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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2017

Kristina Heinonen

The current service landscape is increasingly dynamic, and consumers’ engagement in market-related behavior is constantly changing. Developments in technology further…

2835

Abstract

Purpose

The current service landscape is increasingly dynamic, and consumers’ engagement in market-related behavior is constantly changing. Developments in technology further influence this continuous dynamism. Therefore, it is important to understand the factors that may cause different engagement valence, especially as only some consumers actively engage in online platforms. The purpose of this paper is to characterize factors that positively and negatively influence consumer engagement and suggest theoretical and managerial implications for the different factors that determine consumer engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper conceptualizes factors that influence consumer engagement based on their characteristics (behavioral, emotional, and cognitive) and the type of influence (positive or negative). The study uses customer-dominant logic of service, which focuses on emancipated customers and idiosyncratic customer logic, rather than on provider-orchestrated customer experiences of brands, firms, or offerings. An abductive research approach is used to qualitatively explore consumer engagement in the context of online interest communities.

Findings

The study identifies the behavioral, emotional, and cognitive factors that positively and negatively determine consumer engagement in the context of online interest communities.

Research limitations/implications

Through the focus on customer logic, the study provides a detailed and nuanced view of factors that influence consumer engagement. Future research is needed to explore how this framework can be applied to other online communities and different service contexts.

Practical implications

The paper provides insights into the presence of an interest area in consumers’ lives. The study indicates how firms may be involved in consumers’ lives and how firms may create successful customer relationships based on consumer engagement.

Originality/value

This study enhances previous research in four ways: by characterizing factors that determine engagement, paying particular attention to its negatively valenced factors and examining the interplay of the factors that positively and negatively influence engagement, by describing consumers’ connection to the interest area instead of positioning the brand as the link between the consumers and the provider, and by discussing the theoretical and practical challenges associated with understanding and managing consumer engagement.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 24 May 2022

Jacob Mickelsson, Ulla Särkikangas, Tore Strandvik and Kristina Heinonen

People with complex health conditions must often navigate landscapes of uncoordinated public, private and voluntary health-care providers to obtain the care they need…

Abstract

Purpose

People with complex health conditions must often navigate landscapes of uncoordinated public, private and voluntary health-care providers to obtain the care they need. Complex health conditions frequently transcend the scope of typical health-care service systems. The purpose of this paper is to explore and characterize such unique assemblages of actors and services as “user-defined ecosystems”.

Design/methodology/approach

Building on literature on customer ecosystems, this paper introduces the concept of the user-defined ecosystem (UDE). Using an abductive approach, the authors apply the concept in an interpretive, qualitative study of ten families with special needs children.

Findings

This study uncovers complex UDEs, where families actively combine a broad range of services. These ecosystems are unique for each family and extend beyond the scope of designed service ecosystems. Thus, the families are forced to assume an active, coordinating role.

Research limitations/implications

This paper shows how to identify ecosystems from the user’s point of view, based on the selected user unit (such as a family) and the focal value-creating function of the ecosystem for the user.

Social implications

This paper highlights how service providers can support and adapt to UDEs and, thus, contribute to user value and well-being. This can be used to understand users’ perspectives on service and systems in health and social care.

Originality/value

This study develops the concept of the UDE, which represents a customer-focused perspective on actor ecosystems and contrasts it with a provider-focused and a distributed perspective on ecosystems. This study demonstrates the practical usefulness of the conceptualization and provides a foundation for further research on the user’s perspective on ecosystems.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 36 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 19 April 2022

Kristina Heinonen and Tore Strandvik

The purpose of this paper is to apply pragmatism – a philosophy of science on the interplay of human actions and meaning – as a perspective for studying service research…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply pragmatism – a philosophy of science on the interplay of human actions and meaning – as a perspective for studying service research and practice, emphasizing the need to deal with dynamics and diversity to cope with service marketplace disruptions. This work focuses on customers (individuals or groups of individuals) as key marketplace stakeholders.

Design/methodology/approach

Pragmatism provides a foundation for theorizing about change by connecting human actors’ cognitive belief structures and their actions through a continuous learning process. This paper outlines how the key principles of pragmatism can advance service research and practice.

Findings

Adopting the key principles of pragmatism in service management directs attention to service market dynamics. Understanding customers’ everyday lives as the interplay of experiencing, knowing and acting reveals insights about the role of service in dynamic markets for the benefit of service research and practice.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is a viewpoint to stimulate researchers’ reflections on often hidden core assumptions about service. Pragmatism provides a perspective on actors’ practical rationality and problem solving in dynamic settings. Along with its emphasis on a holistic understanding of customers’ lives, this perspective provides direction for future service research and practice. Further, conceptual development and empirical substantiation are encouraged.

Practical implications

By focusing on marketplace changes, this paper addresses management concerns for commercial and non-commercial organizations. Pragmatism encourages critical reflections on what companies are doing and why (the connection between actions and beliefs), revealing underlying beliefs and institutionalized industry practices that require modifications.

Social implications

Pragmatism is an approach to service research and practice, irrespective of aggregation level and sector. Therefore, it can help stimulate societal welfare.

Originality/value

Pragmatism advances service research by delineating a holistic perspective on customers’ lives and providing a perspective for exploring and understanding dynamics and diversity in service markets.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 June 2019

Werner H. Kunz, Kristina Heinonen and Jos G.A.M. Lemmink

Service technologies are transforming the business landscape rapidly. This paper aims to explore the current scope of research in regard to emerging service technologies…

1499

Abstract

Purpose

Service technologies are transforming the business landscape rapidly. This paper aims to explore the current scope of research in regard to emerging service technologies by comparing the content of articles in academic journals with practitioner-oriented publication outlets.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 5,118 technology-related articles from service journals, service conferences, business journals and business magazines are analyzed. Text-mining on abstracts is used for the thematic and semantic analysis. Common research themes and their relationships are depicted in a two-dimensional structured network. Further, the sample is analyzed regarding various technologies mentioned in the Gartner Hype Cycle.

Findings

The paper reveals differences in academic and business perspectives in regard to service technologies. In comparison to business journals, scientific service research is more focused on customer-related aspects of technology. Service research has a less concrete focus on technology than in business publications. Still, service conference articles show a broader scope of emerging service technologies than academic journal articles.

Research limitations/implications

Scientific research should focus on more concrete service technologies. Business magazines serve as a good source for that and the paper identifies several promising new technology fields.

Practical implications

Although business magazines cover significantly more concrete service technologies, they miss the integrated perspective that academic articles usually offer. Academia can help business to better align concrete technologies with different internal and external perspectives.

Originality/value

This paper serves as an introduction to the special issue Future Service Technologies. Additionally, a quantitative study of recent service technology research serves as a reality check for academic researchers on business reality and provides research and practical recommendations.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 October 2018

Jos Lemmink, Iva Franzelova, Maria Säaksjärvi and Kristina Heinonen

Nowadays, customers have big chunks of information on their smartphones and can acquire information and make decisions rapidly, oftentimes with the use of specific apps…

Abstract

Purpose

Nowadays, customers have big chunks of information on their smartphones and can acquire information and make decisions rapidly, oftentimes with the use of specific apps. Most of the research on this topic to date has been conducted from the perspective of the provider, or the company, therefore missing the value that is created with these apps in the customer’s own domain according to the customer-dominant logic (CDL) approach.

Design/methodology/approach

As compared with prior research, CDL requires a different type of research that is much more inclined towards customers and specific circumstances. This paper is positioned within CDL (Heinonen and Strandvik, 2015) and aims to quantitatively explore app usage in different customer contexts.

Findings

Seven apps were tested in two different usage contexts: a social vs an individual context and a calm vs dynamic context. It was found that for the social vs individual context there was no difference; thus, managers should not pay too much attention to whether the user of the digital service is in a social context. For the calm vs dynamic social context, it was found that customers’ satisfaction, enjoyment, pleasure and their overall rating of an app were higher when the customer as in a tranquil vs dynamic context.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed method provides a highly relevant way to approach app development from a CDL perspective.

Practical implications

These findings provide evidence that context matters and that we should study customer behavior from a more integral and detailed perspective as has been advocated by CDL.

Social implications

App research should incorporate a customer focused approach. This means that not only the customers’ needs need to be considered. The circumstances and context in which apps are used are highly relevant as well.

Originality/value

This research uses a CDL approach to provide evidence about the consequences for app usage and satisfaction and shows the necessity of incorporating specific circumstances, customer experience and usage variables to a larger extend than has been advocated in the past.

Details

Journal of Indian Business Research, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-4195

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 8 April 2022

Christo Boshoff, Ogechi Adeola, Robert E. Hinson and Kristina Heinonen

This study aims to critically evaluate and reflect on the current state of service research in Africa. The purpose is to develop a roadmap to guide future service research…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to critically evaluate and reflect on the current state of service research in Africa. The purpose is to develop a roadmap to guide future service research in and out of Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is a conceptual reflection and in situ observation of service research and practice in Africa.

Findings

This study delineates scholarly, policy and managerial pathways for further service research in the African context. Service research in Africa is often experience-based rather than concept-based, and such research is often conducted in close collaboration with the local business community. Theoretical development and empirical exploration through collaboration initiatives among institutions with mutual research interests are encouraged.

Research limitations/implications

This study is a theoretical analysis of service research in Africa. Further empirical exploration is needed to delineate service research priorities and methodological directions so as to balance local needs and global relevance.

Practical implications

Africa represents fertile terrain for experience-based insights regarding financial behavior, ecosystem services and nation branding. Grassroots-level involvement in research represents a key component of managerial relevance.

Social implications

This study highlights the role of service research in and about Africa. The discussion demonstrates that the African Ubuntu values of community involvement and a collectivist orientation can expand the relevance of research from the academic business field to broader society.

Originality/value

This study represents a unique perspective on service research in the African context. In doing so, this paper lays the groundwork for more meaningful participation on the part of African-based researchers in the global service research domain. Experience-based research projects focusing on the empirical starting point complement theory development and serve as useful anchors for theory implementation in practice.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 18 March 2022

Michaela Lipkin and Kristina Heinonen

This study aims to characterize how ecosystem actors shape customer experience (CX). The study also proposes implications for managers and research regarding the customer…

1774

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to characterize how ecosystem actors shape customer experience (CX). The study also proposes implications for managers and research regarding the customer ecosystem, its actors and actor constellations in the context of CXs.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study is conducted among activity tracker users to identify how actors within their ecosystems shape CXs. Data include 28 in-depth interviews and ten self-reported diaries.

Findings

This study delineates six actor categories in the customer ecosystem shaping CX within and beyond the service. The number of actors and their importance to the focal customer in various actor constellations form individual-, brand- and socially driven ecosystems. These customer ecosystem types show how actors combine to drive CXs.

Research limitations/implications

Researchers should shift their attention to experiences emerging in the customer’s lifeworld. A customer ecosystem highlights the customer-centered actor configuration emergent within the customer’s lifeworld. It is self-constructed based on the customer’s reference point.

Practical implications

Managers should aim to locate, monitor and join the customer’s lifeworld to gain more insight into how CXs emerge in the customer ecosystem based on customer logic.

Social implications

Customers are not isolated actors simply experiencing service; rather, they construct idiosyncratic actor constellations that include various providers, social groups and peers.

Originality/value

This paper extends the theory on CXs by illustrating how the various actors and actor constellations forming the customer ecosystem shape CXs.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 36 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 14 September 2018

Kristina Heinonen and Gustav Medberg

Understanding customers is critical for service researchers and practitioners. Today, customers are increasingly active online, and valuable information about their…

49781

Abstract

Purpose

Understanding customers is critical for service researchers and practitioners. Today, customers are increasingly active online, and valuable information about their opinions, experiences and behaviors can be retrieved from a variety of online platforms. Online customer information creates new opportunities to design personalized and high-quality service. This paper aims to review how netnography as a method can help service researchers and practitioners to better use such data.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic review and analysis were conducted on 321 netnography studies published in marketing journals between 1997 and 2017.

Findings

The systematic review reveals that netnography has been applied in a variety of ways across different marketing fields and topics. Based on the analysis of existing netnography literature, empirical, theoretical and methodological recommendations for future netnographic service research are presented.

Research limitations/implications

This paper shows how netnography can offer service researchers unprecedented opportunities to access naturalistic online data about customers and, hence, why it is an important method for future service research.

Practical implications

Netnographic research can help service firms with, for example, service innovation, advertising and environmental scanning. This paper provides guidelines for service managers who want to use netnography as a market research tool.

Originality/value

Netnography has seen limited use in service research despite many promising applications in this field. This paper is the first to encourage and support service researchers in their use of the method and aims to stimulate interesting future netnographic service research.

Details

Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 32 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0887-6045

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 September 2018

Tore Strandvik, Kristina Heinonen and Sanna Vollmer

This paper aims to identify how, in contrast to a provider-oriented stance where customer value is conceptualised as being controlled by the provider, customer value is…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify how, in contrast to a provider-oriented stance where customer value is conceptualised as being controlled by the provider, customer value is formed for business customers beyond what is visible to the provider.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper builds on the primacy of the customer. Customer-dominant logic (CDL) is used as the conceptual underpinning, meaning that the customer, rather than the service provider or the service system, is at the centre. A case study was conducted with seven key users from three customer companies of an information and communications technology (ICT) provider of in-house services. The study used a micro-social level focus by capturing customers’ experiences of those activities where value in use is formed.

Findings

The findings indicate that value formation is not related only to direct service interactions and furthermore substantially takes place beyond a service provider’s visibility line. Hence, value formation is in large part hidden for the service provider because it is embedded in customers’ activities and experiences.

Research limitations/implications

Although the study is limited to one case concerning ICT services, these findings may apply to other service businesses, in particular to knowledge-intensive outsourcing businesses.

Practical implications

Understanding a customer’s value formation from the customer’s point of view is the key to service development for any business service provider.

Originality/value

Applying a CDL approach, the authors deepen the understanding of customer value formation as it emerges in customer activities. The study provides detailed insight into business customers’ value formation processes. The study’s findings challenge the current emphasis on interactions and co-creation and instead demonstrate the importance of understanding customer logics and contexts.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 20 April 2022

Robert Ciuchita, Gustav Medberg, Valeria Penttinen, Christoph Lutz and Kristina Heinonen

Digital platform users not only consume but also produce communication related to their experiences. Although service research has explored users' motivations to…

Abstract

Purpose

Digital platform users not only consume but also produce communication related to their experiences. Although service research has explored users' motivations to communicate and focused on outcomes such as electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), it remains largely unexplored how users iteratively interact with communication artifacts and potentially create value for themselves, other users and service providers. The purpose of this paper is, thus, to introduce communicative affordances as a framework to advance user-created communication (UCC) in service.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing from the literature in communication, service research and interactive marketing, an affordance perspective on UCC in service is introduced.

Findings

Three UCC affordances for the service context are presented – interactivity, visibility and anonymity – opportunities and challenges for service providers associated with these affordances are discussed and, finally, affordance-specific research questions and general recommendations for future research are offered.

Research limitations/implications

By conceptualizing UCC in service from an affordances perspective, this paper moves beyond the traditional sender–receiver communication framework and emphasizes opportunities and challenges for service research and practice.

Practical implications

Instead of focusing separately on specific technologies or user behaviors, it is recommended that service managers adopt a holistic perspective of user goals and motivations, use experiences and platform design.

Originality/value

By conceptualizing UCC as an augmenting, dialogical process concerning users’ experiences, and by introducing communicative affordances as a framework to advance UCC in service, an in-depth understanding of the diverse and ever-evolving landscape of communication in service is offered.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 33 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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