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From service quality to experience – and back again?

Jon Sundbo (Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark)

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences

ISSN: 1756-669X

Article publication date: 16 March 2015



This paper aims to analyse the movement in the focus on customers within service management and marketing theories and service research that has taken place during the past three decades. The paper addresses the question: How did we, in service research, change from emphasizing quality to emphasizing experience?


The paper analyses developments in service and experience theories. Experience has come onto the theoretical agenda, both in its own right and as a concept within service marketing and management theory.


Experience has increasingly been a concept that has replaced quality in service marketing theories. However, an independent experience economy paradigm has also emerged. Recently, the societal emphasis on productivity may lead back to functional quality re-emerges in theories; however, it will most likely be in a new version.


This analysis is a profound theory-critical analysis of the actually very widely used concept experience in service theories. The analysis present an understanding of what experience means in these theories and how it relates to the quality concept. This is an original contribution to a deeper understanding of service marketing and service quality theories.



Sundbo, J. (2015), "From service quality to experience – and back again?", International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 107-119.



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