Today we identify service articles published in Marketing, Management, Operations, Productions, Information Systems & Practioner-oriented Journals in the last months.
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Iansiti, M. and K. R. Lakhani (2020): Competing in the Age of AI, Harvard Business Review, 98(1), pp.60-67
Today markets are being reshaped by a new kind of firm—one in which artificial intelligence runs the show. This cohort includes giants like Google, Facebook, and Alibaba, and growing businesses such as Wayfair and Ocado. Every time we use their services, the same thing happens: Rather than relying on processes run by employees, the value we get is delivered by algorithms. Software is at the core of the enterprise, and humans are moved off to the side. This model frees firms from traditional operating constraints and enables them to compete in unprecedented ways. AI-driven processes can be scaled up very rapidly, allow for greater scope because they can be connected to many kinds of businesses, and offer very powerful opportunities for learning and improvement. And while the value of scale eventually begins to level off in traditional models, in AI-based ones, it never stops climbing. All of that allows AI-driven firms to quickly overtake traditional ones. As AI models blur the lines between industries, strategies are relying less on specialized expertise and differentiation based on cost, quality, and branding, and more on business network position, unique data, and the deployment of sophisticated analytics. INSETS: MICROSOFT’S AI TRANSFORMATION;PUTTING AI AT THE FIRM’S CORE.
Papen, M.-C., F. U. Siems and W. H. Kunz (2020): The Influence of Childhood Engagement in the Context of Hospitality Service Failure Evaluation, Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 44(2), pp.403-425
Marketing research shows that customer relationship management can reduce consequences of service failures. The question is how long a former customer engagement can still have an effect on a current critical incident. In extreme cases, this means whether and how interactions between company and customer during childhood can still influence the effects of a service failure. This article proposes that engagement with a company during childhood (childhood engagement) can affect later perceptions of the relationship. An experiment with 152 participants showed that perceived controllability and childhood engagement moderated the effect of disappointment on repurchase intention. Customers with childhood engagement evaluate a service failure more favorably than customers without childhood experiences. Furthermore, customers are likely to react negatively if the responsibility for the failure is attributed to the company. Accordingly, from a managerial perspective, childhood engagement and credible communication can prevent the ending of a customer relationship after a failure.À
Biswas, D., C. Szocs and A. Abell (2019): Extending the Boundaries of Sensory Marketing and Examining the Sixth Sensory System: Effects of Vestibular Sensations for Sitting versus Standing Postures on Food Taste Perception, Journal of Consumer Research, 46(4), pp.708-724
Prior research has examined the role of the traditional five sensory systems (visual, olfactory, haptic, auditory, and gustatory) and how they influence food evaluations. This research extends the boundaries of sensory marketing by examining the effects of the vestibular system, often referred to as the “sixth sensory system,” which is responsible for balance and posture. The results of six experiments show that vestibular sensations related to posture (i.e. sitting vs. standing) influence food taste perceptions. Specifically, standing (vs. sitting) postures induce greater physical stress on the body, which in turn decreases sensory sensitivity. As a result, when eating in a standing (vs. sitting) posture, consumers rate the taste of pleasant-tasting foods and beverages as less favorable, the temperature as less intense, and they consume smaller amounts. The effects of posture on taste perception are reversed for unpleasant-tasting foods. These findings have conceptual implications for broadening the frontiers of sensory marketing and for the effects of sensory systems on food taste perceptions. Given the increasing trend toward eating while standing, the findings also have practical implications for restaurant, retail, and other food-service environment designs.
Rifkin, J. R. and J. Etkin (2019): Variety in Self-Expression Undermines Self-Continuity, Journal of Consumer Research, 46(4), pp.725-749
From dating profiles and social media accounts to online streaming services, consumers are often asked to express who they are by constructing an assortment. Apple Music, for example, asks new users to indicate “two or more” of their favorite types of music when they create an account. But while consumers might create such self-expressive assortments to communicate who they are, could the composition of these assortments also affect how people see themselves? Seven studies demonstrate that perceiving greater variety in a self-expressive assortment undermines self-continuity. This occurs because variety leads consumers to infer that their preferences are less stable, thereby decreasing the belief that their identity stays the same over time. Variety’s effect generalizes across multiple domains of self-expression (e.g. books, music, television) and has downstream consequences for service evaluation and even unrelated decision-making (e.g. intertemporal tradeoffs). The findings advance understanding of how choice shapes identity, the role of variety in consumers’ lives, and factors that affect self-continuity. The results also have implications for the marketers who encourage (and the consumers who construct) self-expressive assortments.
Savary, J. and R. Dhar (2020): The Uncertain Self: How Self-Concept Structure Affects Subscription Choice, Journal of Consumer Research, 46(5), pp.887-903
Whether it is clothing, meals or an exercise regimen, consumers purchase a wide range of goods on a recurring basis using a subscription model. While past research indicates that people continue to subscribe to these services even when they rarely use them, no work to date has examined how identity considerations affect preferences in this domain. Building on research on signaling and self-concept structure, we propose that quitting an ongoing subscription can threaten the stability of the self-concept by signaling a change in identity. Consumers who are uncertain about their self-concept (i.e., low self-concept clarity) and motivated to maintain a stable self-concept are thus more likely to keep unused subscriptions than those who are more certain. In support of the underlying mechanism, we demonstrate that self-concept clarity affects choices only for identity-relevant subscription choices, and that it affects choices for subscriptions, but not one-shot product choices that are a weaker signal of identity. Finally, because signing up for a new subscription also signals an identity change that can threaten the stability of the self, consumers with low self-concept clarity are also less likely to subscribe to a new service compared to those with more certain self-concepts.
Sinha, J. and F.-C. Lu (2019): Ignored or Rejected: Retail Exclusion Effects on Construal Levels and Consumer Responses to Compensation, Journal of Consumer Research, 46(4), pp.791-807
Among the top customer complaints regarding retailers are experiences of exclusionary treatment in the form of explicit condescension or implicit disregard. However, little is known about how consumers respond to different instances of exclusion in retail or service settings. This research focuses on how customers respond cognitively and emotionally when frontline staff reject or ignore them and on how retailers can recover from such service failures. Findings from six studies using exclusion as a hypothetical scenario or a real experience demonstrate that direct negative feedback leads customers to feel rejected and to form concrete low-level mental construals, while a lack of attention leads customers to feel ignored and to form abstract high-level construals. Explicit rejection (implicit ignoring) causes consumers to form more (less) vivid mental imagery of the exclusionary experience and to activate a concrete (abstract) mindset, resulting in preferences for tangible (intangible) and visual (textual) compensation options. Retailers are advised to align their compensation with construal levels to increase post-recovery customer satisfaction, customer reviews, intended loyalty, and brand referral behavior.
Friend, S. B., A. Malshe and G. J. Fisher (2020): What drives customer Re-engagement? The foundational role of the sales-service interplay in episodic value co-creation, Industrial Marketing Management, 84(), pp.271-286
As existing business-to-business value co-creation (VCC) contracts approach their planned expiration, customers evaluate incumbent suppliers when forming their decisions to re-engage or defect. During this late stage of VCC, supplier sales and service personnel perform unique activities to support one another and foster VCC re-engagement. To investigate this sales-service interplay, the authors employ an exploratory inquiry consisting of 115 depth interviews across 63 customer accounts. Interviews were conducted with customers following the decision to re-engage or defect from an incumbent supplier. Findings suggest that sales’ efforts to renew the VCC contract depend on tactical insights provided by service. Through their involvement with customers, service holds a tactical perspective that can extract micro-level customer insights. Findings also suggest that service’s ability to influence supplier-specific knowledge stores within the customer organization depends on macro-level strategic customer directives that may be shared by sales. Further, service’s activation of such knowledge stores moderates the relationship between sales’ RFP response and the customer’s VCC re-engagement decision. The results have implications for the industrial sales and service fields, since the integration of the sales and service teams is critical for garnering intrafirm knowledge flows that drive recurrent VCC within collaborative customer-supplier relationships. • Sales and service personnel efforts uniquely drive B2B VCC customer re-engagement. • An interplay between incumbent sales and service personnel is a critical antecedent • Sales and service intrafirm and interfirm activities are assessed in episodic VCC • Depth interviews were conducted with customers following re-engagement or defection. • Service affects customer knowledge stores that moderate VCC re-engagement drivers.
Lexutt, E. (2020): Different roads to servitization success – A configurational analysis of financial and non-financial service performance, Industrial Marketing Management, 84(), pp.105-125
Much servitization research is ambiguous regarding its conceptualization of servitization success and the results are often inconclusive or even contradictory. The present study argues that this is because servitization success is understood best as a multidimensional, causally complex phenomenon, and adopts a configurational approach. The purpose of this study is to shed light on prominent, but inconclusive success factors, their interdependencies, and their causal role in leading to servitization success. A state-of-the-art fuzzy set qualitative comparative analysis is applied to a sample of 143 German manufacturing companies. The complex relationships between focus of the service offering on services supporting the product and services supporting the clients actions, the existence of a separate service organization, decentralization of decision making, management commitment to services, service orientation of corporate culture, and financial, non-financial, and overall service success are disentangled. A service oriented corporate culture, decentralized decision making, and management commitment to services are identified as necessary for servitization success; 3 configurations as sufficient for servitization success and 3 configurations as sufficient for a lack thereof. These findings paint a more realistic and multifaceted image of the causal relationships underlying servitization success, thus yielding useful suggestions for the management of servitizing businesses. • Examines configurations for servitization success • Explores differences between financial and non-financial performance • Studies the occurrence as well as the lack of servitization success • Service oriented culture, decentralization and managerial commitment to services necessary for servitization success • Identifies 3 configurations for servitization success and 3 for a lack there of • Performs state-of-the-art fuzzy set qualitative analysis
Luu, T. T. (2020): Linking authentic leadership to salespeople’s service performance: The roles of job crafting and human resource flexibility, Industrial Marketing Management, 84(), pp.89-104
To build the sustainable service excellence, organizations should fuel sales employees’ drive to serve customers and recover service failures to their utmost satisfaction. The primary aim of our study is to delve into the role of authentic leadership in fostering customer-oriented organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and service recovery performance among sales employees. Respondents for our surveys comprised employees and managers from sales departments of pharmaceutical companies in Vietnam. The data analyses justified the positive relationships between authentic leadership and customer-oriented OCB as well as service recovery performance in a business to business (B2B) context. Job crafting served as a mediator for the links between authentic leadership and customer-oriented OCB as well as service recovery performance. Furthermore, human resource (HR) flexibility was found to play a moderating role for the effect of authentic leadership on job crafting among sales employees. • Provided support for the role of authentic leadership in fostering customer-oriented OCB and service recovery performance • Job crafting served as a mediator for such relationships. • Human resource (HR) flexibility was found to play a moderating role for the effect of authentic leadership on job crafting.
Serada, A., T. Sihvonen and J. T. Harviainen (2020): CryptoKitties and the New Ludic Economy: How Blockchain Introduces Value, Ownership, and Scarcity in Digital Gaming, Games and Culture, (), pp.
This article analyzes specific characteristics of value created through digital scarcity and blockchain-proven ownership in cryptogames. Our object of study is CryptoKitties, the first instance of a blockchain-based game that has garnered media recognition and financial interest. The objective of this article is to demonstrate the limits of scarcity in value construction for owners of CryptoKitties tokens, manifested as breedable virtual cats. Our work extends the trends set out by earlier cryptocurrency studies from the perspective of cultural studies. For the purpose of this article, we rely on open blockchain analytics such as DappRadar and Etherscan, as well as player-created analytics, backed by a one-year-long participant observation period in the said game for research material. Combining theoretical cryptocurrency and Bitcoin studies, open data analysis, and virtual ethnography enables a grounded discussion on blockchain-based game design and play.
Bertele, K., S. Feiereisen, C. Storey and T. van Laer (2020): It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it! Effective message styles for promoting innovative new services, Journal of Business Research, 107(), pp.38-49
While innovations are critical to firms’ long-term survival, they have a high failure rate. Identifying the factors that encourage consumer adoption of innovations is therefore essential for the successful management of new products and services. While prior research suggests that two message styles (i.e., metaphors and narratives) can help convey the benefits of new services, extant scholarly work has not examined which style increases adoption intentions to a greater extent. Study 1 demonstrates that metaphors enhance adoption intentions more than narratives for incrementally new services (INSs) but not for really new services (RNSs). Study 2 shows that low-figurativeness metaphors enhance adoption intentions more than high-figurativeness metaphors for INSs but not for RNSs and that consumers’ negative cognitive responses underlie this effect. These findings have important implications for theory and practice.
Briggs, E., S. Deretti and H. T. Kato (2020): Linking organizational service orientation to retailer profitability: Insights from the service-profit chain, Journal of Business Research, 107(), pp.271-278
This study examines how service orientation influences profitability in retail trade contexts. The authors develop a conceptual model based on the service-profit chain (SPC) framework suggesting that employee satisfaction and customer relationship performance (i.e., customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and store image building) function as intermediate steps linking service orientation to retailer profitability. The model is tested with a matched sample of retail managers and employees from Brazil. Results demonstrate that service orientation directly influences employee satisfaction and customer relationship performance. Consistent with the traditional SPC framework, the analyses did not support a direct relationship between employee satisfaction and customer relationship performance when controlling for the effects of service orientation. Finally, customer relationship performance fully mediated the influence of service orientation on retailer profitability. Collectively, study findings support the notion that service orientation is reflective of both internal and external service quality. Managerial recommendations for implementing a service orientation are provided.
Chen, S., C. A. Ingene and I. Takahashi (2020): Household expenditures at Japanese food and beverage retailers, Journal of Business Research, 107(), pp.245-255
We assess determinants of household expenditures at Japanese off-premise food and beverage (F&B) retailers using data from a recent business census that provides data on 786 cities comprising 91% of Japan’s population. We make three fundamental contributions to the literature. First, we determine the effect on expenditures from non-residents who regularly enter a city for education or employment; they alter the actual daytime population by up to 5/8ths more – or 5/8ths less – than the resident population. Second, we examine the impact of intratype and intertype competition on expenditures. Third, we use product assortment and customer service as mediators between our determinant variables and expenditures. We show that a city’s daytime population raises demand at F&B retailers; intratype competition (i.e., supercenters) lowers sales at F&B retailers, and intertype competition (i.e., restaurants) benefits F&B retailers. Product assortment and customer service mediate the effects of independent variables on household expenditures.
Kim, J., S. Jang, S. Kang and S. Kim (2020): Why are hotel room prices different? Exploring spatially varying relationships between room price and hotel attributes, Journal of Business Research, 107(), pp.118-129
Despite abundant research on modeling hotel room prices, traditional hedonic pricing models (HPMs) have failed to consider spatial variations in the relationships among hotel room price and attribute variables. This study demonstrates the utility of a spatial HPM (s-HPM) using a geographically weighted regression analysis of 387 hotels in the Chicago area. Specifically, this study explored spatial variations in modeling hotel room prices and further identified spatial clustering patterns of relationships between room price and hotel attributes across market segments. The findings reveal that the s-HPM successfully identified spatially varying relationships between room price and hotel attributes, such as site attributes – size, age, class and service quality – and situation attributes – distances to airports, highways and tourist attractions – across the study area. This study contributes to a better understanding of local patterns of modeling room prices, ultimately providing guidelines for effective location-based hotel room pricing strategies.
Locander, J. A., A. White and C. L. Newman (2020): Customer responses to frontline employee complaining in retail service environments: The role of perceived impropriety, Journal of Business Research, 107(), pp.315-323
Substantial research recognizes the importance of understanding employee-customer interactions in order to optimize the customer experience. While most retailing and services research focuses on frontline employees’ handling of customer complaints, the present studies take an inverse approach by examining a relatively unexplored phenomenon: customers’ perceptions of frontline employee complaining. First, a pilot study confirms two commonly overheard types of employee complaints – complaints about the company and customers. Next, Study 1 provides empirical support for the effects of overhearing employee complaining on relevant customer outcomes and identifies perceived impropriety as the mediating mechanism underlying these effects. The results of Study 2 indicate that soliciting customers’ feedback about their experience attenuates the indirect effects of one type of employee complaint – complaints about the company. We conclude with a discussion of our findings and provide practical suggestions to retailers and service providers for reducing the harmful effects of overheard employee complaints.
Mandl, L. and J. Hogreve (2020): Buffering effects of brand community identification in service failures: The role of customer citizenship behaviors, Journal of Business Research, 107(), pp.130-137
With two field studies, this research highlights the role of brand community identification (BCI) as a source of customers’ repurchase intentions and also reveals how BCI creates a buffering effect, protecting against the negative repercussions of service failures for repurchase intentions. The first study builds on social identity theory and investigates BCI as a driver of repurchase intentions; it explains this positive relationship according to single dimensions of customer citizenship behavior. The second study establishes that BCI mitigates the negative effect of service failures on customers’ repurchase intentions. These results call attention to the need to build and maintain customers’ strong BCI, because such investments encourage favorable customer–customer helping and advocacy that drive repurchase intentions. Moreover, strong BCI may reduce a firm’s required service recovery efforts, because customers with strong BCI perceive service failures less negatively. • The article shows innovative results based on two field studies with active members of a brand community. • The impact of brand community identification on repurchase intentions is explained by customer citizenship behaviors. • In contrast to previous studies, we found direct effects of Brand community identification on repurchase intentions. • Strong brand community identification weakens the effect of service failures on repurchase intentions (buffering effect).
Wolf, T., W. H. Weiger and M. Hammerschmidt (2020): Experiences that matter? The motivational experiences and business outcomes of gamified services, Journal of Business Research, 106(), pp.353-364
Digital service providers are increasingly “gamifying” their services (i.e., enriching non-game services with game elements) to foster additional user value in terms of specific user experiences. Understanding how such experiences of gamified services influence business outcomes is critical. Drawing on service-dominant logic and self-determination theory, this research examines the impact of motivational user experiences (self-development, social connectedness, expressive freedom, and social comparison) on firm-beneficial behavior. Findings from a cross-contextual study reveal that motivational experiences increase these outcomes to different extents. Among the experiences examined, self-development has the strongest effect on business outcomes. Importantly, some experiences interact in a way that negatively affects those outcomes. For instance, the interplay between social comparison and social connectedness or expressive freedom is dysfunctional and impairs firm-beneficial user behavior. The study’s results help service providers to prioritize those experiences that matter most for their business goals. • In gamified services facilitated motivational experiences can boost desired business outcomes • Nurturing experiences of self-development is key to enhance customer commitment, willingness to pay, and customer referrals • Interactions of the four motivational experiences can also negatively affect desired business outcomes • Experiences of social comparison in combination with social connectedness or expressive freedom are dysfunctional