Improving the creative performance of customers is critical to improving the competitive advantage of service firms. Customers that perform creatively and generate novel and useful ideas contribute to firm profitability by helping the firm save on costs and improve its services rather than merely relying on its employees. This paper aims to focus on creative customer behavior and examine its antecedents.
The analysis is based on a dyadic data set involving salespeople and their customers, collected over two periods across various industries in the context of business-to-business service deliveries.
Results indicate that customer task complexity affects creative customer behavior not through intrinsic motivation but through customer stress, and reveal that customer learning orientation and customer creative ability positively moderate these relationships.
Customers, salespeople and their managers should enrich the customers’ tasks with core job characteristics, in particular significance and feedback, and treat task stress as a positive, surmountable challenge that facilitates customer value creation. The results also indicate that to enhance creative customer behavior, managers should appreciate and develop customers’ learning orientation and creative ability, which in turn leads to increased sales performance and service quality.
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