Technology adoption, relative advantage, self-service
At a time when consumers are offered a wealth of online tools for self-managing their financial affairs, it is pertinent to scrutinise perceptions of this technology. However, behavioural theories such as the Technology Acceptance Model do not permit a framing of usage decisions in terms of a choice between online or offline service channels. This paper examines perceptions of the relative advantage of digital versus traditional interactions in determining intention to use self-service platforms. A between-groups mixed-methods study of insurance customers was performed to determine the extent to which beliefs regarding the advantages of online channels influence usage of policy management facilities in a post-purchase context. The results suggest that perceived relative advantage of service channels can extend and even supplement models such as TAM in providing an understanding of adoption intentions. The findings also offer insights to insurance companies in tailoring these technologies to their customers needs insofar as it appears that the functionality and features of these platforms are less important than perceptions as to whether or not they are suitable for specific tasks. Thus in terms of adoption research for web-based self-service technologies, it is crucial to consider how perceived relative advantage of online and offline channels influence usage intentions.
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