The value perception gap between customers and sellers : A case study on aftersales services within maritime industry
Abstract: Increased competition and lower margins on products cause many traditional manufacturing companies to resort to services to increase revenues and differentiate themselves from competitors. A challenge manufacturing companies and their sellers face within this change lie within understanding what their customers value in the contexts of service and how to convey these values into superior value propositions. This research intends to increase understanding in what the difference is in the perception of value between sellers and their customers and what the implications for these differences are. This is done by the means of a case study with a setting in the maritime industry. Empirical data was collected through eight interviews, of which four was with the case company’s sellers, three was with customers to the case company and one was with an external industrial service manager. From the interviews the following conclusions could be drawn. Firstly, the findings indicate that the sellers and the customers had similar perception of what value is, where both sides emphasized on the importance of economical and functional values. Secondly, the findings indicate that the implication of the differences on the perception of value lies in that the sellers mostly focuses on the value that the services could provide to the customers while the customers regarded the value in relation to sacrifices. An implication of this is that the sellers might believe that the customers gain more value from their services than the customers believes they do. This misperception of customer perceived value could lead to challenges in selling services and the loss of customers to competitors that offers a better trade-off between benefits and sacrifices.
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