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Value-in-use and service quality: do customers see a difference?

Gustav Medberg (Department of Marketing, CERS – Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)
Christian Grönroos (Department of Marketing, CERS – Centre for Relationship Marketing and Service Management, Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Service Theory and Practice

ISSN: 2055-6225

Article publication date: 29 June 2020

Issue publication date: 26 November 2020

3601

Abstract

Purpose

The definition of value adopted by the current service perspective on marketing theory is value as value-in-use. Surprisingly, however, little attention has been given to the question of what constitutes value-in-use for customers in service contexts? Therefore, the aim of this study is to provide an empirical account of value-in-use from service customers' point of view.

Design/methodology/approach

To capture and analyze customers' experiences of value-in-use in the typical service context of retail banking, this study employed a narrative-based critical incident technique (CIT) and a graphical tool called the value chart.

Findings

The study identified seven empirical dimensions of positive and negative value-in-use: solution, attitude, convenience, expertise, speed of service, flexibility and monetary costs. Interestingly, these value-in-use dimensions overlap considerably with previously identified dimensions of service quality.

Research limitations/implications

The concepts of service quality and value-in-use in service contexts seem to represent the same empirical phenomenon despite their different theoretical traditions. Measuring customer-perceived service quality might therefore be a good proxy for assessing value-in-use in service contexts.

Practical implications

As the findings indicate that service quality is the way in which service customers experience value-in-use, service managers are recommended to focus on continuous quality management to facilitate the creation of value-in-use.

Originality/value

This study is the first to explicitly raise the notion that in the minds of service customers, value defined as value-in-use and service quality may represent the same empirical phenomenon.

Keywords

Citation

Medberg, G. and Grönroos, C. (2020), "Value-in-use and service quality: do customers see a difference?", Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Vol. 30 No. 4/5, pp. 507-529. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSTP-09-2019-0207

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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