A design theory approach to building strategic network-based Customer service systems

M. Kathryn Brohman, Gabriele Piccoli, Patrick Martin, Farhana Zulkernine, A. Parasuraman, Richard T. Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Customer service is a key component of a firm's value proposition and a fundamental driver of differentiation and competitive advantage in nearly every industry. Moreover, the relentless coevolution of service opportunities with novel and more powerful information technologies has made this area exciting for academic researchers who can contribute to shaping the design and management of future customer service systems. We engage in interdisciplinary research-across information systems, marketing, and computer science-in order to contribute to the service design and service management literature. Grounded in the design-science perspective, our study leverages marketing theory on the service-dominant logic and recent findings pertaining to the evolution of customer service systems. Our theorizing culminates with the articulation of four design principles. These design principles underlie the emerging class of customer service systems that, we believe, will enable firms to better compete in an environment characterized by an increase in customer centricity and in customers' ability to selfserve and dynamically assemble the components of solutions that fit their needs. In this environment, customers retain control over their transactional data, as well as the timing and mode of their interactions with firms, as they increasingly gravitate toward integrated complete customer solutions rather than single products or services. Guided by these design principles, we iterated through, and evaluated, two instantiations of the class of systems we propose, before outlining implications and directions for further cross-disciplinary scholarly research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-430
Number of pages28
JournalDecision Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • And web services
  • Co-creation of value
  • Customer service management
  • Design theory
  • E-business
  • E-services
  • Network completeness
  • Service broker
  • Service-dominant logic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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