An empirical investigation of unsolicited customer input as a driver of service innovation

Kakkad, Amitkumar (2012) An empirical investigation of unsolicited customer input as a driver of service innovation. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School.

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of Unsolicited Customer Input as a potential driver of Service Innovation by studying the process through which firms can derive innovation generating insights from Unsolicited Customer Input, and the external as well as the internal factors that may affect such a process. Three research questions are put forward and addressed: (1) How do firms leverage Unsolicited Customer Input as a source of ideas for Service Innovation? (2) What are the factors that impact a firm's ability to do so? (3) What impact does the use of Unsolicited Customer Input in New Service Development (NSD) have on the NSD outcomes such as NSD Speed, NSD Success, and the Type of innovation pursued? First, extant literature on service innovation and NSD that focuses on customer involvement in service innovation is reviewed and an initial set of propositions is formulated. These propositions are refined and extended through a case-based empirical investigation based on data collected from eight service firms. The case data identifies specific processes and factors that distinguish the firms that are able to leverage the Unsolicited Customer Input in NSD from those firms that are unable to do so. These include operational processes designed to facilitate the receipt, capture, analysis, and dissemination of customer input across the firm, and the processes that facilitate the utilization of these customer-input-driven insights in NSD activities. A revised conceptual framework is developed, and then, the propositions are tested through a multi-respondent survey of service firms conducted specifically for this thesis. The results show a strong link between the operational processes designed to facilitate receipt, capture, analysis, and dissemination of customer input across the firm, including customer and service focus, slack available to firm employees, formal process, training, and incentives for firm employees, incentives for the customers to provide inputs to the firm, tolerance of negative information, and the firm's ability to obtain innovation-driving insights from the Unsolicited Customer Input. It also shows a strong, positive impact of the utilization of Unsolicited Customer Input in NSD on the nature, speed, and success of the firm's innovation efforts. Ability to come up with new services that have a greater chance of success in the marketplace is the key to a firm's survival in today's fast-paced and highly competitive market environment. Although the findings of this research need to be applied with caution given the limitations associated with the research methodologies used - case studies and survey, this research sheds light on the relatively unexplored and potently important role of Unsolicited Customer Input in driving service innovation, and can serve as a foundation for future research in this area. The final chapter of this dissertation describes the broad conclusions, limitations, and opportunities for future research with the hope that the research presented here will further the interest in these lines of inquiry, and lead to a stream of new research that further improves our understanding of service innovation and of the ways in which customer input can help service firms innovate.

More Details

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Management Science and Operations
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2022 16:25
Date of first compliant deposit: 10 Feb 2022
Subjects: Service quality
Service industries
Technological innovation
Theses
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 02:16
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/2297
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