The SST co-production: consumer readiness and its effect on the relationships between hedonic, utilitarian, security factors, satisfaction with, attitudes towards and repeated use of SSTs

2017-02-27T23:24:50Z (GMT) by Leung, Sau Kei, Larry
Self-service technologies (SSTs) have radically changed how businesses interact with customers and offer benefits to consumers and organizations. Because using SSTs is a form of co-production, the successful deployment of SSTs not only relies upon factors related to SSTs but also consumers’ participation in self-service. Previous research indicates that hedonic, utilitarian and security factors of SSTs, such as perceived control, fun/enjoyment, ease of use, usefulness, perceived risk and anonymity, have the potential to influence the repeated use of SSTs. However, how these factors affect the repeated use of SSTs in retailing is unclear because insufficient research regarding the SST co-production process and the mediators of the repeated use of SSTs has been conducted. Meuter et al. (2005) conducted pioneer studies to understand the SST co-production process and found that consumer readiness, comprising ability, role clarity and motivation, was an important mediator of SST trials. However, the dimensions and generalisability of consumer readiness are still open to question. To date, the co-production process at the consumer decision stage entailing the repeated use of SSTs has gained limited attention from previous SST research. Thus, we argue that consumer readiness should be re-conceptualized as consisting of trust, self-determined motivation, ability and role clarity; it should also be considered an important mediator of the repeated use of SSTs. Given that attitudes towards and satisfaction with SSTs are also important antecedents to the repeated use of SSTs, consumer readiness is hypothesized to mediate the relationships between hedonic, utilitarian and security factors and attitudes towards, satisfaction with and repeated use of SSTs. Attitudes towards and satisfaction with SSTs are hypothesized to mediate the relationship between consumer readiness and repeated use of SSTs. In this study, emails were sent to a targeted audience, and 361 respondents completed an online questionnaire. The collected data were analysed by SPSS, PROCESS and AMOS, and a structural equation model (SEM) was formed. The results indicate that trust, self-determined motivation, ability and role clarity are inter-related. Trust, self-determined motivation and ability demonstrate differential mediating effects on the relationships between hedonic, utilitarian and security factors and attitudes towards, satisfaction with and repeated use of SSTs, whereas role clarity does not mediate any relationships between hedonic, utilitarian and security factors and attitudes towards, satisfaction with and repeated use of SSTs. Additionally, attitudes towards and satisfaction with SSTs demonstrate differential mediating effects on the relationship between consumer readiness and the repeated use of SSTs. The SEM model further reveals that hedonic and security factors are positively and negatively associated with consumer readiness, whereas utilitarian factors are not associated with consumer readiness. While consumer readiness is positively associated with attitudes towards, satisfaction with and the repeated use of SSTs and attitudes towards SSTs are positively associated with the repeated use of SSTs, satisfaction with SSTs is not associated with the repeated use of SSTs. Although consumer readiness enhances satisfaction with, attitudes towards and the repeated use of SSTs, the results imply that SST co-production is a complicated process, and the dimensions of consumer readiness may need to be re-considered at the repeated use of SSTs consumer decision stage. The results also suggest that consumers play important roles in self-service in retailing. In addition to the hedonic, utilitarian and security factors of SSTs, managers should also aim at building trust, nurturing self-determined motivation and enhancing customers’ ability and positive attitudes to further facilitate the use of SSTs. The current study is important because it further unravels customers’ participatory roles in the SST co-production process and suggests that customers are important co-producers. Thus, firms can use customers’ talents, skills and knowledge to improve their organizations’ competitiveness.