Today we identify service articles published in Marketing, Management, Operations, Productions, Information Systems & Practioner-oriented Journals in February 2017.

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Dixon, M., L. Ponomareff, S. Turner and R. DeLisi (2017): Kick-Ass Customer Service, Harvard Business Review, 95(1), pp.110-117

Why are consumers increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of help they get from customer service departments? The authors’ surveys and interviews with contact center personnel worldwide suggest that companies don’t hire the right people as frontline reps, nor do they equip them to handle the increasingly complex challenges that come with the job. Every rep can be classified as one of seven types, say the authors. Supportive “Empathizers” constitute the largest group, and managers prefer them. But take-charge “Controllers,” who make up only 15% of all reps, actually do best at solving customers’ problems. To expand their numbers, companies need a fresh approach to hiring— one that involves crafting job postings and screening applicants differently. Companies should also revamp their training practices, using new curricula and on-the-job coaching to help all types of reps learn to act more like Controllers. Another key step is building a culture that values and rewards Controller behavior. That might mean evaluating reps on their ability to use good judgment rather than follow a script, and soliciting their ideas to improve the organization.

Link: [HBR]

 

Lafley, A. G. and R. L. Martin (2017): Customer Loyalty Is Overrated, Harvard Business Review, 95(1), pp.45-54

Why do companies routinely succumb to the lure of rebranding? The answer, say A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin, the authors of “Customer Loyalty Is Overrated,” is rooted in serious misperceptions about the nature of competitive advantage—namely, that companies need to continually update their business models, strategies, and communications to respond to the explosion of options that sophisticated consumers face. Research suggests that what makes competitive advantage truly sustainable is helping consumers avoid having to make a choice. They choose the leading product in the market primarily because that is the easiest thing to do. And each time they select it, its advantage increases over that of the products or services they didn’t choose, creating what the authors call cumulative advantage. Lafley and Martin offer guidance for building cumulative advantage: Become popular early. Back in 1946, Procter & Gamble gave away a box of Tide with every washing machine sold in America. Design for habit. When P&G introduced Febreze, consumers liked it but didn’t use it much. The problem, it turned out, was that the product came in what looked like a glass-cleaner bottle, so users kept it under the sink. When the company redesigned the bottle so that customers would keep it in a more visible spot, they ended up using it more often. Innovate inside the brand. Efforts to “relaunch” brands can lead people to break their habits. Changes in product features should be introduced in a way that retains cumulative advantage. For customers, “improved” is much more comfortable than “new.” Keep communication simple. A clever ad may win awards, but if its message is too complex, it will backfire.

Link: [HBR]

 

Baines, T., A. Ziaee Bigdeli, O. F. Bustinza, V. G. Shi, J. Baldwin and K. Ridgway (2017): Servitization: revisiting the state-of-the-art and research priorities, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(2), pp.256-278

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to consolidate the servitization knowledge base from an organizational change perspective, identifying developed, developing and undeveloped topics to provide a platform that directs future research.Design/methodology/approach This paper addresses three objectives: it comprehensively examines organizational change management literature for selection of a theoretical framework; it classifies extant studies within the framework through a systemic literature review; and it analyses 232 selected papers and proposes a research agenda.Findings Analysis suggests increasing global awareness of the importance of services to manufacturers. However, some topics, especially related to servitization transformation, remain undeveloped.Research limitations/implications Although the authors tried to include all publications relevant to servitization, some might not have been captured. Evaluation and interpretation relied on the research team and subsequent research workshops.Practical implications One of the most significant challenges for practitioners of servitization is how to transform a manufacturing organization to exploit the opportunity. This paper consolidates literature regarding servitization, identifying progress concerning key research topics and contributing a platform for future research. The goal is to inform research to result eventually in a roadmap for practitioners seeking to servitize.Originality/value Although extant reviews of servitization identify themes that are examined well, they struggle to identify unanswered questions. This paper addresses this gap by focusing on servitization as a process of organizational change.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-06-2015-0312 [Google]

 

Martinez, V., A. Neely, C. Velu, S. Leinster-Evans and D. Bisessar (2017): Exploring the journey to services, International Journal of Production Economics, (), pp.

Firms are increasingly providing services to complement their product offerings. The vast majority of studies on the service journey, also known as servitization or service transition, examine the challenges and enablers of the process of change through cases studies. Investigations that provide an in-depth longitudinal analysis of the steps involved in the service journey are much rarer. Such a detailed understanding is required in order to appreciate fully how firms can leverage the enablers while overcoming the challenges of servitization. This study investigates what does a service journey look like? It analyzes in some detail the actual service journeys undertaken by three firms in the well-being, engineering and learning sectors. The paper offers four contributions. First, in the change literature, there are two dominant theories: The punctuated equilibrium model and the continuous change model. This study demonstrates that servitization follows a continuous change rather than a punctuated equilibrium. It shows that such continuous change is neither logical nor structured but much more emergent and intuitive in nature. Second, the study provides empirical evidence to support a contingency view of the dominance and sequencing of the different process models of change across the change journey. Third, this research shows the pace of service development and when the coexistence of basic, intermediate and complex services occurs. Finally, it contributes to the literature in the service field by presenting three actual service journeys and the associated seven stages of the service strategy model that organizations should consider when managing their service journeys.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpe.2016.12.030 [Google]

 

Baines, T., A. Ziaee Bigdeli, O. F. Bustinza, V. G. Shi, J. Baldwin and K. Ridgway (2017): Servitization: Revisiting The State-Of-The-Art And Research Priorities, International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 37(2), pp.256-278

Purpose The purpose of this paper is to consolidate the servitization knowledge base from an organizational change perspective, identifying developed, developing and undeveloped topics to provide a platform that directs future research.Design/methodology/approach This paper addresses three objectives: it comprehensively examines organizational change management literature for selection of a theoretical framework; it classifies extant studies within the framework through a systemic literature review; and it analyses 232 selected papers and proposes a research agenda.Findings Analysis suggests increasing global awareness of the importance of services to manufacturers. However, some topics, especially related to servitization transformation, remain undeveloped.Research limitations/implications Although the authors tried to include all publications relevant to servitization, some might not have been captured. Evaluation and interpretation relied on the research team and subsequent research workshops.Practical implications One of the most significant challenges for practitioners of servitization is how to transform a manufacturing organization to exploit the opportunity. This paper consolidates literature regarding servitization, identifying progress concerning key research topics and contributing a platform for future research. The goal is to inform research to result eventually in a roadmap for practitioners seeking to servitize.Originality/value Although extant reviews of servitization identify themes that are examined well, they struggle to identify unanswered questions. This paper addresses this gap by focusing on servitization as a process of organizational change.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-06-2015-0312 [Google]

 

Hamilton, R. W., R. T. Rust, M. Wedel and C. S. Dev (2017): Return On Service Amenities, Journal of Marketing Research, 54(1), pp.96-110

The article presents a study in which the authors develop a return on investment (ROI) model to capture how service amenities produce financial return from increased initial choice and increased revenues from repurchase. Topics include the use of a hierarchical Bayesian formulation to estimate the parameters, variations in returns on any single amenity across various brands, and the use of the return on service amenities model to determine which amenities are most profitable.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jmr.14.0364 [Google]

Rychalski, A. and S. Hudson (2017): Asymmetric Effects Of Customer Emotions On Satisfaction And Loyalty In A Utilitarian Service Context, Journal of Business Research, 71(), pp.84-91

This paper investigates the relative effects of customer positive versus negative emotions on satisfaction and loyalty in a utilitarian service setting. In-depth interviews with 20 call-center customers identify emotions and appraisals related to the customer service experience. Regression analysis of subsequent quantitative survey results from 1440 customers of a call-center shows that positive emotions influence satisfaction more strongly than negative emotions. In contrast, negative emotions influence recommendation intentions more strongly than positive emotions in line with prospect theory. However, for ‘higher risk’ repatronage the prospect of losses from switching reduces the effect of negative emotions resulting in a symmetric effect of positive and negative emotions on repatronage intentions.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.10.014 [Google]

 

Betancourt, R. R., R. Chocarro, M. Cortiñas, M. Elorz and J. M. Mugica (2017): Private Sales Clubs: A 21St Century Distribution Channel, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 37(), pp.44-56

Private sales clubs are a novel service institution arising out of the Internet’s ability to allow an exclusively online channel to distribute out of season or out of fashion inventories to a large set of customers. They have become a thriving industry in the 21st century. In this paper we enhance understanding of this technology mediated institution as a distribution channel. Furthermore, we show how to measure the impact of the distribution services it provides through the Internet on customer satisfaction and of the latter on economic performance. We rely on the technique of quantile regressions in this endeavor. The latter allows for asymmetries in the response function that have been noted as a major issue to be addressed in the analysis of both customer satisfaction and economic performance variables. Our most important empirical finding is that the distortions introduced by ignoring asymmetries in the response function with respect to customer satisfaction are extremely misleading for managers of private sales clubs.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intmar.2016.09.001 [Google]

 

Gottschalk, S. A. and A. Mafael (2017): Cutting Through The Online Review Jungle — Investigating Selective Ewom Processing, Journal of Interactive Marketing, 37(), pp.89-104

Consumers frequently rely on online reviews, a prominent form of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM), before making a purchase decision. However, consumers are usually confronted with hundreds of reviews for a single product or service, as well as rich information cues on online review websites (review texts, helpfulness ratings, author information, etc.). In turn, consumers face more information cues on online review websites than they can or want to process, and are likely to proceed selectively. This paper investigates selective processing of such eWOM information cues. Results of Study 1, an exploratory study using verbal protocols, confirm that consumers display selective eWOM processing patterns and are able to articulate them. Study 2 develops and applies a measurement instrument to capture these patterns. A subsequent cluster analysis on members of a large-scale online panel (N = 2,295) indicates five prominent eWOM processing types, termed “The Efficients”, “The Meticulous”, “The Quality-Evaluators”, “The Cautious Critics”, and “The Swift Pessimists”. Insights of this research can help firms to better understand consumers’ eWOM processing and improve the user-friendliness of online review websites.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.intmar.2016.06.001 [Google]

 

Qi, J. (2017): Mitigating Delays And Unfairness In Appointment Systems, Management Science, 63(2), pp.566-583

We consider an appointment system where heterogeneous participants are sequenced and scheduled for service. Because service times are uncertain, the aims are to mitigate the unpleasantness experienced by the participants in the system when their waiting times or delays exceed acceptable thresholds and to address fairness in the balancing of service levels among participants. To evaluate uncertain delays, we propose the Delay Unpleasantness Measure, which takes into account the frequency and intensity of delays above a threshold, and introduce the concept of lexicographic min-max fairness to design appointment systems from the perspective of the worst-off participants. We focus our study in the healthcare industry in balancing physicians’ overtime and patients’ waiting times in which patients are distinguished by their service time characterizations. The model can be adapted in the robust setting when the underlying probability distribution is not fully available. To capture the correlation between uncertain service times, we suggest using the mean absolute deviations as the descriptive statistics in the distributional uncertainty set to preserve the linearity of the model. The optimal sequencing and scheduling decisions can be derived by solving a sequence of mixed-integer programming problems, and we report the insights from our computational studies. This paper was accepted by Yinyu Ye, optimization.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2015.2353 [Google]

 

Ze, W., S. N. Singh, L. I. Yexin Jessica, S. Mishra, M. Ambrose and M. Biernat (2017): Effects Of Employees’ Positive Affective Displays On Customer Loyalty Intentions: An Emotions-Associal- Information Perspective, Academy of Management Journal, 60(1), pp.109-129

Employees’ positive affective displays have been widely used as a strategic tool to enhance service experience and strengthen customer relationships. Companies have primarily focused their employee training programs on two dimensions of display: intensity and authenticity. Yet there is limited research on when, how, and why these two dimensions affect customer reactions. Drawing on the emotions as social information (EASI) framework (Van Kleef, 2009), we develop a conceptual model in which display intensity and display authenticity differentially influence customer loyalty by changing customers’ affective reactions and cognitive appraisals. Further, we propose that the relative impact of either dimension depends on customers’ motivation to understand the environment deeply and accurately (i.e., their epistemic motivation). We tested our model in one field study and one laboratory study. Results across these two studies provide consistent support for the proposed model and advance our understanding about how different dimensions of employees’ positive affective displays enhance customer reactions. Thus, findings of this research contribute to knowledge on the interpersonal effects of emotions in customer-employee interactions.

Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amj.2014.0367 [Google]

 

 

 

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