Getting Smart

Detelina Marinova, Ko de Ruyter, Ming-Hui Huang, Matthew L. Meuter, Goutam Challagalla
2016 Journal of Service Research  
This is the accepted version of the paper. This version of the publication may differ from the final published version. Permanent repository link: Link to published version: http://dx. Abstract Smart technologies are rapidly transforming frontline employee-customer interactions. However, little academic research has tackled urgent, relevant questions regarding such technologyempowered frontline interactions. The current study conceptualizes: (1) smart
more » ... gy use in frontline employee-customer interactions, (2) smart technology-mediated learning mechanisms that elevate service effectiveness and efficiency performance to empower frontline interactions, and (3) stakeholder interaction goals as antecedents of smart technology-mediated learning. We propose that emerging smart technologies, which can substitute for or complement frontline employees' efforts to deliver customized service over time, may help resolve the long-standing tension between service efficiency and effectiveness, because they can learn or enable learning from and across customers, frontline employees, and interactions. Drawing from pragmatic and deliberate learning theories, the authors conceptualize stakeholder learning mechanisms that mediate the effects of frontline interaction goals on frontline employees' and customers' effectiveness and efficiency outcomes. This study concludes with implications for research and practice. New, rapidly emerging technologies are transforming frontline employee-customer interactions. For example, imagine a medical device that tracks heart rate activity continuously for each individual patient, across a vast number of patients. Using signals from patients and heart attack incidences over time, the device may gain the ability to predict, in real time, when a patient is about to have a heart attack. Much like recommends products to customers by using the collective purchase histories it has collected, the medical device could send a message to an individual patient, suggesting "Please take your blood pressure medicine now, because your blood pressure is above your target level." These improved diagnostics hold the promise of improving efficient, effective health care services, with fewer redundant checkups and faster problem identification. In turn, health care professionals can make better decisions, and patients can learn how to combat illness and manage their personal health. Such data-rich, customized analyses require an infinite array of smart, connected devices that can combine data from electronic medical records, diagnostic information, and personal monitoring-that is, the "Internet of things." As the cost of connecting devices continues to drop, such smart technology innovations are quickly making their ways into customers' business and personal lives, with far-reaching potential for applications at the service frontline. We define smart technologies as tools (comprising information, software and hardware) that can enable customer and frontline employee learning from frontline interactions that co-produce value. Over time, these smart technologies begin to adapt and offer customized, desirable service to customers. Customized service delivery, whether focused on effectiveness, efficiency, or both, also is increasingly an expectation among customers. Moreover, faced with technology-empowered
doi:10.1177/1094670516679273 fatcat:bozw66tugze3leagpk5qtyorki