Browsing by Subject "e-service"

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  • Gummerus, Johanna (Svenska handelshögskolan, 2011-02-18)
    Customer value has been identified as “the reason” for customers to patronize a firm, and as one of the fundamental blocks that market exchanges build upon. Despite the importance of customer value, it is often poorly defined, or seems to refer to different phenomena. This dissertation contributes to current marketing literature by subjecting the value concept to a critical investigation, and by clarifying its conceptual foundation. Based on the literature review, it is proposed that customer value can be divided into two separate, but interrelated aspects: value creation processes, and value outcome determination. This means that on one hand, it is possible to examine those activities through which value is created, and on the other hand, investigate how customers determine the value outcomes they receive. The results further show that customers may determine value in four different ways: value as a benefit/sacrifice ratio, as experience outcomes, as means-end chains, and value as phenomenological. In value as benefit/sacrifice ratio, customers are expected to calculate the ratio between service benefits (e.g. ease of use) and sacrifices (e.g. price). In value as experience outcomes, customers are suggested to experience multiple value components, such as functional, emotional, or social value. Customer value as means-ends chains in turn models value in terms of the relationships between service characteristics, use value, and desirable ends (e.g. social acceptance). Finally, value as phenomenological proposes that value emerges from lived, holistic experiences. The empirical papers investigate customer value in e-services, including online health care and mobile services, and show how value in e-service stems from the process and content quality, use context, and the service combination that a customer uses. In conclusion, marketers should understand that different value definitions generate different types of understanding of customer value. In addition, it is clear that studying value from several perspectives is useful, as it enables a richer understanding of value for the different actors. Finally, the interconnectedness between value creation and determination is surprisingly little researched, and this dissertation proposes initial steps towards understanding the relationship between the two.