Date of this Version
Published in Service Business 14 (2020), pp 1–22. doi:10.1007/s11628-019-00408-2
The Industry 4.0 era has brought a shift in consumers’ purchasing behaviors from traditional retailing to online and/or mobile channels, triggered by advanced digital technologies and an easy access to the global market. Smart digital devices and advanced technologies have enabled “untact” service, facilitating customer encounters without a face-to-face contact with employees. This study presents the concept of untact service based on a review of the literature on technology-enabled customer encounters with service providers and analysis of several real-world cases. The results indicate that untact services are becoming widespread in various areas of daily life, such as ordering food at franchise restaurants via digital devices, handling financial transactions without visiting a bank branch through e-banking apps, and using online or mobile order systems for a multitude of products/services. This study elaborates implications of untact service in terms of new opportunities and challenges involved when it is implemented as a new customer service strategy.