Creating Effective Customer Solutions: A Process-Oriented Perspective

Creating Effective Customer Solutions: A Process-Oriented Perspective

Ferdinand Burianek (TUM Business School, Germany), Sebastian Bonnemeier (TUM Business School, Germany) and Ralf Reichwald (Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3894-5.ch002
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Abstract

Global competition and declining margins have made enterprises in diverse industries increasingly aware that assuring low cost as well as high product performance and quality is no longer sufficient for long-term success. Integrating products and services into customized solutions can help firms to gain competitive advantage. Based on 11 in-depth interviews with managers from solution providers and an exploratory survey with 45 solution providers, this paper derives a value creation process as well as a set of critical activities and pitfalls within each step. Selling solutions requires relational processes between customer and supplier comprising analysis/consulting, design/configuration, implementation/delivery, and support/operation. To better understand the relational process, this perspective was adopted on creating solutions in order to identify crucial routines and activities. Two main capabilities within this process can be identified: customer interaction and project management. Both capabilities are required in order to deliver more effective as well as efficient solutions.
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2. The Solution Concept

This chapter provides a general understanding of the concept of customer solutions. We define the term solution and discuss specific characteristics and implications of solution selling.

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