Ruth N. Bolton, Marketing Science Institute
Shruti Saxena-Iyer, Arizona State University

This article briefly reviews marketers’ current knowledge about interactive services. It defines interactive services as services that have some form of customer–firm interaction in an environment characterized by any level of technology (i.e., a high or low technology environment). Customers may interact with the firm’s physical elements (including technology), processes and people in both service creation and delivery.

Consequently, customer participation directly influences service quality and behavioral outcomes (e.g., service usage, repeat purchase behavior and word-of-mouth)—as well as firm outcomes (efficiency, revenues and profits). Hence, a recurring theme throughout our article is that the nature of customer participation is critically important for the effective creation and delivery of interactive services. The article identifies key research areas and their relevance to managerial practice. This analysis yields a set of research questions that provides an agenda for future research.


The paper appeared in Journal of Interactive Marketing 2009 (23), pg 91-104.