Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Seven Challenges to Combining Human and Automated Service

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences

Seven Challenges to Combining Human and Automated Service

Article excerpt


We introduce this special issue by addressing seven key challenges associated with managing hybrid human-automated service systems. These consist of the following:

1. What strategic and tactical issues arise when managing hybrid service systems?

2. How should the core "value proposition" be set?

3. What special considerations arise in the design and implementation phases?

4. How can service delivery be managed to identify systemic problems and to address service breakdowns?

5. How can communications with clients improve the functioning of service systems?

6. What performance measures should be used to monitor process, outputs, client perceptions, and financial outcomes?

7. How can we coordinate the various interdisciplinary activities needed to address the previous six issues?

We consider these challenges after first characterizing the historical evolution of service delivery, reviewing some of the literature in the administrative sciences, and proposing a conceptual framework. Copyright © 2009 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

JEL Classification: M15, M31, L80, M12, M11, M53

Keywords: service management, service marketing, service science, self-service, hybrid service systems, evolution of service delivery, points of contract, relationship marketing


Nous introduisons ce numéro spécial en nous penchant sur sept défis clés liés à la gestion des systèmes de services automatiques humains hybrides. Nous formulons ces défis sous forme de questions :

1. Quels sont les problèmes tactiques et stratégiques liés à la gestion des systèmes de services hybrides?

2. Comment élaborer la «proposition de valeur» fondamentale?

3. Quels sont les aspects auxquels il faut prêter attention pendant les phases de conception et de réalisation?

4. Comment gérer la prestation de services pour identifier les problèmes systêmiques et mettre fin aux interruptions de services?

5. Comment les communications avec la clientèle peuvent-elles améliorer le fonctionnement des systèmes de services?

6. Quelles sont les mesures de performance qu'il faut utiliser pour contrôler les processus et les résultats?

7. Comment coordonner les différentes activités interdisciplinaires nécessaires pour faire face aux six problèmes sus-évoqués?

Avant de proposer des éléments de réponses à ces questions, nous caractérisons l'évolution historique de la prestation de service, passons en revue les travaux antérieurs dans le domaine des sciences de l 'administration et proposons un cadre conceptuel. Copyright © 2009 ASAC. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Mots clés : gestion des services, marketing de services, science de services, libre-service, systèmes de services hybrides, évolution de la prestation de services, multiples points de contrat, marketing personnalisé

Automated processes are transforming service delivery in many industries. Not so long ago, for example, banking services were delivered exclusively by humans until automated teller machines entered the mix in the late 1960s in the UK and US (Bátiz-Lazo, 2007; Richardson, 1970). In Canada, online banking is now used by 58% of the 16.8 million adult users of the Internet (Statistics Canada, 2006). It has been suggested that similar transformations are common in other industries globally (e.g., see Table 1).

Because service industries account for so much economic activity, it is incumbent on the administrative sciences to learn how to manage such transformations. In the US, for example, 70% of total economic activity occurs in private nongoods-producing industries, including retail trade, wholesale trade, and various service industries; service industries alone account for 55% (US Census Bureau, 2007) of total economic activity. To help understand these growing industries, G?? has called for an initiative on developing a multidisciplinary field of study and application called Service Science, Management, and Engineering (SSME), and a new association of scholars devoted to the study of Service Science has been formed as a subdivision of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. …

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