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Personal profile

Research profile

I, dr. Jeroen J.L. Schepers, am Associate Professor of Frontline Service and Innovation at the Innovation, Technology Entrepreneurship & Marketing (ITEM) group at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. My research interest is centered on optimizing service performance and customer experience by means of frontline service employees and technology. Also see...

 

 

Research background

The service encounter is where the tyre meets the road. In the interaction with a firm’s employee(s) or technological interface(s), customers shape their attitudes towards the products and services of the firm. As positive customer experiences lead to customer satisfaction and loyalty intentions towards the company, creating high-quality service encounters is crucial for firms to be successful in the market.

Today’s service encounter is increasingly dominated by technology. Especially developments in artificial intelligence enable smart, customized service experiences that are available 24/7. For instance, hotels now implement check-in and luggage service robots, call centers are staffed by voicebots and chatbots, and health care providers empower patients in their treatment with wearable trackers. Although such technologies may provide customers more control over the service, they also dramatically change the relationship between customer and firm. This raises questions such as: Why and when do customers adopt these innovations? Do these technologies benefit or harm the value offered by the firm? How do employees and technology jointly deliver the best service for customers? I focus on answering these and other relevant questions. 

We also see firms embed artificial intelligence in their products and services to make them “smart”. Service engineers now face copying machines that autonomously determine their optimal settings, service support employees operate on digital twins to offer remote maintenance of lithography machines, intelligent warehouse automation offers dashboards that make the customer smarter and more empowered than ever, field service engineers wear hololenses and use augmented reality for faster and more accurate problem diagnosis, and financial advisors now collaborate with artificial intelligence to realize “collaborative intelligence” in offering loans and other products to customers. How does this affect employees? Do they adopt these innovations? How can they use these technologies to perform better services? What are the repercussions for business-to-business relationships? This is another research direction in which I specialize.

Finally, we must realize that these technological innovations are implemented not only to help the customer… in fact, many managers consider service, especially after-sales, to be a costly activity on which they like to save money. However, plentiful face-to-face encounters provide frontline employees with excellent opportunities to gather firsthand customer reactions, create ideas to improve existing products and services, or even to come up with new ones. This requires to see employees and customers as a research & development resource. It also requires a different leadership style, other control and reward structures, and a reallocation of employees across service jobs and customers. The challenge is to balance innovation efforts in the frontline with job productivity/efficiency, and customer satisfaction. How to realize this? Much of my academic work has focused on answering this question.

 

Output

I have published papers on these and other topics in Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, Service Industries Journal, Information & Management, among others. My current h-index is 20; i10-index is 22 (according to Google Scholar, updated July 2021). I am happy to have received multiple best paper awards.

 

Student and PhD supervision

I have supervised over 80 master theses and multiple PhD students whose work has been published in high-quality academic journals. I enjoy coaching young, talented people...

  • to think critically;
  • to conceptually model complex real-world service phenomena;
  • to gather and analyze data in an academically valid and reliable way;
  • to come up with valuable business implications;
  • to write up their story in a concise, convincing, and attractive style;
  • with the ultimate goal: to grow in their personal development and have a successful career within or outside of academia!

If you are interested in to deepen your knowledge in my field of research, and to invest in developing your personal skills to benefit your future career, then contact me for the possibilities for doing a Ph.D. under my supervision. I hold the right towards promotion (ius promovendi) and Eindhoven University of Technology offers attractive opportunities for external Ph.D. candidates ("externe promovendi"). We offer you a customized trajectory of 3 to 5 years in which you can combine the work at your company with a Ph.D. project at the university.

 

Valorization

On request, I also provide in-company workshops and seminars for management teams or employees. Do you as a manager want to know ...

  • how you can better motivate your frontline employees to go the extra mile to satisfy the customer?
  • how you can use information from customers in your new product/service development process?
  • which employees should be assigned to which service jobs to maximize efficiency and/or innovation potential?
  • how service robots could enrich your customer service?
  • how your customers would respond to your artificial intelligence initiatives?

Then contact me for further information! 

 

Experience

  • I hold an MSc and a BSc in Information Management (with honors) from the Faculty of Economics, Tilburg University.
  • I have published papers in top marketing and business journals and presented and contributed to proceedings service and marketing conferences.
  • I am an ad-hoc reviewer for Journal of Service Research, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Product Innovation Management, and Journal of Service Management.
  • I have won several best paper awards in conferences (e.g., AMA Winter Educator's conference) and journals (e.g., Journal of Service Management, Service Industries Journal).
  • I have been nominated multiple times and won the Industria Educational Award for best teacher.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

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