Electronic Commerce Research

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 373–407 | Cite as

The process of solving problems with self-service technologies: a study from the user’s perspective

  • Alireza NiliEmail author
  • Mary Tate
  • David Johnstone


Even the most reliable self-service technologies (SSTs) sometimes fail to meet the user’s expectations. This can occur due to technical errors, user service support staff or the user’s own mistakes. Although extensive research has been done on topics such as user complaining behaviors and the role of businesses in solving SST problems, little research has focused on the user’s own role in solving these problems. In this study, we review the extant studies of SST problems and resolution in the wider business literature; review the prominent theories of problem-solving from multiple disciplines; explain the limitations of existing studies and theories in the context of self-service and SSTs; and develop a process theory specifically for this context.


Self-service technology SST SST problem Problem-solving process Process theory 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information SystemsQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Information ManagementVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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