The emergence of various service technologies has reshaped how today’s customers interact with the service provider. The current research proposes a service matrix delineating various types of service encounters along two dimensions: touch (the extent to which customers directly interact with frontline employees) and tech (the intensity of technology use). Furthermore, we investigate the moderating role of relationship type (i.e., communal vs. exchange) in influencing customer evaluations of touch and tech type encounters and further identify the underlying mechanism. The results from the two empirical studies demonstrate the moderating effect of the communal relationship norms and the consequent mediation effect of warmth. This research lays the foundation for the future investigation of different service encounter management practices based on various levels of human factors and technology infusion. For service companies, our findings about the interplay of service encounter types and customer–company relationships will help them to better understand their customers and consequently provide an optimal level of service.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management