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Customer transformation in services: conceptualization and research agenda

Marco Antonio Robledo (Department of Business Economics, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 27 February 2024

Issue publication date: 15 May 2024

154

Abstract

Purpose

Customer transformation is currently overlooked in service research. This article aims to conceptualize customer transformation and develop a research agenda to encourage more exploration in this area.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual article builds on the literature on transformation and related topics in psychology, sociology, education and anthropology.

Findings

The presented definition of customer transformation distinguishes itself from other related concepts such as minor change. The research agenda, structured around five themes, reveals four distinctive attributes of customer transformation that warrant academic investigation. These include the inability of businesses to guarantee transformations, the potential tension between transformational aspirations and immediate needs and well-being, the imperative of cultivating long-term engagement and the likelihood of encountering customer resistance. This highlights the criticality of embracing a customer-centric approach in transformational services.

Research limitations/implications

Given the vastness of the topic, the literature review is limited and the research agenda could be widened. Furthermore, the dynamic nature of the subject introduces the possibility that the conceptual framework and research agenda may become outdated. Lastly, the universal applicability of the findings and the proposed conceptual framework are uncertain, necessitating potential validation across diverse contexts. The practical implications may also fall short of addressing the specific challenges encountered by different industries or businesses.

Practical implications

The article provides insights on customer transformation and strategies for businesses to support ongoing transformations, emphasizing personalized engagement and co-creating value to meet evolving customer aspirations.

Social implications

The need for development and growth is more pressing and decisive than ever. This need is often not well understood and, as a result, is not addressed by either scholars or companies. This paper helps address that social need.

Originality/value

The research enriches the service literature by paving the way for a crucial subfield in service research. Additionally, it establishes a shared understanding of customer transformation by highlighting its distinct characteristics and analyzing their implications for service management, proposing a conceptual framework and research agenda.

Keywords

Citation

Robledo, M.A. (2024), "Customer transformation in services: conceptualization and research agenda", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 420-431. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-01-2023-0012

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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