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 managing the service delivery process by means of frontline service employees and technology. In studying such processes, I take an innovation focus. In other words, how should employees be managed to improve products and services? Or: how can new technology interfaces such as robots, self-service options, augmented reality, or wearables, successfully augment or replace service employees?

For example, many managers require their frontline service employees to work efficiently, because after-sales service is considered a cost-only activity. However, these employees are an important, underrated source of knowledge that can be used to improve products and services. Plentiful face-to-face encounters provide these employees with excellent opportunities to gather firsthand customer reactions, create ideas to revise existing routines, and work towards a better market offer accordingly. 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, because not every employee is equally effective in acting as a source of knowledge and innovation. Another challenge is to balance innovation efforts in the frontline with job productivity/efficiency, and customer satisfaction.

As another example, companies are increasingly providing customers with technology-driven service delivery options that provide customers more control over the service, but dramatically change the relationship between customer and firm. For instance, hotels start to implement check-in and luggage robots, supermarkets have "virtual stores" in metro stations where customers scan products with their smartphone to be delivered at their homes later, call centers are replaced by voice and chat bots, and health care providers empower patients in their treatment with wearable trackers. These developments trigger a plethora of questions: Why do users adopt these innovations? Does it benefit or harm the value offered by the firm? What characteristics should a robot have to optimize customer satisfaction (e.g., tone-of-voice, speed of responding, detail in answers)? Which service channel should be employed for which customer segment? Etcetera.


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, Information & Management, among others. My current h-index is 16; i10-index is 16 (according to Google Scholar, updated April 2019).

I have supervised 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.

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

  • ... where in your firm interventions are needed to improve your services and products?
  • ... 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?
  • ... what it takes to create team climates that foster service excellence?
  • ... which employees should be assigned to which service jobs to maximize efficiency and/or innovation potential?

Then contact me for further information!



Paper "Service robot implementation: a theoretical framework and research agenda" accepted for publication in The Service Industries Journal
In October 2019, the paper "Service robot implementation: a theoretical framework and research agenda" that I co-authored with Daniel Belanche, Luis Casalo, and Carlos Flavian was accepted for publication at the Service Industries Journal. The paper focuses on service robots and artificial intelligence and outlines the factors that service managers must think about in service robots' implementation. A three-part framework, comprised of robot design, customer features, and service encounter characteristics, specifies key factors within each category that need to be analyzed together to determine their optimal adaptation to different service components. This framework and the final research questions provide a research agenda to guide scholars and help practitioners implement service robots successfully. Download the paper here.

Paper "Exploring the Motivational and Behavioral Foundations of External Technology Experts’ Knowledge Sharing in Collaborative R&D Projects: The Contingency Role of Project Formalization" accepted for publication in Journal of Product Innovation Management
In January 2019, the paper "AExploring the Motivational and Behavioral Foundations of External Technology Experts’ Knowledge Sharing in Collaborative R&D Projects: The Contingency Role of Project Formalization" that I co-authored with Jelle de Vries, Fred Langerak, and Arjan van Weele was accepted for publication at the Journal of the Product Innovation Management. In the paper we provide empirical evidence on the motivational and behavioral foundations for knowledge sharing by external technology experts (ETEs) in a collaborative R&D setting. Building on theories of gift and social exchange, this article identifies customer stewardship and distributive fairness as two important personal motivations of ETEs to share knowledge. Project formalization is considered as a key contingency condition. Download the paper here.

Paper "Are Conservative Approaches to New Product Selling a Blessing in Disguise?" now in print at Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science
In August 2018, the paper "Are Conservative Approaches to New Product Selling a Blessing in Disguise?" that I co-authored with Michel van der Borgh appeared in print at Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. In the paper we posit many B2B salespeople display conservatism when confronted with new products in their portfolio, such that they maximize their efforts to sell existing products before engaging in efforts to sell the new product. So far, it is unclear whether this conservative selling behavior (CSB) is harmful to new product selling performance, and how this behavior can be managed. We empirically substantiate that salespeople’s CSB makes their effort to sell new products more effective. Remarkably, such effort is then valued less by sales managers. Managers looking to control the levels of CSB in their salesforce should carefully align their information support activities with the perceived risk dimensions of the new product selling situation. Download the paper here.





(c) - Jeroen J.L. Schepers
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