Communication channel consideration for in-home services: the moderating role of customer participation

Marcel van Birgelen, Benedict G.C. Dellaert, Ko de Ruyter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose– This paper aims to examine communication channels for in‐home service provision. In particular, it aims to focus on the joint effect of two converging trends: the increase of in‐home services involving high degrees of customer participation;and the extension of the number of channels that service firms use to communicate with customers. It seeks to assess which benefits customers desire of communication channels across in‐home service production formats and how these benefit desires determine their communication channel consideration for in‐home services.
Design/methodology/approach– Based on a literature review a conceptual framework was constructed. Using the association pattern technique (APT), a survey of 383 customers of a Dutch energy company was carried out. The APT enabled the authors to quantify the relationship between participative in‐home service provision situations, desired communication channel benefits, and communication channel consideration.
Findings– Results show that customers focus more strongly on functionally‐ and economically‐oriented communication channel benefits in high customer participation service formats. In contrast, socially‐oriented communication channel benefits seem more appropriate when low customer participation in the provision of in‐home services is involved. The match between benefits desired by the customer and benefits provided by a communication channel is identified as a central mechanism behind communication channel consideration for in‐home services. Furthermore, evidence is found for customer heterogeneity in desired communication channel benefits and channel consideration, based on age, education, and past channel usage.
Originality/value– This paper contributes to the multichannel knowledge base by hypothesizing and demonstrating how specific benefit desires arise from allowing/requiring customers to participate in in‐home service provision. The study also provides valuable insight into the mechanism behind communication channel consideration by customers during in‐home service provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-252
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Service Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication channel consideration
  • Communication systems (buildings)
  • Consumer behaviour
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Customer participation
  • In-home services
  • Multichannel
  • Service benefits

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