The Service Innovation Alliance News

The Service Innovation Alliance News

Overview     Our Experts     Our Research     Our Projects     Our Programs    News


International Visiting Professor Ruth N. Bolton joins UQBS in March 2019

International Visiting Professor Ruth N. Bolton from the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University will join UQBS in March 2019.
Ruth is Professor of Marketing at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.

She studies how organisations can improve business performance over time by creating, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers. Her recent research has focused on the customer experience, multi-channel management and high technology, interactive services in global business-to-business markets.

Professor Bolton often conducts her research in partnership with businesses such as the Marriott Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Coherent Inc., The Cooperators, and Schneider National Inc.
She also spent eight years with Verizon, working on projects in the telecommunications and information services industries.

Ruth has published articles in the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Service Research, Management Science, Marketing Science, and other leading journals.
She received her B.Comm., with honours, from Queen's University (Canada), and her M.Sc. and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University. She has also participated in executive education programs around the world.

Professor Bolton previously held academic positions at Vanderbilt University, the University of Oklahoma, Harvard University, University of Maryland, and the University of Alberta, and served as 2009-11 Executive Director of the Marketing Science Institute.

She received the 2016 American Marketing Association / Irwin / McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator Award, the 2007 Christopher Lovelock Career Contributions to Services Award and the Routledge – Taylor & Francis / SMA Distinguished Scholar Award. Awarded to only a select few marketing academics, these awards recognise distinguished service and sustained outstanding contributions to the field of marketing.

Ruth served as editor of the Journal of Marketing (2002-2005) and Area Editor of the Journal of Marketing Research (2005-2007), as well as serving on the Editorial Review Boards of other leading marketing journals.
Professor Bolton has also served on the Board of Trustees of the Marketing Science Institute and the Board of Directors of the American Marketing Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sheth Foundation as Vice-President.

Leading researchers to join the Service Innovation Alliance in 2019

Three leading researchers will join the Service Innovation Alliance Interdisciplinary Research Theme in 2019. Associate Professor Tim Kastelle and Dr Lily Cheung joined the group from January 2019, and Dr Christoph Breidbach will be officially joining from July 2019.

Associate Professor Tim Kastelle

Associate Professor Tim Kastelle’s research, teaching and engagement work are all based on his study of innovation management.

Tim has published widely in the leading innovation journals. He is deeply committed to translating research into practice. He writes a well-regarded innovation blog for managers and he has worked extensively with a wide range of organisations. He has also worked closely with the CSIRO to build the national research commercialisation program ON Prime (

Dr Kastelle graduated from Princeton University with a degree in economics, and completed his MBA and PhD at UQ.

Tim has worked in marketing and management positions in a variety of industries including radio, office equipment, industrial chemicals, higher education and software, and these experiences inform both his research and his teaching.

He is currently the MBA Director for the UQ Business School, and runs the School’s collaborations with the Wharton and Fudan Business Schools.

Dr Lilliemay (Lily) Cheung

Dr Lilliemay (Lily) Cheung is a Senior Research Fellow in the UQ Business School. Her thesis addresses how resource integration in social networks improves social health and wellbeing following natural disasters.

Lily is passionate about understanding how service systems can support individuals, communities and social enterprises to create change.

Her research interests include transformative service research, service systems, value co-creation, resilience and wellbeing.

Prior to her academic career Lily provided marketing communication expertise to healthcare organisations including Queensland Health, Diabetes Australia and The National Heart Foundation.

Her work is published in leading peer-reviewed journals, including Journal of Service Marketing, Journal of Service Management, Marketing Theory, and the Medical Journal of Australia.

Dr Christoph Breidbach – (joining UQ Business School from July 2019 onwards)

Dr Christoph Breidbach will officially join UQ Business School in July, coming from The University of Melbourne's School of Computing and Information Systems.

He previously held positions at University of California Merced, and was a visiting researcher at IBM’s Almaden Research Center.

His empirical and conceptual research addresses the fundamental question of how information technology transforms service ecosystems, and is positioned at the intersection of the Business Information Systems and Service Science disciplines.

Dr Breidbach’s publications consistently appear in leading journals like the Journal of Service Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Managing Service Quality, Journal of Service Theory and Practice, Service Science, as well as the ICIS, ECIS, ACIS and HICSS Proceedings.

He serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Service Research, Journal of Service Theory and Practice, as well as the Journal of Business Research, and is president of the special interest group Services at the Association of Information Systems.

Professor McColl-Kennedy on Gaining Customer Experience Insights that Matter

Customer experience is central to marketing. Providing a meaningful customer experience is viewed as essential to achieving competitive advantage and satisfied customers. Organisations that carefully manage the customer experience reap rewards such as increased customer satisfaction, revenue growth, increased customer loyalty and greater employee satisfaction. But to date, knowing what to measure and how to gain rich insights that matter through multiple data sources, especially what to do with open-ended feedback has not been clear. 

The first empirical study of customer experience, published in the February 2019 issue of the Journal of Service Research and conducted by the Service Innovation Alliance’s Co-Lead, Professor Janet R. McColl-Kennedy, with international colleagues Dr. Mohamed Zaki, Professor Katherine N. Lemon and Dr Florian Urmetzer and Professor Andy Neely shows that rich feedback can be used to identify previously unrecognized, critical touchpoints in the customer experience and to take specific actions to strengthen the customer experience, thereby enhancing revenue growth, customer loyalty and employee and customer satisfaction.

Often, open-ended feedback that firms receive is ignored, or simply categorized broadly as a complaint or a compliment. The authors show that this rich feedback can be used to identify previously unrecognized, critical touchpoints in the customer experience. 

“Touchpoints to be improved should be mapped out from the customer’s perspective, not solely from the firm’s perspective,” notes Professor Janet McColl-Kennedy, lead author of the study. “Firms need richer models to be able to identify key pain points from the customer’s perspective, and then map these onto specific root causes that represent key opportunities for improvement of the customer experience from the firm’s perspective”, says Janet.

McColl-Kennedy, Zaki, Lemon, Urmetzer and Neely develop a conceptual framework that incorporates customer touchpoints, value creation elements, emotions and cognitive responses, and then apply the framework, using advanced text mining techniques, to two years of customer feedback in a complex B2B heavy asset service setting.  Their technique enables a firm to (1) identify critical touchpoints from the customer’s perspective – including potentially new touchpoints that had been previously unknown, (2) understand what specifically matters to the customer about each touchpoint, (3) map each touchpoint to its root cause, i.e., the specific firm action or strategy that influences the touchpoint, (4) take specific actions to improve the touchpoint and the overall customer experience (CX).

Large amounts of data, including textual data such as verbatim comments from customers, are now generated at many touchpoints in the customer journey. Text mining is well suited to extract customer insights from unstructured comments and customer satisfaction data. However, text mining is not yet mainstream in marketing. Text mining and other emerging technologies offer potentially better ways to measure and manage customer experience. In their model, the authors connect qualitative data and quantitative data with a text analytics approach. The authors identify seven root causes for the complex B2B service. Each of these represent opportunities for improving the CX. 

They seven root causes are: capability, communication, parts, price value, process adherence, quality and service capacity.  The model enables firms to identify what specifically is influencing and responsible for each root cause.  For example, the “parts” root cause will have aspects of resources (the firm’s online parts system), activities (customers picking up and collecting parts), context (availability on weekend), interactions (customers engaging with employees to get the parts), and customer role (active or passive).

With this depth of understanding of each root cause, firms can easily determine what needs to be changed to improve the customer experience. The model is also able to uncover customers who are at risk of leaving the firm, even customers who give high satisfaction scores (or NPS scores). Customers with high satisfaction scores would be seen by the firm as “satisfied”, or those with high NPS scores would be deemed “very likely to recommend”, and therefore not identified by the firm as requiring attention; yet the authors find that these customers are clearly voicing their concerns in the comments.

One supposedly satisfied customer lamented, “I would like someone from [participant company] to read the comments in this survey and come out and inspect the machine and discuss it because I'd asked for an extended warranty on the machine because it wasn't right for several months”.

The authors uncover an entire “hidden” segment of supposedly highly satisfied customers who voice significant concerns. Their analysis shows that 42% of customers who give scores of 9.5 and above (out of 10) actually complain, as do many who give scores between 7 and 9.4 (44%). Complaints made by customers who gave satisfaction scores of 7 or greater were often ignored, despite these customers being worth over $250,000 on average and accounting for a significant portion of sales. Sales figures shows that when these customers’ concerns were not addressed sales went down significantly.

For instance, one such “satisfied” customer reduced its purchases from over $200,000 to less than $2000. The key insight? Ignoring the small details that can be identified through the authors’ text analytics model can mean big losses for firms. The authors’ approach enables firms to link customer-centric CX elements from the conceptual framework (identified as potential pain points) to specific firm functions and jobs (identified as root causes) to take specific actions to strengthen the customer experience. Although this may sound complex, the article provides a step-by-step guide for implementing the approach highlighting what really matters to customers and what actions are needed by managers. Customer experience has become a central focus of business excellence.

Providing a meaningful customer experience is viewed as being essential to achieving competitive advantage and satisfied customers. Organizations that carefully manage the customer experience reap rewards including increased customer satisfaction, increased revenue and greater employee satisfaction.

The UQ Business School Research Laboratory

Rapid technological advancements are not only changing the way that services industries conduct their business, technology is also providing significant opportunities for researchers. The Service Innovation Alliance Research Team has exclusive access to the UQ Business School Research Laboratory. Administered by SIA team member Dr Gabby Walters, the research laboratory allows us to conduct innovative and quality research across multiple fields relevant to the service sectors as opposed to (or in addition to) traditional survey methods. Our lab equipment and potential applications include:

Eye-Tracking Technology which identifies how people interact with stimuli, the features that capture viewers’ attention and how they navigate their way around the stimuli.

Psycho-physiological measures of emotion including Skin Conductance Measures; Facial Electromyography; Heart Rate Monitor and Facial Emotions Recognition software which allows us to measure the impact of certain events, scenarios and other forms of stimuli on people’s emotions. This equipment captures the intensity of real time emotions and determine the nature of emotion the participant is experiencing. This data can be collected within a lab setting or in the field.

Electroencephalogram or EEG: this apparatus allows researchers to capture, visualise and export raw EEG signals and frontal lobe asymmetry output. This data can allow for the assessment of motivation, engagement, relaxation, excitement, interest (avoid vs approach) and stress and is highly useful for the study of actual versus intended behaviour and cognitive workload.

Virtual Reality Technology. Our VR technology can immerse respondents into simulated environments that represent a variety of contexts or situations. This allows us to assess likely responses to such scenarios in a controlled lab setting and minimizes the risk of interference from other variables or activities that may occur if the research were to be undertaken in the field.

Our lab is equipped with iMotions technology which is the only software in the world that can synchronise data collected from all of the above devices. This enables the analysis of emotive and cognitive responses to multiple scenarios across many contexts.

Related Content

Can't find what you are looking for? Search this site.