided and cannot be stored for later use. This becomes a problem if demand fluctuates and service opportunities are missed. Marketers must develop strategies to either keep demand constant or provide the equivalent supply of service to match the fluctuating demand.

  • 5.

    No transfer of ownership: Services cannot be owned by the user. Marketers therefore should develop strategies to enable consumers to recall the quality of service they received.

The introduction of online self-services has changed the way in which companies relate to their customers. This new technology eliminates firm’s personnel from the service interface, replacing it with software applications that can be accessed through real-time Internet connection. On the other hand, the self-service system gives additional responsibilities to the customer, who will initiate, generate, and consume the service interacting directly with software applications. However, this additional responsibility is not necessarily perceived as negative by the involved customers. In fact, many studies have shown that customers, and especially online service users, enjoy having a greater degree of control over the service they require. The self-service systems might permit a better customisation of the online service, resulting in improved satisfaction for the user.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Virpi Kristiina Tuunainen
Ada Scupola
Chapter 1
Anders Henten
This chapter examines the provision and codevelopment of electronic services, content, and applications at the conceptual level. There is focus on... Sample PDF
Services, E-Services, and Nonservices
Chapter 2
Ioannis P. Chochliouros
The European Authorities have promoted a specific and innovative framework for the use of electronic signatures, allowing the free flow of... Sample PDF
Developing Measures and Standards for the European Electronic Signatures Market
Chapter 3
Flavio Corradini
The quality assessment of e-government services is more and more emerging as a key issue within public administrations. Ensuring a proper quality of... Sample PDF
Quality Assessment of Digital Services in E-Government with a Case Study in an Italian Region
Chapter 4
Calin Gurau
The evolution of information technology applications has changed the landscape of the service industry, offering the possibility of customer... Sample PDF
Self-Service Systems: Quality Dimensions and Users' Profiles
Chapter 5
Carlos Flavián Blanco
The new online communication has had a considerable impact on the activities of the newspaper industry. As a result, analysis of the duality of... Sample PDF
Online Journalistic Services: Are Digital Newspapers Complementary to Traditional Press?
Chapter 6
Mirjana Pejic-Bach, Miran Pejic-Bach
This chapter explores the possibilities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find their way to success in e-business. The basic... Sample PDF Developing an Online Store for the Niche Market
Chapter 7
Benita M. Gullkvist
This chapter analyses and provides an example of the introduction and first years of the management of accounting services and e-services in a... Sample PDF
Emerging E-Services in Accounting: A Longitudinal Case Study
Chapter 8
Aki Ahonen, Jarno Salonen, Raija Järvinen, Jouni Kivistö-Rahnasto
The chapter introduces an innovative organizational logic for developing and designing electronic services especially in the context of financial... Sample PDF
eInsurance: Developing Customer-Friendly Electronic Insurance Services from the Novel Project Perspective
Chapter 9
Zhongxian Wang, James Yao, Ruiliang Yan, Jeffrey Hsu
eBay provides online marketplaces for the sale of goods and services, online payments, and online communication offerings. Their three primary... Sample PDF
eBay: An E-Titan Success Story
Chapter 10
Hanne Westh Nicolajsen
In this chapter we analyse organizational challenges when an engineering consultancy in the building industry integrates information and... Sample PDF
Limitations and Perspectives on Use of E-Services in Engineering Consulting
Chapter 11
Esko Penttinen, Timo Saarinen, Pekka Sinervo
Today, many manufacturing companies are focusing on their service operations, which are often seen as a better source of revenue than the... Sample PDF
The Role of E-Services in the Transition from the Product Focus to the Service Focus in the Printing Business: Case Lexmark
Chapter 12
Alexander Yap
This chapter focuses on the theme of e-service innovation in financial electronic markets. The discussion will cover the theories of “technology... Sample PDF
Evolution of Online Financial Trading Systems: E-Service Innovations in the Brokerage Sector
Chapter 13
Simon Heilesen
Examining electronic services both as products and as organization, this chapter discusses the development and management of e-services at Roskilde... Sample PDF
The Case of Roskilde University E-Services
Chapter 14
Ada Scupola
This chapter reports the findings of a case study of e-services adoption at research libraries. The case under consideration is Roskilde University... Sample PDF
E-Services in Danish Research Libraries: Issues and Challenges at Roskilde University Library
Chapter 15
Tommaso Federici
This chapter deals with the introduction of electronic procurement in the public healthcare domain. After a brief discussion on the healthcare... Sample PDF
Introducing E-Procurement in a Local Healthcare Agency
Chapter 16
Shashi Bhushan Gogia
The role of information technology (IT) in managing disasters is increasingly being recognized. The Healing Touch project was started after the... Sample PDF
Providing Telemental Health Services after Disasters: A Case Based on the Post-Tsunami Experience
Chapter 17
Robert F. Rubeck, Glenn A. Miller
The need of rural and reservation residents to receive better government services has been long-standing. In spite of the best efforts of the Social... Sample PDF
vGOV: Remote Video Access to Government Services
About the Contributors