Today we identify service articles published in Marketing, Management, Operations, Productions, Information Systems & Practioner-oriented Journals in the last months.
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Berger, J., A. Humphreys, S. Ludwig, W. W. Moe, O. Netzer and D. A. Schweidel (2020): Uniting the Tribes: Using Text for Marketing Insight, Journal of Marketing, 84(1), pp.1-25
Words are part of almost every marketplace interaction. Online reviews, customer service calls, press releases, marketing communications, and other interactions create a wealth of textual data. But how can marketers best use such data? This article provides an overview of automated textual analysis and details how it can be used to generate marketing insights. The authors discuss how text reflects qualities of the text producer (and the context in which the text was produced) and impacts the audience or text recipient. Next, they discuss how text can be a powerful tool both for prediction and for understanding (i.e., insights). Then, the authors overview methodologies and metrics used in text analysis, providing a set of guidelines and procedures. Finally, they further highlight some common metrics and challenges and discuss how researchers can address issues of internal and external validity. They conclude with a discussion of potential areas for future work. Along the way, the authors note how textual analysis can unite the tribes of marketing. While most marketing problems are interdisciplinary, the field is often fragmented. By involving skills and ideas from each of the subareas of marketing, text analysis has the potential to help unite the field with a common set of tools and approaches.
Roschk, H. and M. Hosseinpour (2020): Pleasant Ambient Scents: A Meta-Analysis of Customer Responses and Situational Contingencies, Journal of Marketing, 84(1), pp.125-145
To prevail in the fierce competition of in-store experiences, some firms have focused on providing pleasant ambient scents. However, equivocal results on scent effects make generalizations and managerial guidance uncertain. While efforts to consolidate research findings have been conducted, a comprehensive quantitative integration is notably lacking. In this meta-analysis, the authors integrate 671 available effects from ambient scent experiments and show that exposure to pleasant ambient scents on average produces a substantial increase in the level of customer responses (3%–15%). The effects of ambient scent depend on situational contingencies and are, for example, positively related to congruency, unidimensional aroma structure, ascribed familiarity of a scent, service exchange, proportion of female participants in the sample, and imagined (vs. fictitious) offering. Thus, the authors estimate expenditures would increase by 3% and 23% for an average and a most favorable condition, respectively. The authors also examine effect patterns, identifying, for example, ambient scent as more cognitive than affective and nonlinear effects of perceived concentration. Using the insights, they develop a research agenda and provide clear strategic guidance to leverage ambient scent effects.
Maille, V., M. Morrin and R. Reynolds-McIlnay (2020): On the Other Hand…: Enhancing Promotional Effectiveness with Haptic Cues, Journal of Marketing Research, 57(1), pp.100-117
People like graspable objects more when the objects are located on the dominant-hand side of their body or when the handles point toward their dominant-hand side. However, many products do not have handles or are not graspable (e.g., services, objects hanging on the wall). Can nongraspable products nevertheless benefit from the effects of appealing to viewers’ dominant hands? The present research shows that, yes, consumers respond more positively to nongraspable products if a haptic cue (an object that is graspable or suggestive of hand action) is located within the same visual field as the target and is positioned to appeal to the viewer’s dominant hand. This result is driven by the creation and transfer of perceived ownership from cue to target. These findings extend the use of haptic cues to nongraspable products and uncover the critical role played by perceived ownership, including its ability to transfer from one object to another located in the same visual field. Moreover, the current research demonstrates situations in which the use of haptic cues will not enhance response.
Ding, X., X. Peng, G. R. Heim and V. S. Jordan (2020): Service mix, market competition, and cost efficiency: A longitudinal study of U.S. hospitals, Journal of Operations Management, 66(0), pp.176-198
We examine the longitudinal impact of service mix on cost efficiency in U.S. acute care general hospitals. We propose two different dimensions of service mix, with the first dimension capturing internal emphasis on specific service lines (i.e., specialization) and the second dimension reflecting the deviation of a hospital from the average level of specialization for hospitals in the same service area (i.e., differentiation). We hypothesize that as the level of a hospital’s specialization increases, hospital cost efficiency should improve at a decreasing rate. We also hypothesize that differentiation helps improve cost efficiency in competitive markets. Lastly, we examine whether acute care general hospitals can use service mix as an operational lever to improve cost efficiency when specialty hospitals are present in the same local markets. We find strong empirical support for the hypothesized relationships.
Fellesson, M. and N. Salomonson (2020): It takes two to interact – Service orientation, negative emotions and customer phubbing in retail service work, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 54(), pp.
The purpose of this paper is to empirically explore the relationship between frontline employees’ service orientation, negative emotions and handling strategies during situations of customer incivility involving phubbing. In such situations, the logic and the practical implications of service orientation are challenged. Drawing on a survey of 2,940 employees in the Swedish retail sector, the paper shows that service orientation impacts upon how situations involving difficult customers are handled, and that this impact is mediated by employees’ negative emotional reactions. The paper contributes to retail management by pointing to the limitations of solely relying on service orientation and similar ideals in situations of customer incivility.
Grewal, D., S. M. Noble, A. L. Roggeveen and J. Nordfalt (2020): The future of in-store technology, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 48(1), pp.96-113
This paper introduces a conceptual framework for understanding new and futuristic in-store technology infusions. First, we develop a 2 × 2 typology of different innovative and futuristic technologies focusing on their level of convenience and social presence for the consumer. Next, we offer a series of propositions based on the idea that convenience and social presence can trigger vividness by enhancing consumer involvement, imagery, and elaboration, which ultimately leads to enhanced sales. Finally, the paper then focuses on four moderating areas—consumer traits, product/service dimensions, mental models and social networks—to understand how they might impact the vividness experienced via the technology.
Cui, S., Z. Wang and L. Yang (2020): The Economics of Line-Sitting, Management Science, 66(1), pp.227-242
This paper studies an emerging business model of line-sitting in which customers seeking service can hire others (line-sitters) to wait in line on behalf of them. We develop a queueing-game-theoretic model that captures the interaction among customers, the line-sitting firm, and the service provider to examine the impact of line-sitting on the service provider’s revenue and customer welfare. We also contrast line-sitting with the well-known priority purchasing scheme, as both allow customers to pay extra to skip the wait. Our main results are as follows. First, we find that both accommodating line-sitting and selling priority can bring in extra revenue for the service provider, although by different means—selling priority increases revenue mainly by allowing the service provider to practice price discrimination that extracts more customer surplus, whereas line-sitting does so through demand expansion, attracting customers who would not otherwise join. Second, the priority purchasing scheme tends to make the customer population worse off, whereas line-sitting can be a win–win proposition for both the service provider and the customers. Nevertheless, having the additional option of hiring line-sitters does not always benefit customers as a whole because the demand expansion effect also induces negative congestion externalities. Finally, despite the fact that the service provider collects the priority payment as revenue but not the line-sitting payment, which accrues to the third-party line-sitting firm, we demonstrate that, somewhat surprisingly, accommodating line-sitting can raise more revenue for the service provider than directly selling priority. This paper was accepted by Charles Corbett, operations management.
Mandelbaum, A., P. Momčilović, N. Trichakis, S. Kadish, R. Leib and C. A. Bunnell (2020): Data-Driven Appointment-Scheduling Under Uncertainty: The Case of an Infusion Unit in a Cancer Center, Management Science, 66(1), pp.243-270
Service systems are often stochastic and preplanned by appointments, yet implementations of their appointment systems are prevalently deterministic. At the planning stage of healthcare services, for example, customer punctuality and service durations are often assumed equal their means—and this gap, between planned and reality, motivated our research. Specifically, we consider appointment scheduling and sequencing under a time-varying number of servers, in a data-rich environment where service durations and punctuality are uncertain. Our data-driven approach, based on infinite-server queues, yields tractable and scalable solutions that accommodate hundreds of jobs and servers. We successfully test our approach against near-optimal algorithms (which exist for merely single-servers). This entails the development of a data-driven robust optimization approach with novel uncertainty sets. To test for practical performance, we leverage a unique data set from a cancer center that combines real-time locations, electronic health records, and appointments log. Focusing on one of the center’s infusion units (roughly 90 daily appointments, 25+ infusion chairs), we reduce cost (waiting plus overtime) on the order of 15%–40% consistently, under a wide range of experimental setups. This paper was accepted by Assaf Zeevi, stochastic models and simulation.
Wang, S., N. Liu and G. Wan (2020): Managing Appointment-Based Services in the Presence of Walk-in Customers, Management Science, 66(2), pp.667-686
Despite the prevalence and significance of walk-ins in healthcare, we know relatively little about how to plan and manage the daily operations of a healthcare facility that accepts both scheduled and walk-in patients. In this paper, we take a data-analytics approach and develop an optimization model to determine the optimal appointment schedule in the presence of potential walk-ins. Our model is the first known approach that can jointly handle general walk-in processes and heterogeneous, time-dependent no-show behaviors. We demonstrate that, with walk-ins, the optimal schedules are fundamentally different from those without. Our numerical study reveals that walk-ins introduce a new source of uncertainties to the system and cannot be viewed as a simple solution to compensate for patient no-shows. Scheduling, however, is an effective way to counter some of the negative impact from uncertain patient behaviors. Using data from practice, we predict a significant cost reduction (42%–73% on average) if the providers were to switch from current practice (which tends to overlook walk-ins in planning) to our proposed schedules. Although our work is motivated by healthcare, our models and insights can also be applied to general appointment-based services with walk-ins. This paper was accepted by Gad Allon, operations management.
Allon, G. and V. Babich (2020): Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding in the Manufacturing and Services Sectors, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 22(1), pp.102-112
In the last few years, we have seen the emergence of two new ways in which firms interact with outside stakeholders, namely crowdsourcing and crowdfunding service providers. In this article, we define crowdsourcing and crowdfunding terms, compare new business models with traditional ones, review the operations management research community’s contribution so far, point out useful frameworks for understanding the phenomena, illuminate promising research paths, and highlight open research questions. We also discuss the parallels between these concepts as well the main differences.
Benjaafar, S. and M. Hu (2020): Operations Management in the Age of the Sharing Economy: What Is Old and What Is New?, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 22(1), pp.93-101
The sharing economy, a term we use to refer to business models built around on-demand access to products and services mediated by online platforms that match many small suppliers or service providers to many small buyers, has emerged as an important area of study in operations management. We first describe three “canonical” applications that have garnered much attention from the operations management community. We use these applications to highlight distinguishing features of sharing economy business models and to point out research questions that are new. Then we draw connections between classical operations management theory and models and those that have been used to study sharing economy applications. We do so to put in context some of the recent work on the sharing economy and to showcase the underlying modeling toolkit and identify opportunities for future research.
Hasija, S., Z.-J. M. Shen and C.-P. Teo (2020): Smart City Operations: Modeling Challenges and Opportunities, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, 22(1), pp.203-213
We discuss some recent developments in smart city initiatives across the world to motivate the opportunities and challenges that such initiatives pose, and we categorize them into three themes: data access and collection, end-user utility, and economic viability of different solutions. We recognize that the academic literature that can help in addressing some of these challenges is at its nascent state and provide guidelines on how manufacturing and service operations management scholars can contribute to the global smart city movement.
Faulkner, P. and J. Runde (2019): THEORIZING THE DIGITAL OBJECT, MIS Quarterly, 43(4), pp.1279-1302
Prompted by perceived shortcomings of prevailing conceptualizations of digital technology in IS, we propose a theory aimed at capturing both the ontological complexity of digital objects qua objects, and how their identity and use is bound up with various social associations. We begin with what it is to be an object, the differences between material and nonmaterial objects, and various categories of nonmaterial objects including syntactic objects and bitstrings. Building on these categories we develop a conception of digital objects and a novel “bearer” theory of how material and nonmaterial objects combine. The role of computation is considered, and how the identity and system functions of digital objects flow from their social positioning in the communities in which they arise. Various implications of the theory are identified, focusing on its use as a conceptual frame through which to view digital phenomena, and its potential to inform existing perspectives with regard both to how digital technology per se and the relationship between people and digital technology should be theorized. These implications are illustrated with reference to secondary markets for software, the treatment of digital resources in the resource-based, knowledge-based, and service-dominant logic views of organizing, and recent work on sociomateriality.
Guerin, R., K. Hosanagar, L. Xinxin and S. Sen (2019): SHARED OR DEDICATED INFRASTRUCTURES: ON THE IMPACT OF REPROVISIONING ABILITY, MIS Quarterly, 43(4), pp.1059-1079
New technologies, such as virtualization, are transforming the way in which software and services are deployed and delivered to their users. They are behind the emergence of IT offerings such as cloud computing and converged networks, and manifest themselves through two important trends: (1) lower the cost of sharing a common infrastructure across multiple services with disparate resource requirements, and (2) dynamic provisioning of capacity in response to demand. Conventional wisdom is that both of these capabilities are synergistic, with greater provisioning flexibility improving the benefits derived from sharing computing or network resources. Consequently, a service operator should now always favor the use of a shared infrastructure over dedicated solutions when hosting multiple services. In this paper, we ask whether this is indeed the case, and investigate the dual impact of lower costs of sharing and provisioning flexibility on shared and dedicated infrastructures. The investigation reveals that while lower costs are always expected to favor infrastructure sharing, dynamic provisioning plays an ambiguous role. Reprovisioning improves both shared and dedicated solutions, but can do so differently and can sometimes favor a dedicated infrastructure. Our findings help illustrate that the technology trends, such as virtualization, behind cloud computing need not always favor the deployment of services on a shared infrastructure.
He, Q. C., Y. J. Chen and R. Righter (2020): Learning with Projection Effects in Service Operations Systems, Production & Operations Management, 29(1), pp.90-100
In this paper, we study customers’ learning behaviors in service operations systems, when the customers hold incorrect beliefs about the population distribution (“projection effects”). We propose a basic model wherein the customers are heterogeneous in both delay sensitivity and awareness of service quality, which explains “rational hesitations”: The uninformed and patient customers obfuscate the quality signaled by the queue length for the uninformed and impatient customers, who wait and join when the queue becomes longer. Ironically, with such bounded rationality, the customers who are more averse to waiting will react more sensitively to the observed long queue, which leads to an overestimation of the service quality and waiting in the long queue. Such bounded rationality also impedes effective learning by inducing decision errors, which, among other consequences, reduces the social welfare due to a blind “buying frenzy” even if the service quality is low.
Li, D., L. Ding and S. Connor (2020): When to Switch? Index Policies for Resource Scheduling in Emergency Response, Production & Operations Management, 29(2), pp.241-262
This study considers the scheduling of limited resources to a large number of jobs (e.g., medical treatment) with uncertain lifetimes and service times, in the aftermath of a mass casualty incident. Jobs are subject to triage at time zero, and placed into a number of classes. Our goal is to maximize the expected number of job completions. We propose an effective yet simple index policy based on Whittle’s restless bandits approach. The problem concerned features a finite and uncertain time horizon that is dependent upon the service policy, which also determines the decision epochs. Moreover, the number of job classes still competing for service diminishes over time. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first application of Whittle’s index policies to such problems. Two versions of Lagrangian relaxation are proposed in order to decompose the problem. The first is a direct extension of the standard Whittle’s restless bandits approach, while in the second the total number of job classes still competing for service is taken into account; the latter is shown to generalize the former. We prove the indexability of all job classes in the Markovian case, and develop closed‐form indices. Extensive numerical experiments show that the second proposal outperforms the first one (that fails to capture the dynamics in the number of surviving job classes, or bandits) and produces more robust and consistent results as compared to alternative heuristics suggested from the literature, even in non‐Markovian settings.
Yang, X., G. Cai, C. A. Ingene and J. Zhang (2020): Manufacturer Strategy on Service Provision in Competitive Channels, Production & Operations Management, 29(1), pp.72-89
A manufacturer commonly distributes through a set of retailers who are authorized to sell its product; demand‐enhancing services may also be provided by the manufacturer. These services may be granted to all authorized retailers (uniform service provision) or to a favored few authorized retailers (differential service provision). To determine when a manufacturer does—or does not—bestow equal service levels, we develop a model of one manufacturer selling through two competing retailers. We find manufacturer optimality to entail uniform service at some parametric values, while differential service is optimal at other values. Counterintuitively, with differential service, the recipient of lower service may be better off than it would be with higher service. Equally surprisingly, there are conditions for which the high‐service retailer prefers its rival to also receive a high level of service—but only if its rival is sufficiently small. While the three channel members often have different service‐provision preferences, there are also parametric values that place them in harmony with either differential or uniform service provision. Retailers sharing the cost of manufacturer‐provided service need not lessen firms’ preference confliction over the preferred service provision but can improve channel efficiency when the cost‐sharing rate is relatively low. We also investigate the effect of retailer‐provided services and the impact of service asymmetry level.