Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Hanken School of Economics Working Papers, Hanken School of Economics

No 536:
Customer Needing - Conceptualising Industrial Service from a Customer Perspective

Tore Strandvik (), Maria Holmlund () and Bo Edvardsson ()

Abstract: Views on industrial service have conceptually progressed from the output of the providerís production process to the result of an interaction process in which the customer also is involved. Although there are attempts to be customer-oriented, especially when the focus is on solutions, an industrial companyís offering combining goods and services is inherently seller-oriented. There is, however, a need to go beyond the current literature and company practices. We propose that what is needed is a genuinely customer-based parallel concept to offering that takes the customerís view and put forward a new concept labelled customer needing. A needing is based on the customerís mental model of their business and strategies which will affect priorities, decisions, and actions. A needing can be modelled as a configuration of three dimensions containing six functions that create realised value for the customer. These dimensions and functions can be used to describe needings which represent starting points for sellersí creation of successful offerings. When offerings match needings over time the seller should have the potential to form and sustain successful buyer relationships.

Keywords: industrial service; customer needing; realised value; customer understanding; (follow links to similar papers)

14 pages, July 4, 2008

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