Key Skills for Crafting Customer Solutions Within an Ecosystem: A Theories-in-Use Perspective



Date of this version


Document Type



customer solutions, ecosystem, value-in-use, service, discovery oriented


A growing body of marketing and service research analyzes the processes inherent in the creation of customer solutions. This work is increasingly important as vendors and customers alike strive to differentiate themselves from competitors. However, research is often limited because data do not take into consideration the system of the customer’s stakeholders. The present study is an expansive discovery-oriented, theories-in-use inquiry consisting of 117 depth interviews across 59 key account service evaluations. Study results are contextualized within the system of stakeholders involved in the solution development and implementation process termed ecosystem. Working from the understanding that customers consist of sets of interrelated stakeholders, the authors identify key skills for crafting customer solutions within an ecosystem. The findings advance the marketing service field by providing a rich lens by which to conceive of solutions development and implementation, enhancing the ability to understand and design customer solutions.

Published in

Journal of Service Research

Citation/Other Information

19(2), 174-191