High Tech and High Touch: A Framework for Understanding User Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Smart Interactive Services

Nancy V. Wünderlich, Florian V. Wangenheim, M J Bitner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

246 Scopus citations


Smart interactive services, in contrast with other technology-based services, require significant human-to-human interaction and collaboration in addition to the service provided by the embedded technology itself. The authors' foundational Delphi study confirms smart interactive services (e.g., remote diagnosis, remote repair of equipment, and telemedicine) are a rapidly growing innovation category across industries. Yet, gaining user acceptance of these types of services presents a significant challenge for managers. To address this challenge, the authors employ a grounded theory approach, drawing on depth interviews, to develop a framework of barriers and facilitators to users' attitudinal and behavioral responses to smart interactive services. The findings reveal a new set of beliefs that are critical in this context. These beliefs are tied to the human element and specifically pertain to beliefs about the "service counterpart (SC)," who is the provider's employee controlling the technology. Control, trustworthiness, and collaboration beliefs emerge jointly as important and interrelated influencers tied to the SC. Contrary to conventional wisdom that focuses on features of the technology itself to gain user acceptance, this research encourages providers to emphasize the interpersonal elements of the service by providing control cues, raising social presence, and enhancing human trust mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • remote service
  • service counterpart
  • service technology
  • smart service
  • technology adoption
  • technology-mediated service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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