The Role of Other Customers during Self-Service Technology Failure
Youjae Yi, Seo Young Kim
Service Business
Service recovery through inter-customer helping is especially meaningful in the self-service technology (SST) failure context because SSTs are associated with a high risk of failure due to the lack of face-to-face contacts with employees. In understanding the phenomenon of inter-customer helping, two fundamental questions are investigated in the current research: (1) does social influence play a role in customers’ helping decisions? and (2) what are the motives for helping? Through two experimental studies, we provide evidence that two different forms of social influence play a role in helping others during SST failures, and customers have self-centered (vs. other-centered) motives. Results from Study 1 showed that individuals in the private environment indicated more willingness to help than individuals in the public environment did due to heightened perceived responsibility. Study 2 revealed that tie strength influenced willingness to help via a dual pathway: perceived responsibility and social approach motives. Finally, we discuss and highlight the positive influence that self-centered motives can exert in the SST failure scene.