Customer Integration in Service Innovation: An Exploratory Study

Tim Straub, Marc Kohler, Peter Hottum, Volker Arrass, Dennis Welter


Prominent industry projects, as well as an extensive literature suggest the importance of customer integration for companies’ innovation success. This appears to be especially true for service firms, which inherently build on customer interaction. Despite this appreciation of the approach, there are comparably few empirical analyses of the positive and negative effects of customer integration. In this exploratory study, we build on established customer role concepts to study the status quo of customer integration in industry, as well as reservations against the roles and negative experiences from customer integration projects. The study reveals a gap between reservations and actual negative experiences in losing know-how, as well as a positive effect of experience in customer integration on perceived benefits for the company.


customer integration; customer roles; open innovation; service innovation; service management.

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