Are you really listening to what your customers are saying? Making use of customer feedback in the era of servitization and digitalization
As digitalization and servitization are transforming the customer offering, and as customers’ wishes and needs are growing increasingly complex, the processes related to understanding how customers perceive the offering need to adapt accordingly. Thus, the customer feedback channels and content are impacted, creating challenges and opportunities for firms in both service and manufacturing industries. Offering digitally connected services alters the customer- firm interface, while also opening up new feedback channels into the firm. Moreover, since customer requirements are becoming more complex and market changes are occurring at an increasing rate, firms need to possess processes for gathering and utilizing customer feedback in general, and customer satisfaction information in particular. This thesis sets out to explore the use of customer feedback in the era of servitization and digitalization, in order to identify the prerequisites needed to use customer feedback for service improvements.
The thesis builds on two qualitative studies, which operationalize the purpose through the lens of customer-initiated feedback, and firm-initiated feedback. The first study explores the processes needed to understand and react upon customer-initiated feedback of digitally connected services. The second study explores the customer satisfaction information usage process, and bridges this process with the firms’ service improvement processes through the use of dynamic capabilities. The findings of the thesis add to the emerging research field residing in the intersection of servitization and digitalization research, through its exploration of challenges related to using customer-initiated feedback of digitally connected services and the impact these have on the firm’s established quality improvement processes. Furthermore, the thesis investigates how organizational capabilities and organizational learning can support the use of customer feedback.