Purpose: To enhance customer experiences, firms are increasingly adding human-like features to their self-service technology (SST) machines. To that end, the purpose of the present study is to examine customer interactions with an anthropomorphic machine in a service failure context. Specifically, the authors investigate the joint effects of machine voice, an individual’s sense of power and the presence of other customers in influencing customers’ switching intentions following an SST failure. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, the authors used a quasi-experimental design in which they manipulated voice type (anthropomorphic vs robotic) and the presence of other customers (present vs absent) in video-based scenarios while measuring customers’ sense of power. The scenarios reflected a service failure experience with a self-service kiosk at an airport. The authors tested the hypotheses using PROCESS analyses with the Johnson–Neyman technique. Findings: Consumer reactions to SST failures vary depending on the degree of anthropomorphism associated with an SST machine, an individual’s sense of power and the presence of other customers. Research limitations/implications: Field inquiry and an investigation in other SST contexts or of other anthropomorphic features are needed to generalize the findings. Practical implications: Service providers targeting powerful consumers should consider the social presence of others when incorporating anthropomorphic features into their SST facilities. Originality/value: This study is the first to examine consumer responses to service failures in an anthropomorphic SST context.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes