Saturday, December 08, 2007

Service intermediaries

Intermediaries can act as service providers offering exchange services to two types of users: customers and suppliers. However, intermediaries do not always follow an explicit service strategy. What does following a service strategy entail and what chances does it offer to intermediaries to create impact?

Intermediaries can specialize in offering added value services to customers and thereby also serving suppliers that are not willing or able to interact with customers in a service-oriented way. According to Grönroos a service perspective requires a total service offering and focusing on the value-in-use for the service users with an emphasis on long-term relationships.

Grönroos also describes three ways to increase the service impact in user relationships:
1) Developing new services to the user
2) Activating existing but hidden services or service elements
3) Turning good components into service elements
Grönroos also emphasizes that too often only the first possibility is taken into account.

To be a ‘true’ service provider to both customers and suppliers, a service approach to both types of users is required. An alternative would be to focus the service approach on either customers or suppliers.

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