Research Insights 8.3 Customer Integration Within Service Development

New Proposition Development and Innovation

Source:Edvardsson, B.; Kristensson, P.; Magnusson, P. and Sundström, E. (2012). Customer integration within service development—A review of methods and an analysis of insitu and exsitu contributions. Technovation32(7), 419-29.

Abstract: This article aims to contribute to a better understanding of how to integrate customers within service development by assessing different methods of obtaining use information. The article reviews and classifies methods for customer integration and it also presents a new framework that suggests four modes of customer integration in which data is classified either as insitu (data captured in a customer's use situation) or exsitu (data captured outside the use situation) and as either incontext or excontext. Context is defined as a resource constellation that is available for customers to enable value co-creation. Accordingly, incontext refers to methods in which the customer is in the actual use context and has access to various resources, while excontext refers to a situation in which the customer is outside the use context and, therefore, has no direct access to the resources.

Insight: This interesting paper outlines how customer feedback can be integrated into new service development. It develops a framework for categorizing customer integration methods based on whether the data are obtained in-situ  or ex-situ and in-context or ex-context, creating four types of customer informant, including: the correspondent (in-situ/in-context, reporting live from the situation); the reflective practitioner (ex-situ/in-context, reporting from ‘the armchair’); the tester (in-situ, ex-context, reporting from ‘virtual heaven’) and the dreamer (ex-situ/ex-context, the creative generating wild and imaginative ideas). The article explains that it is insufficient to follow customer requirements in new service development, nor should companies try to lead customers, rather they should work with them to co-create new service propositions.