A Structured Test Approach for Service Concepts

A Structured Test Approach for Service Concepts

Thomas Burger (Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, Germany), Kwang-Jae Kim (Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), South Korea) and Thomas Meiren (Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1583-0.ch017
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Abstract

To assure new services attain a certain level of quality, services should be developed and tested systematically like products or software. In practice, this is rarely the case, especially in regards to the testing of service concepts due to appropriate solutions, processes, and methodology seem to be missing. In this paper, the authors propose an approach to how service testing can be realized in practice and present supporting processes, methods, and technologies for testing services in laboratory environments.
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Testing Of Services

When looking at processes for new service development, it can be observed that models discussed in the literature mostly include elements such as opportunity identification (e.g., idea generation and evaluation), customer understanding (e.g., requirements collection), concept development (e.g., definition of service levels, processes and resources), refinement and implementation (e.g., training, market launch) (Kim & Meiren, 2010). It becomes obvious, that only a few models include special steps for testing new services before their market introduction and a study among 202 German companies reveals that concept development is typically the most time-consuming activity and only less than 15 percent of developing time is spent for testing new services (Meiren, 2010). This is remarkable in view of the fact that systematic testing offers a good opportunity to integrate a last feedback of stakeholders (customers, management, employees, etc.) and to make important final adjustments before going public with new services.

As in product or software development, an extensive test phase could be seen as a relevant factor for market success in service development. A proficient development process which ensures proper adjustments before market launching is considered as one of the major success factors in new service development (Jimenez et al., 2006). Moreover, it is well known that the costs associated with testing and adjustment after market launching is much higher than those before market launching. In the case of physical products, the former is estimated to be about one hundred times higher than the latter (Evans & Lindsay, 1993).

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