Browsing by Subject "service marketing"

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  • Mickelsson, Jakob (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2014)
    Economics and Society – 267
    Due to changes in technology, customers are increasingly empowered in their interactions with companies. Information is readily available, and customers can choose, learn and contribute in ways previously unimaginable. Even though marketers have acknowledged the importance of understanding the customer as an active participant in service, there have been few efforts to systematically understand and illustrate the customer’s structures of activity. Customer activity has within marketing traditionally been viewed as a response to inputs from the provider. Advertising, for example, is seen as having a persuasive function: It should result in the customer’s activity of buying. Similarly, in service research, the customer’s activities are considered to be either directed by service design or as inputs into an interaction process. This thesis presents an alternative view on customer activity: It is a perspective on service use. In contrast to earlier perspectives, the customer activity perspective incorporates service as an enabling or supporting element in the customer’s activities. The thesis defines ‘customer activity’ as a discrete sequence of behaviour that through its outcomes aims at creating or supporting some type of value in the customer’s life or business. This definition enables new types of analysis. By identifying many separate customer activities, service providers can uncover interlinked systems of activity. Customer activities are connected to each other through, for example, frequency links, functional links, resource links, temporal links, cognitive links or geographical links. The role of service is to enable customer activity and serve as an ingredient in the customer’s interlinked systems of activity. Consequently, the thesis takes a customer-dominant stance on service. Customers are seen as controlling and combining the services of different providers with each other to serve their own ends. Customer activity is presented as a focal concept for understanding this process. Moreover, customer activity is viewed as more than simply interactions with a service provider or inputs into realizing a particular service. Rather, activities are elements that customers use to organize their own lives. The thesis contains empirical examinations of the relationship between customer activity and service. These show that customers maintain different types of activity systems, and that the same service can play different roles in the life of the customer. Service providers can use this information as input for service design, communication and customer segmentation.
  • Medberg, Gustav (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2016)
    Economics and Society – 295
    In recent years, value has become a central topic of marketing research and business practice and is now considered to be a foundation of all effective marketing activity. Value, however, is also one of the most debated and challenging concepts in contemporary marketing theory. The elusive nature of value has contributed to the difficulty for marketing researchers to define the concept. Several streams of value research exist within marketing literature, contributing to the fluid conceptualizations of value. The definition of value adopted by the recent service perspective on marketing theory is value as value-in-use. A fundamental principle of value-in-use is that value is always created and determined during use of products and services. But what is value-in-use, really? This thesis set out to explore what it means for customers in service contexts. Surprisingly little attention has been given in prior service marketing research to the question of how customers understand and interpret value-in-use. Such knowledge is essential for future research about value-in-use as well as for generating customer-centric marketing insights based on a service perspective on marketing theory. The aim of this study was to address this gap and further our understanding of value-in-use from the service customer’s point of view. To achieve the purpose of the thesis, the Value Chart Technique (VCT) was created. The VCT is a research method that captures customers’ perceptions of positive and negative value-in-use throughout service episodes. The method utilizes a graphical tool called the Value chart to track how value-in-use evolves. The VCT’s unique set of features makes it particularly suited for studying value-in-use as a dynamic phenomenon. For the empirical study, 26 informants were recruited, and they shared a total of 53 positive and negative bank service stories, which were analyzed using the VCT. The findings of the study show not only how value-in-use evolves positively and negatively over time, but also that customers understand and interpret value-in-use in service episodes as features of the service process, the outcome of the service, and economic features of the service, i.e., functional, technical, and economic service quality. Hence, this thesis contributes to service marketing theory by demonstrating that service quality and value-in-use in service episodes represent the same empirical phenomenon, despite their different theoretical traditions. As the findings indicate that service quality is the way in which customers understand and interpret value-in-use in service contexts, service managers are recommended to focus on continuous quality management as a way to facilitate the creation of value-in-use.
  • Mickelsson, Jacob; Helkkula, Anu (Hanken School of Economics, 2012)
    Conference Proceedings
  • Holmqvist, Jonas (Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, 2009)
    Economics and Society
    A defining characteristic of most service encounters is that they are strongly influenced by interactions in which both the consumer and the service personnel are playing integral roles. Such is the importance of this interaction that it has even been argued that for the consumer, these encounters are in fact the service. Given this, it is not surprising that interactions involving communication and customer participation in the service encounters have received considerable attention within the field of services marketing. Much of the research on interactions and communication in services, however, appear to have assumed that the consumer and the service personnel by definition are perfectly able to interact and communicate effortlessly with each other. Such communication would require a common language, and in order to be able to take this for granted the market would need to be fairly homogenous. The homogenous country, however, and with it the homogenous market, would appear to be gone. It is estimated that more than half the consumers in the world are already speaking more than one language. For a company entering a new market, language can be a major barrier that firms may underestimate, and understanding language influence across different markets is important for international companies. The service literature has taken a common language between companies and consumers for granted but this is not matched by the realities on the ground in many markets. Owing to the communicational and interaction-oriented nature of services, the lack of a common language between the consumer and the service provider is a situation that could cause problems. A gap exists in the service theory, consisting of a lack of knowledge concerning how language influences consumers in service encounters. By addressing this gap, the thesis contributes to an increased understanding of service theory and provides a better practical understanding for service companies of the importance of native language use for consumers. The thesis consists of four essays. Essay one is conceptual and addresses how sociolinguistic research can be beneficial for understanding consumer language preferences. Essay two empirically shows how the influence of language varies depending on the nature of the service, essay three shows that there is a significant difference in language preferences between female and male consumers while essay four empirically compares consumer language preferences in Canada and Finland, finding strong similarities but also indications of difference in the motives for preferring native language use. The introduction of the thesis outlines the existence of a research gap within the service literature, a gap consisting of the lack of research into how native language use may influence consumers in service encounters. In addition, it is described why this gap is of importance to services and why its importance is growing. Building on this situation, the purpose of the thesis is to establish the existence of language influence in service encounters and to extend the knowledge of how language influences consumers on multilingual markets.
  • Grönroos, Christian; Ravald, Annika (Hanken School of Economics, 2009)
    WP/542
    The discussion of a service-dominant logic has made the findings of decades of service marketing research a topic of interest for marketing at large. Some fundamental aspects of the logic such as value creation and its marketing implications are more complex than they have been treated as so far and need to be further developed to serve marketing theory and practice well. Following the analysis in the present article it is argued that although customers are co-producers in service processes, according to the value-in-use notion adopted in the contemporary marketing and management literature they are fundamentally the creators of value for themselves. Furthermore, it is concluded that although by providing goods and services as input resources into customers’ consumption and value-generating processes firms are fundamentally value facilitators, interactions with customers that exist or can be created enable firms to engage themselves with their customers’ processes and thereby they become co-creators of value with their customers. As marketing implications it is observed that 1) the goal of marketing is to support customers’ value creation, 2) following a service logic and due to the existence of interactions where the firm’s and the customer’s processes merge into an integrated joint value creation process, the firm is not restricted to making value propositions only, but can directly and actively influence the customer’s value fulfilment as well and extend its marketing process to include activities during customer-firm interactions, and 3) although all goods and services are consumed as service, customers’ purchasing decisions can be expected to be dependant of whether they have the skills and interest to use a resource, such as a good, as service or want to buy extended market offerings including process-related elements. Finally, the analysis concludes with five service logic theses.
  • Grönroos, Christian (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2005)
    Working Papers
    The goods-dominated marketing model has major shortcomings as a guiding marketing theory. Its marketing mix approach is mainly geared towards buying and does not include consumption as an integral part of marketing theory. Although it is during the process of consuming goods and services that value is generated for customers and the foundation for repeat purchasing and customer relationships are laid, this process is left outside the scope of marketing. The focus in service marketing is not on a product but on interactions in service encounters. Consumption has become an integral part of a holistic marketing model. Other than standardized goods-based value propositions can be better understood when taking a servicebased approach. It is concluded that marketing based on a goods logic is but a special case of marketing based on a service logic and applicable only in certain contexts with standardized products.
  • Isoniemi, Kristina; Snellman, Kaisa (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2000)
    Working Papers
    This article expands the discussion of the impact of technology on services and contributes to a broader comprehension of the nature of virtual services. This is done by discovering dimensions that distinguish physical services from virtual services, i.e. services that are distributed by electronic means and where the customer has no direct human interaction with the service provider. Differences in the core characteristics of services, servicescape and service delivery are discussed. Moreover, dimensions that differentiate between virtual services are analysed. A classification scheme for virtual services is proposed, including the origin of the service, the element of the service offering, the customisation process, stage of the service process performed, and the degree of mobility of the service.