Smart technologies and connected objects are rapidly changing the organizational frontline. Yet, our understanding of how these technologies infuse service encounters remains limited. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to update existing classifications of Frontline Service Technology (FST) infusion. Moreover, the authors discuss three promising smart and connected technologies – conversational agents, extended reality (XR) and blockchain technology – and their respective implications for customers, frontline employees and service organizations.Design/methodology/approachThis paper uses a conceptual approach integrating existing work on FST infusion with artificial intelligence, robotics, XR and blockchain literature, while also building on insights gathered through expert interviews and focus group conversations with members of two service research centers.FindingsThe authors define FST and propose a set of FST infusion archetypes at the organizational frontline. Additionally, the authors develop future research directions focused on understanding how conversational agents, XR and blockchain technology will impact service.Originality/valueThis paper updates and extends existing classifications of FST, while paving the road for further work on FST infusion.
Journal of Service Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 14, 2019
Keywords: Service encounter; Blockchain; Conversational agents; Extended reality; Organizational frontline; Technology infusion
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