Co-creating valuable customer experience: Customer participation in service design

Szu-Hsin Wu, Yuhui Gao

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Value co-creation (VCC) refers to a joint collaboration process which results in shared outcomes between customers and service providers (Vargo and Lusch, 2004). The process requires customers’ active participation in service interactions (Grönroos and Voima, 2013) and the outcomes, i.e., customer value determination, heavily rely on co-created customer experience (CX) during service interactions (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004; Vargo and Lusch, 2004). With increasing customer participation in service production and consumption processes (e.g., personalised Starbucks coffee, self-check-in), customers are co-creators taking increasing control over VCC (MSI, 2016). Such increasing control and the complexity of CX have raised challenges of CX management. Service design investigates influential factors of CX and aims to holistically orchestrate service processes and elements that create positive CX through learning from and collaborating with key stakeholders (e.g., customers, service staff; Teixeira et al., 2012). Scholars have also stressed the importance of understanding CX for VCC and enhancing CX through service design (Ostrom et al., 2015).
Memorable service experience cannot be sold ‘to’ customers, but needs to be co-created ‘with’ them (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004). This study conceptually investigates three research questions focusing on VCC between customers and service providers. Following a VCC perspective, value and CX are co-created during service interactions. What are the key CX co-creation dimensions that affect VCC? Particularly, service interactions could also have a negative impact (e.g., disappointed CX) when customers and service providers do not share similar views (Echeverri and Skålén, 2011). How to integrate service design in the VCC process that creates positive CX? Furthermore, customers are more likely to devote additional resources (e.g., information) or participate in various service interactions when they have positive attitude towards a service provider (Xie et al., 2008). How to establish a co-creative relationship that contributes to VCC?
Based on a synthesis of the existing literature of service design, CX and VCC, this study proposes a three-dimensional VCC framework (i.e., phenomena, process and outcomes) which integrates service design concept in CX co-creation. The conceptual framework provides a better understanding of VCC as processes and outcomes through mapping co-creation mechanisms during the entire customer journey. The conceptual integration indicates that service design not only investigates influential factors of CX from customers’ perspective but also enables customer - service provider interactions. The integration of service design and various co-creation mechanisms demonstrates various opportunities to establish a co-creative relationship between customers and service providers. Positive CX and co-creative relationship improve customer engagement with a service provider that potentially leads to a positive VCC loop. The study encourages service providers to understand their own strength, customer capabilities and available resources between both customers and service providers in order to facilitate VCC. Finally, the study highlights potential approaches to validate the conceptual framework and points out future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventGlobal Conference on Creating Value - University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 May 201824 May 2018


ConferenceGlobal Conference on Creating Value
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • customer experience
  • value co-creation
  • service design
  • customer engagement


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