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Customer activity in service

Karl-Jacob Mickelsson (Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 7 October 2013

4242

Abstract

Purpose

Customer activity in service has mainly been understood within the boundaries of interactions with service providers. This paper goes beyond this view to focus on the customer's independent activity, of which interaction is only a part. Moreover, the concept of customer activity remains largely unexplored and undefined. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to develop the concept of customer activity and to show how it can be applied in an empirical study.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the concept of customer activity in service marketing. It then goes on to characterise and operationalise the concept, and finally apply it to an explorative study. The study contrasts customer activity from the provider's interaction-centric point of view with customer activity from the customer's own point of view.

Findings

This paper defines customer activities as discrete sequences of behaviour that aim at creating or supporting some types of value in the customer's life or business. A customer-dominant perspective on customer activity allows companies to understand the role of their service in the various activities of different types of customers.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to service research by bringing attention to the concept of customer activity and contrasting it with alternative concepts. The paper is the first to show how customers combine different activities (where service interaction is only one type) into systems, which they maintain to create value for themselves. By profiling customers according to activity systems, providers can understand their own role in the customer's network of value-creating activities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was carried out as a part of the project Embedding Service in Customer Activities, Practices and Experiences (ESCAPE), which was financed by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The article was completed with funding from the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth foundation.

Citation

Mickelsson, K.-J. (2013), "Customer activity in service", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 534-552. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOSM-04-2013-0095

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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