Exploring Customer Experiences with Smart Self-service: A Customer Ecosystem Approach

Michaela Lipkin

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandlingSamling av artiklar


As megatrends shape our society and markets, the business landscape is also changing fast. Technological innovations, demographic movements and the rise of the individual are disrupting the ways in which businesses offer service, but also how customers serve themselves. Whereas traditional service provision primarily occurred in the firm’s environment on the firm’s terms, today’s customers often select and experience offerings in their own ecosystems beyond the firm’s visibility and control. For firms to be competitive and research to be relevant, it has never been as important to understand what goes on in this customer ecosystem, and how it shapes the customer’s experiences with offerings.

Even though marketers and researchers increasingly acknowledge the importance of the customer and her context, most studies have focused on exploring how firms create customer experiences during isolated touch points, or how customers co-create experiences in service ecosystems. This thesis argues that such studies only marginally reflect issues related to customers in their own settings. Instead of focusing on the firm’s actions or service interactions, we should study how customers involve providers in their own ecosystems. This customer-dominant lens expands the view of the customer and helps to illuminate what goes on beyond the firm yet plays a key role in how offerings resonate with customers.

This thesis aims to identify how customers’ ecosystems shape customers’ experiences with smart self-service. The thesis includes three studies utilizing various methods and qualitative data from a smart self-service context.

The collective findings reveal how the customer’s ecosystem plays a key role in shaping her experiences with smart self-service, through its actors and actor constellations. The first study identifies and clarifies different individual-level perspectives and contextual lenses on customer experience formation. The sense-making-based perspective and customer-ecosystem lens emerge as especially suited to generate a deeper understanding of experiences in customers’ ecosystems. The second study conceptualizes and illustrates empirically how actors within and beyond the focal offering – in various constellations – shape customer experiences. The third study introduces a smart self-service typology and classification.

This thesis contributes to the service and marketing literature by conceptualizing the elements of customer experience formation, customer ecosystems and customer self-service devices. Managers should aim to locate, monitor and join the customer’s life to better understand how experiences emerge in the customer ecosystem. Such insights can be used to predict long-term customer behavior and design offerings that become embedded in customers’ lives.
KvalifikationDoktor i filosofi
  • Holmlund-Rytkönen, Maria, Examenshandledare
  • Heinonen, Kristina, Thesis supervisor
Tryckta ISBN978-952-232-417-7
Elektroniska ISBN978-952-232-418-4
StatusPublicerad - 2020
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)


  • 512 Företagsekonomi


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