Use and Non-Use of Customer Information in Service Development: A Report from the Field

  • Koskull von, Catharina, (Project manager, academic)

Project: Externally funded project

Project Details


Overall there is a lack of research on service development, in particular the role of customer information in service development. Studies that have focused on customer information in a development context have studied aspects primarily related to acquisition of customer information, rather than the actual use of it. To fill this gap the main purpose of the dissertation was to create a better understanding of use of customer information in a service development context. In addition, with use as a starting point for the investigation, the source of the information, the time and means of the acquisition were explored. The research questions that the current study set out to answer were: How is customer information used in service development? From where is the customer information acquired? When is customer information acquired? How is customer information acquired? Based on a literature study it was concluded that customer information in development has rarely been the exclusive focus for investigation. Studies that have focused on customer information investigated primarily acquisition of customer information rather than use (e.g. Alam, 2002; Callahan and Lasry, 2004; Kaulio, 1998; Lagrosen, 2005; Lundkvist and Yakhlef, 2004; Magnusson, 2003; Magnusson et al., 2003; Matthing, 2004; Neale and Corkindale, 1998; Tollin, 2002). Use of customer information appears to have been taken for granted by authors as something that logically follows upon the acquisition. Few of the studies made a clear distinction between acquisition and use of customer information. In addition, it was concluded that the majority of the studies have focused on the customer as the primary provider of customer information. Finally, it was concluded that most studies suggest that customer information is acquired through formal means and that the acquisition takes place within the time frame of the development process (usually in the beginning). In regards to how customer information was used in the development the findings showed that customer information was immediately used and almost postponed, but still used. Four types of non-use of customer information were also identified. Customer information was immediately not used, almost used, the use was postponed for future development and customer information was repeatedly considered and planned to be acquired, but the plans were never realised and thus the use stayed in a potential mode. The customer information that was subject to the use and non-use came from three main sources: the explicit source of the customer, the developers themselves created customer information through speculative discussions and in some situations the source was difficult to trace as the information already existed in an implicit, taken for granted kind of way. The information that was subject to the different types of use/non-use had been acquired previously before the development process started. It was also currently acquired at different stages during the development process. It was also potentially acquired as it repeatedly was planned to be acquired. The customer information was acquried by formal means from the customer and the front line personnel. It was also informally acquired from the front line personnel and consultants.
Effective start/end date01.01.200214.08.2009