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Customer experience from a self-service system perspective

Maria Åkesson (CTF-Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Bo Edvardsson (CTF-Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)
Bård Tronvoll (Hedmark University College, Elverum, Norway and CTF-Service Research Center, Karlstad University, Karlstad, Sweden)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 14 October 2014




A service system, including self-service technologies (SSTs), should facilitate actors’ value co-creation processes to enhance customer experiences. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how customers’ experiences – both favorable and unfavorable – are formed by identifying the underlying drivers when using SSTs in the context of a self-service-based system. The authors also analyze customers’ journeys, which occur before, during, and after their experience with a self-service-based system with SSTs.


An exploratory, inductive study examines customers’ self-service experiences of using an SST. By undertaking 60 customer interviews, an event-based technique identified 200 favorable and unfavorable experienced events, which consist of activities and interactions identified through open coding guided by a theoretical framework. Customers’ experiences form through social norms and rules, referred to here as schemas. The authors sorted the drivers into four main categories of schemas (informational, relational, organizational, and technological) and into three categories: before, during, and after the store visit.


The authors identified 13 favorable and unfavorable customer experience drivers that guide value co-creation and explain how the flow of value co-creation helps form customers’ experiences.

Research limitations/implications

The results are limited to one self-service system context and therefore do not provide statistical generalizability. In addition, the examined company already focusses on customer experiences; other organizations may have different experience drivers.

Practical implications

The results explain what is important when designing an SST-based service system. Besides, managers can promote the drivers in this research as advantages customers can gain by using self-service.


This study offers original contributions by: first, classifying and analyzing 13 experience drivers in four categories grounded in customers’ schemas; and second, offering a new conceptualization that focusses on the formation of customers’ experiences during a value co-creation process – that is, the customer's journey – rather than on the outcome experience only.



Maria Åkesson would like to express her gratitude to the Swedish Research School of Management and Information Technology (MIT) for their financial support of her research.


Åkesson, M., Edvardsson, B. and Tronvoll, B. (2014), "Customer experience from a self-service system perspective", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 677-698.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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