Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Hanken School of Economics's online course, Principles of Service Management. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 10 secondsHello, everybody. My name is Jaakko Aspara, and I'm a professor of Marketing at Hanken. And I'm now here with Professor Christian Grönroos. Hello, Christian. Thank you for taking the time for providing us with this course. It's my pleasure. In terms of service in general, before we go into the actual topic videos, I would like to discuss a myth about services in general, and what services are. So you tend to say that any firm can basically be a service firm. So what do you mean by that? Traditionally, service is considered an activity, like a restaurant service, transportation service, consultancy service, anything like that. But at the same time, over the years, there's always been this undercurrent of services more like that.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 secondsIt's more of a way of thinking. And during the past say 15, 20 years, this has surfaced in research. And what I mean with that any firm can be a service firm--

Skip to 1 minute and 12 secondsit depends on how you approach your market and approach your customers. The classical way is to deliver products, or even deliver services, to your customers for the customers' use. And then the customers need to do their best to make use of them-- the product or the service. But there's another option. And that is to not deliver resources-- products or services-- but to help customers. And help the customers'-- let's say relevant processes-- such that the customer's goal achievement is enabled in a way that is valuable to the customer. So there's this difference. Deliver products, deliver service-- let's say, in a general term, deliver resources. Or help customers' processes, such that they can achieve their goals with resources, whatever kind of resources.

Skip to 2 minutes and 11 secondsCould be products, could be service, could be information, could be anything. And this enables, for example, a product manufacturer to become a service firm. It's a matter of the strategic choice-- the way we want strategically to approach our customers. And this is very interesting because this makes service growing. It makes service very interesting for any firm that wants to seize the opportunity to create a new strategy. Would you say that services are actually a synonym for anything physical, or tangible, or intangible that the customer perceives valuable, or helpful, or useful? Yes, one can say that. One could also say that service is a perspective, which enables to-- so to speak-- treat products, services, in principle, in the same way. Right.

Skip to 3 minutes and 6 secondsAnd what would you say, in terms of this course-- or what is the big question of this course-- that the course focuses on in your mind? The big question here is really to emphasise the principles of service and the principles of managing firms from a service point of view. And it's important, because service cannot exist without their users. Products can exist without their users. But then when you take the service perspective, or service logic, you immediately have to put your resources aside and start from the market. Start from the users, the customers, and develop your way of approaching the market for that. You are developing resources, creating networks, to being able to show markets and so forth.

Skip to 3 minutes and 57 secondsAnd this means that a firm that follows this logic and takes this strategic approach, immediately becomes customer-centric. Traditionally, we talk about any firm should be customer-focused, customer-centric. And there's research in market orientation, customer orientation, but there's always been troubles to implement this. And the reason is that the approach been wrong. The approach has always included a product idea. And if the product is there it's in between the firm and the customers. But if you think service, there is nothing in between you and your customer. Welcome to the course.

Skip to 4 minutes and 35 secondsI can promise you-- I can almost promise you, at least-- that after you have taken the course, you will have gained a totally new view of what management can be, what management from a customer-centric perspective can be. Something you didn't think about before. And you will also see how marketing can be developed and implemented in a totally new way, not as a specific function, but as a focus on customers.

Welcome to the course

What is service? How is it possible that any firm can in fact be a service firm despite its line of business?

Professor Emeritus Christian Grönroos, a legend in marketing, will introduce you to how to think about service and how to manage businesses from a service perspective.

Let’s hear his thoughts on what it all means in this interview by Jaakko Aspara, Grönroos Professor of Marketing at Hanken School of Economics.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Principles of Service Management

Hanken School of Economics