Customer Participation in Service Delivery Essay

2187 Words 9 Pages
Customer Participation in Service Delivery


Service delivery is an interactive and dynamic process which involves participation between the service organization, the service provider and the customer. According to Lovelock and Young (1979), customer participation can raise organizational productivity and efficiency and improve service performance. The principle behind this notion is that customers can fulfill some of the employees current functions thereby reducing the service providers perceived workloads. There are five main characteristics (participation, intangibility, heterogeneity, simultaneity and perishability) of the process which are unique to service delivery and
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This is particular accurate in high interaction service encounters in which customer participation plays a significant role in the quality and satisfaction that can be gained (Finch, 1995). This principle of simultaneity means a service organization cannot “store reserve” services to absorb fluctuations in demand (Fitzsimmons, 2004). Perishability is also related to an organizations inability to store services as once the opportunity to provide a service has passed, it cannot be recovered. An example of this would be an hour without a patient for a massage therapist or an empty seat on an ocean cruise. Management must address this issue in a service setting by ensuring that the organization is operating at full capacity regardless of the fluctuations in consumer demand (Youngdahl, 2002).

The third unique characteristic of service delivery is the notion of intangibility of a service. Unlike goods, services are concepts and ideas and cannot be legally protected (e.g. patented). The onus is on the organization to preempt competitor’s movements and adapt accordingly. The intangibility of a service is relevant as it can impact the design of a service delivery process. The fourth characteristic, heterogeneity, is essentially the combination of the intangible nature of services and customer

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