Tag Archives: B2B services

Service Excellence: Creating Customer Experiences that Build Relationships. Interview with Dr. Ruth Bolton

Podcast Transcript

This podcast is brought to you by the Center for Services Leadership, a groundbreaking research center in the W.P Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The Center for Services Leadership provides leading edge research and education in the science of service.

Darima Fotheringham: Welcome to the CSL podcast, I’m Darima Fotheringham. Today I’m talking to Dr. Ruth Bolton, Professor of Marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. She is the author of the new book “Service Excellence. Creating Customer Experiences that Build Relationships.” Ruth, thank you so much for joining me today, and congratulations on the new book!

Dr. Ruth Bolton: Thank you. It’s my first book, so I’m very excited.

Darima Fotheringham: It is very exciting! And I really enjoyed reading your book. It covers a lot of ground but it’s not a textbook. It is a very engaging and informative read that you can finish quickly. And it is the type of book that you want to hold on to so that you can go back to it again and again. Can you tell our listeners about what led you to write this book?

Dr. Ruth Bolton: Markets have been changing very rapidly, and I hear from the managers that there are many new opportunities and challenges. However, amidst all this change, managers kept emphasizing the importance of the customer experience. And I was intrigued that this term came from business not from academics. So what was it that managers were seeing that was so important? After thinking about it for some time, I realized that service researchers have a really important perspective to offer on the customer experience. So I decided to write a book about it!

Darima Fotheringham: Great! And it’s very timely. So as you said, customer experience is a really hot topic these days, and in your book, you emphasize a service-centered view of the customer experience. Can you talk about that? Why is this distinction important?

Dr. Ruth Bolton: Well, managers and academics who have been studying services really have a head start and understanding the customer experience. The reason is that, for many years, services research started from the premise that customer experiences are co-created by participants in a network. The participants, of course, are the company, its customers and other partners, such as suppliers. The key idea is that from a co-creation perspective, the goal of each participant is to use the resources and capabilities to support other actors in achieving their goals. So that’s how companies create value for customers.

In a service-centered view, co-creating customer experiences builds profitable relationships. But the emphasis is on innovating, designing and producing experiences that create value for both. So customer participation and engagement become key. Now if you stop and think about it, it explains the emergence of some of the innovative new business models in many industries such as the entertainment industry which is going through tremendous disruption.

Darima Fotheringham: Most companies are fairly up to speed on topics of customer satisfaction, value, loyalty, word-of-mouth, and so forth. I can imagine these are still very important when we talk about the customer experience, but what’s new today?

Dr. Ruth Bolton: Many people are fascinated by the new collaborative services such as Airbnb and Uber. These companies are co-creating with their suppliers, the people who rent out their homes or cars, and with customers, the people who travel. I think that many of us start by thinking that the technology platform, which enables the service, is important. However, the real challenge is how these three partners share information, develop group norms, and work together to achieve their goals. Uber recently recognized the Drivers Association in New York City to facilitate discussions on workplace issues. And if you stop and think about this from a service center perspective, it makes really good business sense.

Darima Fotheringham: Speaking of technology, as you note in your book, technology and new media enable customers and companies to engage in these new ways. Other than Uber, what other interesting and innovative examples can you share about how companies have been able to enhance customer experience using technology?

Dr. Ruth Bolton: I’m especially interested in how B2B companies have leveraged data driven insights to innovate and create value with customers. DuPont Pioneer was able to leverage its expertise in biotech to identify new services that help farmers map and plan how best to replace nitrogen in their fields. It lead to a new service channel and a new market that provides insights and solutions for land management. And the latest I read in the news is that folks are using drones to look at very large properties.

In China, Alibaba Group has built rural service centers in hundreds of Chinese villages so that people can search for products online and place orders as well as sell products through its online marketplaces. With an economic slowdown in China in 2015, the rural service centers are an important opportunity for new growth. So I really find the data driven insights fascinating. And an interesting feature about both these examples is that they improve societal wellbeing as well as creating benefits for customers and profits for firms.

Darima Fotheringham: Which is really great! In the chapter “the Building Blocks of the Customer Experience”, you discuss practical and emotional motives of the customers as they engage and develop relationships with companies. I think companies are usually well aware of the practical motives of their customers, but emotional motives are often much harder to identify. Why is it important that service experience is designed around both practical and emotional motives? And does this mostly apply to B2C companies or does it also matter in the B2B world?

Dr. Ruth Bolton: Oh, emotions matter for business customers too.  Businesses are composed of human beings, and human beings experience a variety of emotions such as fun, excitement, boredom, and frustration when they interact with companies. The starting point is that the business customer and its supplier are each pursuing their own goals, which may or may not be aligned. And within the business-customers organization, employees have specific roles and identities and they have their own goals.

There’s some really solid research showing that people interact with the company to achieve their goals, and when they do achieve them, they’re happy and feel in control. When they can’t make progress towards achieving their goals, look out for annoyance or even customer rage. Take a simple example, imagine a courier service is late in delivering an important package. The employee receiving the package can’t carry out his responsibilities and then there are ripple effects throughout the organization. Will we see customer rage? Quite possibly!

The effects of emotions can magnify aspects of the customer experience that might otherwise seem like small details. For example, I’ve been participating in research for the global retailer that’s been studying shopper satisfaction with the customer experience. We’ve discovered that people’s feeling of fun and frustration play a big role, no matter whether they are shopping in the store, online, or using a catalog. It’s crucially important to meet shoppers’ goals, say whether they’re browsing, searching, or buying, so that you can satisfy them. Interestingly, despite the fact that there are so many technology-enabled services, people still feel emotions in computer mediated environments.

Darima Fotheringham: I personally found the chapter “Managing Customer Relationships to Achieve Growth and Profitability” packed with great and useful insights. In that chapter, you give an example of IBM, how it successfully used the portfolio approach to managing their customers. Can you talk about that and share what we can learn from this example and this kind of approach?

Dr. Ruth Bolton: Yes, IBM successfully navigated the dot-com crash through better management of its customer portfolio, whereas Sun Microsystems did not. I’m really proud of our work looking at customer portfolios. This was a joint effort with Crina Tarasi and other colleagues at ASU, and it’s won some important awards.

You may have heard people talk about the customer asset and how customers produce cash flow streams over time. However, our research team identified an important issue that’s often overlooked, namely that customers’ cash flows are variable over time and that exposes the company to risk. Just like a stock portfolio, a customer portfolio should be diversified to minimize risk for a desired rate of return, and we were able to identify a number of strategies to reduce risk while maintaining profits.

One way is to manage the mix of customers, which is what IBM did. The general approach is to balance the market segments that your company serves so that its decreases in cash flows over time from one market segment are offset by increases in cash flows from another market segment, so that the average cash flow of the organization remains stable. This insight gives an entirely new perspective on market segmentation strategies. It’s particularly helpful for B2B companies because often they segment their markets by small, medium and large customers who have very different cash flow patterns.

Another approach is to work to increase customer satisfaction with their experiences. It turns out that satisfaction has a double whammy effect, lower cash flow variability and higher cash flow levels. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s backed up by solid research by many academics. And surprisingly loyalty programs may not always be the answer. Some loyalty programs lead to more variable cash flows, but not higher average cash flows. So companies need to think about designing loyalty programs to improve the experience or the intangible benefits, for example, membership recognition for consumers rather than offering economic incentives.

Darima Fotheringham: Very interesting! In conclusion, what one advice can you give companies that strive to achieve service excellence?

Dr. Ruth Bolton: I think you’re right that most companies know all about service quality, customer satisfaction, loyalty, and so forth. So my advice is: look forwards not backwards. What does the customer want for the future? Customers have goals they’re trying to accomplish by partnering with you so it’s crucial that companies understand what customers want next. In other words:

  • Understand and align with customers goals.
  • Generate trust that you can deliver experiences that satisfy these goals.
  • Offer products that are relevant to customers’ future needs not what they wanted yesterday.
  • And match the customer’s future circumstances.

Darima Fotheringham: Very helpful! Thank you so much. We were talking to Dr. Ruth Bolton, the author of “Service Excellence. Creating Customer Experiences that Build Your Relationships.” Ruth, thank you so much for your time!

Dr. Ruth Bolton: You’re welcome.

For more information on the science of service visit the Center for Services Leadership on the web at wpcarey.asu.edu/csl

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Ruth_BoltonRuth N. Bolton is Professor of Marketing at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University. She previously served as 2009-11 Executive Director of the Marketing Science Institute. She studies how organizations can improve business performance over time by creating, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers. Her recent research has focused on high technology, interactive services sold in global business-to-business markets. She has extensive experience with survey research design, as well as the econometric analysis of large-scale, integrative data bases. Her research is typically conducted in partnership with businesses, such as the Marriott Corporation, Hewlett-Packard and Schneider National Inc.

How Can Product-based Companies Enhance B2B Services Success?

In this post, we feature Forming Successful Business-to-Business Services in Goods-Dominant Firms” published in the Journal of Service Research. This highly cited research papers by Wayne Neu, from the Metropolitan State College of Denver, and Stephen Brown, from Arizona State University discusses multi-firm case studies of four Fortune 500 firms, focusing on what factors goods-dominant firms should consider when developing services, and how to enhance the success of their service offerings. Based on the experience of employees at these four firms, the authors distill which factors contribute to successful service development. Below we highlight those factors along with some key questions managers should ask themselves as they expand their product-based offerings into services and solutions in B2B business.

If the shoe fits: the importance of strategic alignment

Neu and Brown’s research found that successful B2B service development in product-dominant firms requires alignment across three sets of variables—market, strategy, and factors of organization. Successful managers formed their B2B services strategy to fit the demands of a highly complex market and molded organizational factors to support the newly formed strategy.

How complex is your market for B2B services? How easy will it be to form a strategy and adapt several factors of organization to meet the demands of a complex market?

Object of affection: a market and customer-centered focus

Successful companies adopted both market and customer-centered orientations as they developed their B2B services. Market orientation meant managers understood the complex needs of the market and directed their organization’s activities toward satisfying those needs. Adopting a customer-centered orientation meant managers collaborated closely with individual customers to understand each one’s needs and tailored a service program to satisfy those needs.

Does your company have what it takes to be both market and customer focused at the same time?

From black & white to color: defining the new value proposition

Shifting from a goods provider to a goods and services provider requires a new value proposition to customers. Managers in this study touted their firm’s ability to create customer value by effectively 1) assuming responsibility for the whole challenging task of developing, supporting, or managing a complex business system, 2) tailoring the service offering to meet each customer’s unique needs, and 3) enabling customers to concentrate on developing the competencies needed to successfully compete in their own line of business.

Can your company delivery on all three components of this value proposition?

Our people, our livelihood: the human resource advantage

Successful companies emphasized the critical role of frontline workers in serving the needs of a highly complex market. As a result, they worked hard to ensure frontline roles were designed to respond to the challenge of the market in the following ways:

  • Serve as a trusted advisor: partner with the customer to formulate and implement unbiased recommendations.
  • Develop a learning relationship with individual customers: learn about customers’ complex business needs and develop an intimate understanding of their business as they, in turn, get to know your business and capabilities.
  • Lead a collaborative support performance: with the service delivery often occurring in a team-based setting, the importance of working well together and networking with peers to resolve problems cannot be overlooked.
  • Deliver a complex service: frontline employees must be able to assume the responsibility of dealing with complex issues that arise during service delivery.
  • Hire for behaviors, expertise, and attitude: successful firms hired for behavioral competencies, technical expertise and customer-focused attitude. Some key things to look for when hiring include selecting for high collaboration, refined listening and communication skills, learning agility, and a strong base of technical expertise.

Pursuing services requires human resources to manage all of these issues—does your organization have what it takes to accumulate and retain employees who can carry out these roles?

Good bone structure: reorganizing to reflect strategy

During their study, Neu and Brown found that the successful firms integrated the responsibilities of multiple value chain activities across multiple business units. In that way, the complex service becomes a single market offer, although it requires integrated effort across the firm to deliver. That means working together laterally across the firm, but also outside the firm by linking with customers in collaboration to develop and implement new services. It also means decentralizing authority to be closer to the customer and retaining flexibility when it comes to frequently changing factors.

How well suited is your company’s culture and structure for these kind of fundamental structural changes?

You get what you pay for: measurement and rewards

Because of the high degree of intra-firm collaboration required to pull-off successful B2B services, companies that did it well made sure their incentives encouraged this kind of working together. Those who didn’t succeed were incented in ways which encouraged intra-firm competition, which is destructive to service creation.

Does your incentive system support the integration of responsibilities and intra-firm collaboration?

The sound of music: sweet improvisation

Much like improvisational jazz musicians, successful managers were able to adapt and change with respect to unanticipated events and conditions during the performance. While implementing strategies for B2B services, successful managers learned about customer needs and changed the service program in real time without skipping a beat.

Do you have the information-sharing capabilities and company culture that allow for real time reactions and adaptations?

From Products to Services and Solutions. Embracing Customer Centricity in B2B

Interview with Mary Jo Bitner and Stephen W. Brown, co-authors of the book “Profiting From Services and Solutions: What Product-Centric Firms Need to Know”. The interview was recorded in July, 2014, when the book first came out. To learn more about the Service Infusion Continuum framework introduced in the podcast, check out CSL webcast Profiting from Services and Solutions available on the CSL blog.

Podcast Transcript

This podcast was brought to you by the Center for Services Leadership, a ground-breaking research center in the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. The Center for Services Leadership provides leading edge research and education in the science of service.

Darima Fotheringham: Today I’m joined by Professor Mary Jo Bitner, the Executive Director of the Center for Services Leadership at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, and with Emeritus Professor Steve Brown, Distinguished Faculty with the Center for Services Leadership and a Strategic Partner with the INSIGHT Group, a global services growth consulting firm.

Q: For those who may be new to the Center for Services Leadership, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your coauthors?

Mary Jo Bitner: We represent a 4 member faculty team that wrote this book together. We worked together on the research and the writing of the book from the very start to finish. One of the foundations for the book is a major research project that we did with 5 Fortune 100 companies seeking to understand their challenges, their successes and insights as they moved from being product-centric to customer-centric and service-centric firms. It was a long project, over multiple years. The co-author team is Steve Brown and myself, also Valerie Zeithaml, who is a Marketing professor at University of North Carolina. She’s internationally known for her work in Service Quality and Customer Equity and also in the work that we did for the book. Steve Brown is an Emeritus Professor of Marketing at ASU. He founded and led the Center for Services Leadership for over 25 years. Now he’s a consultant, author and an executive teacher focusing on helping firms in this area. Jim Salas is the fourth author of the book. He’s an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Pepperdine and he recently graduated with his PhD and his dissertation work focused on strategies helping firms move into services. And then myself, Marketing Professor here at ASU and Executive Director of the CSL. We worked together as a team of four from the beginning to the end and are very excited to have our book out.

Q: What inspired you to write “Profiting from Services and Solutions: What Product-Centric Firms Need to Know?”

Steve Brown: There are several things. One, of course, is working with all the member companies of the Center for Services Leadership. Many of them, over the years, came to Mary Jo and myself and others and talked about how they, being very product-centric companies, wanted to grow into services and solutions. This is probably the biggest catalyst for the research project that underlies the book. We also knew that there was relatively little known about this topic except anecdotally. And what the book tries to do is study in depth these 5 companies but also integrate some of the latest literature on this topic and then feature several rich examples from companies that have either gone through this transition or are going through this transition right now. Continue reading

Profiting from Services and Solutions

click on the slide to begin the webcast

Leaders of product-based companies are under an enormous pressure to stay competitive by shifting revenues from selling goods to delivering services and solutions. Yet few executives realize the extent to which they must change their organizations to succeed in growth through services. In this webcast, Dr. Mary Jo Bitner, Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Services Leadership at W. P. Carey School of Business and Dr. Steve Brown, Emeritus Professor and Strategic Partner of the INSIGHT Group, talk about their new book Profiting from Services and Solutions: What Product-Centric Firms Need to Know, which draws on the authors’ years of academic research and consulting work with several Fortune 100 member companies.

In the webcast, the authors introduce “The Service Infusion Continuum” framework and highlight two of the six important success factors, Capabilities and Collaboration with Customers, that are critical for product-centric companies in their business transformation as they move along the continuum from products toward higher valued services and solutions.

Foundational research for the book was sponsored by the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University and several of its Fortune 100 member companies. Profiting from Services and Solutions: What Product-Centric Firms Need to Know is available on Amazon and Business Express Press website.

Our readers are invited to receive a special offer on the book from the CSL partner, International Society of Service Professional (ISSIP). The International Society of Service Innovation Professionals promotes the professional development, education, research, practice, and policy work of its member individuals and institutions working hard to improve our world’s diverse, interconnected, complex service systems.

To receive a special book offer from ISSIP, follow the steps below.

Show you care: initiating co-creation in service recovery

NLP-course-for-customer-serviceBy Dr. Yingzi Xu

Customers are no longer passive receivers of service offerings from companies, but rather value creators themselves. Companies realize that involving customers in service production and co-production is a cost-saving strategy and an effective way to satisfy customers. Co-production expands to co-design of new services as well as to co-recovery, which allows companies and their customers to work together to find a solution in the event of a service failure.
The justice theory, which is rooted in social psychology, has been widely used to explain individuals’ reactions to a variety of conflict situations. In a service recovery situation, customers have to confront what they perceive as an unfair outcome or treatment from a service company. Therefore, customers judge the company’s recovery effort through the “lens” of justice.

The idea of involving customers in the recovery process is to offer customers a certain degree of perceived control and empowerment in a service failure situation. Customers feel a greater sense of control and more responsibility when they are a part of decision-making process to work out a solution after a service failure. Customers perceive a higher degree of justice or fairness when they can influence both how a problem is solved and the actual outcome, than when being presented by a ready-made solution from the service company.

So involving customers in service recovery seems like a good strategy, doesn’t it? Not always! When customers see their co-creative effort as doing the job for the company, co-recovery is harmful. Customers expect the company to provide a larger portion of the joint effort when addressing the customers’ loss and any inconvenience caused by a service failure, especially when the company is responsible for it.

How can we make co-recovery positive for our customers? The key is to let customers feel that the company has done more, so that the joint effort shared between the company and the customer is fair in the customers’ eyes. Here, employees play a crucial role: they must ensure the customer recognizes their effort. A simple and effective way is for company employees to initiate co-recovery with their customers. Such an initiative indicates that the service company is willing to help and that it respects the customers’ opinions. However, if it is the other way around, the customers will perceive that the employees are not keen to help and that they put in less effort toward solving the problem. In other words, the effort demonstrated by the employees influences how customers view co-recovery.

In general, it is a good idea to proactively involve customers swiftly after a service failure. At the same time, effectiveness of the service recovery efforts also depends on how the customers are involved and how they perceive their own and the employees’ effort in the recovery process. In our study, we make a connection between employees’ initiation, perceived effort, and co-recovery effect. When service recovery is initiated by employees, customers perceive that a company makes a greater effort in service recovery; therefore they view the co-recovery as a fair and positive joint work.

So what can service companies do to make their customers happy if a service fails? Service companies can invite their customers to co-create a feasible solution without costly compensations. Service companies can, without much cost, influence perceived effort in the eyes of the customer by taking the initiative in service recovery when a problem occurs. For example, companies can offer customers a few possible solutions to the problem. Customers appreciate if they are given options for a resolution; it also gives them a stronger perception of fairness about the outcome.

Our research suggests that managers should empower and train their employees, especially frontline employees, to equip them with the knowledge and skills to handle service recovery proactively whenever possible. It is not enough to simply wait for customers to ask for help because the customer will perceive that the company is not exerting the effort. Customer-centric recovery management by proactive employees can increase the effectiveness of recovery and will result not only in happier customers, but also in increased customer repurchase behaviour.

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Yingzi XuDrlinkedin. Yingzi Xu is Senior Lecturer of Marketing at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Her research interests include customer satisfaction, service recovery, and customer switching behaviour in service research. She has published articles in international journals such as Journal of Business Research, Journal of Service Management, Managing Service Quality, and the Service Industries Journal.

Note: All content within this website is the property of Center for Services Leadership. Any use of materials, except for social media sharing, without the prior written consent of Center for Services Leadership is strictly prohibited.

To learn more about Service Recovery, check the online course How to Profit from Service Recovery.

How Customer Participation in B2B Peer-to-Peer Problem Solving Communities Influences the Need for Traditional Customer Service

Bone_SterlingBy Sterling Bone

Can peer-to-peer interactions in a customer support community reduce the need for one-on-one traditional customer support service? New research sponsored by Arizona State’s Center for Services Leadership and published in the Journal of Service Research (JSR) attempts to address this question. Firms that leverage the collective wisdom and knowledge in their customer communities quickly see how promoting peer-to-peer problem-solving can result in greater operational efficiencies – ultimately driving financial outcomes for the firm.

Providing fast and helpful customer support service is critical for all service firms. To address customer problems, firms offer a range of support services providing customer help needed before, during, and after purchase. For business-to-business (B2B) relationships, many companies are increasingly turning to firm hosted collaborative technologies, like virtual peer-to-peer problem solving (P3) communities, to fulfill some of their customer service needs. For many years, the traditional outlet for support or problem solving has been this one-to-one customer support model in which the customer calls a customer service agent to solve a problem or answer a question.

Technological advances have enabled firms to expand their one-on-one support models to use call centers, email, and web-based support. These support models are expensive for the both the firm and customer. Repetitive costs, suppressed knowledge sharing across customer and service representatives, and the delayed resolution for other customers, are some of the limitations with support models. In response to these shortcomings, many firms are turning to firm-hosted collaborative and interactive P3 communities to fulfill the demand for customer service support. As noted by Kristal Ray, Professor at Utah State and one of the authors of the study, “ROI is always an important consideration for technology implementations. By offering the opportunity to lower service costs, social community interactions can provide the economic justification for these investments.

Our research team used longitudinal clickstream and service support behavioral data from 2,542 B2B customers of a Fortune 100 technology firm to test the effect of customer P3 community (posting questions and responding to others), static knowledge search behavior, community log-in frequency, and the breadth of community membership on the customer’s future use of traditional customer support service.

We found that, problem solving activities of helping oneself (posting questions) and helping others (responding to questions) in a peer-to-peer problem solving community were significant predictors and primary drivers of reducing the customer’s use of traditional customer support service, even after controlling for past traditional support usage behavior and community expertise. Our findings demonstrate that virtual peer-to-peer problem-solving communities not only save the firm resources but also give key customers access to timely problem solving information in a manner not previously possible.

While not as large of an effect, the study shows that customer knowledge searching behavior in “static” knowledge management repositories also reduced the use of traditional customer support service. On the other hand, we found that posting questions and using static knowledge is not always better as when customers combined these behaviors their need for traditional customer support increased. Also the more frequently the customers logged into the community and the larger the number of individual product- or service-specific communities they were members in, the greater was their need for traditional customer support service. The findings suggest that such behaviors, e.g., membership in many communities, use of multiple sources to attempt to solve a problem, or logging in to the community more frequently, may be indicative of an individual customer having difficulty solving a problem, or experiencing role overload.

Our research offers new insights for managers aiming to promote increased problem solving activities among their customers in P3 communities. The research results discussed in the JSR article demonstrate how managers can identify the appropriate combination of customer community participation and static knowledge creation to leverage the efficiencies of a support service community. These efficiencies can reduce the need for traditional support that results in reduced support costs and enables support resources to focus on higher value activities. Gaining insight into the types of interactions in the community that are specifically reducing traditional support service can be leveraged to improve the customer problem solving experience. Community specific knowledge can also be utilized as the basis for static knowledge generation to create impactful static knowledge resources that could extend the service request reduction effect. Finally, the study highlights the need for proper training to increase both the efficiency and effectiveness in navigating and using the community. To quote Katherine Lemon, Professor at Boston College and a co-author of the article, “our findings highlight the exciting opportunities firms have to harness customer knowledge, customer community and customer insights to solve other customers’ problems more efficiently and effectively – clearly a win-win for the firm and its customers.

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Sterling A. Bone is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University and serves on the Arizona State University Center for Services Leadership research faculty network.  His research has appeared in notable business journals and has been covered by business press including the Washington Post, Business Week, and Market Watch.

The article How Customer Participation in B2B Peer-to-Peer Problem-Solving Communities Influences the Need for Traditional Customer Service featured in the post was co-authored by Sterling A. Bone, Utah State University, Paul W. Fombelle, Northeastern University, Kristal R. Ray, Utah State University, Katherine N. Lemon, Boston College. It is available ahead of print at Journal of Service Research website. Journal of Service Research is the world’s leading service research journal that features articles by service experts from both academia and business world.

Note: All content within this website is the property of Center for Services Leadership. Any use of materials, except for social media sharing, without the prior written consent of Center for Services Leadership is strictly prohibited.

Development of New B2B Solutions: Results of a Benchmarking Survey

Earlier this year Solutions Insights Inc. conducted a benchmarking survey designed to better understand the issues that B2B companies face in developing new solutions. The survey explored the following questions:

•    Current importance and relevance of solutions
•    Identification of the stakeholders who are involved
•    Key processes required
•    The level of process standardization
•    General challenges that solutions developers face

The Center for Services Leadership and the Institute for the Study of Business Management at Penn State invited their professional network of members and followers to take part in the survey. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey. The slideshow presents the highlights of the survey findings courtesy of Solutions Insights Inc.