ICT, Multi-Channels, and the Changing Line of Visibility: An Empirical Study

M. Tate, B.G. Hope, D. Johnstone
2006 Proceedings of the 39th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'06)  
This paper argues that the advent of multi-channel environments, incorporating ICT-mediated channels, necessitates a reinterpretation of the 'line of visibility' found in the service quality literature. In a multi-channel environment, inconsistency or service breakdowns above the line of visibility gives a negative impression of organisational competence below the line. Many face-to-face contact points have been replaced by ICT-mediated contact points, and this gives a transparency to the line
more » ... f visibility, allowing customers to see into the organisation's back office systems. In this research, two propositions are empirically tested using mystery shoppers. We find that multi-channel customers using a mixture of face-to-face and ICT-mediated channels can gain insights into organisational systems, processes and values that were previously below the line of visibility. This suggests that organisations need to concentrate on consistent quality delivery throughout the organisation, including back-office processes, in order to maintain their customers' confidence.
doi:10.1109/hicss.2006.207 dblp:conf/hicss/TateHJ06 fatcat:ddquskmaxzf6tf6it4nv7jxe64