Edited by Jon Sundbo and Marja Toivonen
Chapter 12: Service Innovation as an Experience: Differences between Employee and User Narratives
Anu Helkkula and Mari Holopainen 1 INTRODUCTION Service researchers have repeatedly claimed that companies ought to understand their customers in order to be able to develop services that could create financial benefit. Recent research emphasizes the importance of understanding user experience as a factor that is often crucial to the success of new services amongst users (e.g. Mooy and Robben, 2002; Magnusson et al., 2003; Shih and Venkatesh, 2004; Carù and Cova, 2007; Heiskanen and Repo, 2007). Producing services inevitably entails the perspectives of both the user and the service provider. To date, limited attention has been paid to examining how users and employees – as the representatives of the service provider – experience service innovation. The present chapter seeks to fill this gap in the literature by addressing the question: what is service innovation as employees’ and users’ experience? We apply the phenomenological approach, which emphasizes experience, in the examination of service innovation. Experiences emerge in different kinds of events and individually determined contexts, and narrative methodologies have proved to be a fruitful way to acquire understanding of them. We use Event-Based Narrative Inquiry Technique (EBNIT), which combines narratives with critical events and metaphors to analyse service experiences (Helkkula and Pihlström, 2010). The use of metaphors brings fictitious events into the narratives and thus releases the interviewees from their conventional thinking patterns. Accordingly, whether something is experienced as an innovation is based on subjective experiences, which take place in social contexts (Kelleher and Helkkula, 2010). We have carried out a...
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