How Do Customers Perceive Value-In-Use? Empirical Insights from Bank Service Stories

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/161270
Title: How Do Customers Perceive Value-In-Use? Empirical Insights from Bank Service Stories
Author: Medberg, Gustav
Contributor: Svenska handelshögskolan, institutionen för marknadsföring, marknadsföring
Hanken School of Economics, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Publisher: Svenska handelshögskolan
Date: 2016-04-18
Belongs to series: Economics and Society – 295
ISBN: 978-952-232-298-2 (printed)
978-952-232-299-9 (PDF)
ISSN: 0424-7256 (printed)
2242-699X (PDF)
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/161270
Abstract: 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.
Subject: value-in-use
customer value
service quality
service logic
service marketing
critical incident technique
narratives
service stories
retail banking


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