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Do consumers discern innovations in service elements?

Mohammadali Zolfagharian (Department of Management, Marketing and International Business, College of Business Administration, The University of Texas‐Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, USA)
Audhesh Paswan (Department of Marketing and Logistics, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 1 August 2008




The success of service innovation programs rests on whether consumers discern the novelties built into service offerings. Hence, service firms must base the evaluation of innovation programs on customer attitude in addition to internal measures. The study examines whether consumers are capable of discerning the novelties built into service elements, and explores the underlying dimensions therein.


Research contexts include fitness centers and auto repair shops in the USA. A list of tangible and intangible service elements was developed based on a literature review. This list was improved through interviews with service managers and a focus group using frequent customers of each service. A total of 34 items emerged, comprising seven dimensions. These items were administered to 120 students who used each service frequently. Factor analysis supported the seven‐dimension model. Finally, a confirmatory study using 527 professional adults supported these findings.


Respondents were capable of discerning the novelties built into the elements of service offerings. The 32‐item scale included seven dimensions: administration, interior facilities, exterior facilities, employees, service core, technology, and responsiveness.

Research limitations/implications

The representativeness of the samples and the two service contexts, and a sole focus on customers' (versus the firm's) subjective perception are the primary limitations.

Practical implications

One reason behind new product failures is the mismatch between the service provider's and the consumers' views of innovativeness. The scale provided here can help tap consumer perspective throughout the new product development process.


This study can help bridge the gap between service development processes.



Zolfagharian, M. and Paswan, A. (2008), "Do consumers discern innovations in service elements?", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 338-352.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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