Customer solutions have been touted as the next service-growth engine. Yet, pursuing a solutions strategy can seriously backfire in times of severe crises. The massive economic shock wave brought on by the recent COVID-19 pandemic challenges some of the presumed advantages of business-to-business customer solutions and reveals downsides of these complex offerings to which academics and managers alike may have given insufficient attention. This editorial focuses on goods-centered companies’ recent foray into the solution business and the pressing managerial questions regarding the evolution of solutions as the world begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the key characteristics of solution offerings, we identify seven potential downsides of customer solutions that are revealed by the current global crisis and develop promising research avenues mirroring these challenges. In each area, we propose three illustrative sets of research questions that may guide scholars and provide insights to practitioners for positioning solution businesses in the post-COVID-19 “next-normal” world.
Bibliografisk notePublished online September 24, 2020.
- COVID-19 pandemic
- Customer solutions
- Performance-based contracting