Service Experience in Customers’ Everyday Contexts: An Investigation of Customers’ Experiences from Using Smartphone Apps

Apramey Dube

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandlingSamling av artiklar


Smartphone apps have become the new universal language through which customers interact with service providers. We are in an app economy in which most everyday service experiences are mediated through apps. The devices that started this revolution, smartphones, have become deeply embedded in the lives of customers with little restrictions on time and place regarding their use. If a reader today pauses to check his or her mobile phone, it is likely to be a smartphone filled with various apps, some of which are used many times daily, whereas others are never used.

Never before has technology facilitated such a close and widely varied availability of service to customers, regardless of time and place. However, extant research remains highly influenced by traditional restraints of time and place in service provision. Specifically, a gap exists in investigating service experiences with an empirical service context that offers wide flexibility of time and space.

To address this research gap, this thesis presents an evolved conceptualisation of service experience derived from customer use of smartphone apps. Apps are conceptualised as service platforms without any time and space constraints and their ubiquitous presence in customers’ everyday lives helps to illustrate the role of the everyday life in influencing service experiences.

The research design employed for this thesis comprised of three studies. In the pilot study, respondents were asked to write auto-narratives of their service experience with a particular smartphone app (BBC World News app). In the main study, 23 semi-structured narrative interviews were conducted in which respondents narrated their service experience with multiple apps in their everyday lives. In addition, a third source of empirical data included collection and analysis of app store descriptions of smartphone apps that respondents experienced.

The findings of this research contribute in expanding the prevailing understanding of service experience. They show that customers’ service experiences include both direct use experiences (that require direct app use), as well as indirect use experiences (that do not require direct app use). Furthermore, customers have service experiences that were intended or unintended by service providers and several unintended experiences are hidden from them. These four types of service experiences form combinations that differ from each other in exhibiting different app download, use and deletion behaviour.

The indirect and unintended components of service experiences highlight an underutilised and scarcely investigated part of holistic service experiences. Although originating from app use, these findings are also applicable to newer service platforms that provide flexibility of time and place and ubiquitous ease-of-use. Therefore, the thesis recommends that service providers must keep in mind the potential indirect and unintended service experiences that customers may have with their service platforms.
KvalifikationDoktor i filosofi
  • Holmlund-Rytkönen, Maria, Handledare
  • Strandvik, Tore, Handledare
  • Helkkula, Anu, Handledare
Tryckta ISBN978-952-232-400-9
Elektroniska ISBN978-952-232-401-6
StatusPublicerad - 2020
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)


  • 512 Företagsekonomi


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