From self-service to super-service: a resource mapping framework for co-creating value by shifting the boundary between provider and customer
Christopher S. Campbell • Paul P. Maglio Mark M. Davis
Received: 17 December 2009 / Accepted: 5 October 2010 / Published online: 4 November 2010 Ó Springer-Verlag 2010
Abstract Improved understanding of how interactions between service providers and customers create value, along with advances in technology, can expand and redeﬁne the roles of both provider and customer in the service delivery process. The traditional boundary between provider and customer can shift toward self service, with the customer performing many of the tasks previously done by the provider, as in self-service check-in at the airport or self-serve salad bars in restaurants. Alternatively, the boundary can shift in the opposite direction—toward what we deﬁne as super service—with the provider performing many tasks previously done by the customer, such as a car rental company that delivers vehicles to customers or automatic bill paying services provided by banks. Why do providers shift this boundary in one direction or the other? Increased competition, changing customer attitudes, and new technologies all contribute to the development of new selfservice and new super-service delivery conﬁgurations. But these new conﬁgurations are only effective when they can create additional value for both provider and customer. In this paper, we introduce a resource mapping framework for shifting the service boundary effectively. This framework allows us to examine the continuum of options from self service to super service from a service systems perspective to identify conditions under which shifting the provider-customer boundary creates value. Keywords Self service Á Super service Á Service design Á Service systems
C. S. Campbell (&) Á P. P. Maglio IBM Research, Almaden, 650 Harry Road, San Jose, CA 95120, USA e-mail: email@example.com P. P. Maglio e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org M. M. Davis Bentley University, 175 Forest St., Waltham, MA 02452, USA e-mail: email@example.com
C. S. Campbell et al.
1 Introduction The traditional boundary between a service provider and its customers used to be clearly deﬁned and remained fairly constant over time. Provider activities and processes were very distinct from those of the customer, with each playing a speciﬁc role in the co-creation of value. For instance, with the servicing of an automobile, customers drop their cars off and providers apply their knowledge and tools to perform required repairs and maintenance. Today, such clear boundaries are becoming increasingly rare. For some services, the boundary has shifted so that the customer now performs many of the tasks previously performed by the provider, which is often referred to as self service. Examples include (a) self-service gas stations, where customers pump their own gas; (b) self-service checkout lanes at supermarkets, where customers scan and bag their own groceries; and (c) selfservice hotels, where check-in and check-out does not require any interaction with hotel personnel. However, for other services, the reverse is true, with the provider now performing many of the tasks previously done by the customer, which we deﬁne as super service. Examples include (a) home-delivery of groceries, where customers no longer have to go to the supermarket, select items off shelves and transport them home; (b) airlines that pick up passengers at their homes or ofﬁces; and (c) in the case of business-to-business activities (B2B), vendor-managed inventories, where suppliers are responsible for keeping their customers’ and distributors’ shelves stocked. We deﬁne self service and super service as a relative change or shift in the service boundary between provider and customer (see Fig. 1). The key to providing