To date, customer education has been framed in terms of one-way information provision, at odds with much of the literature on meaning co-creation. Drawing on an ethnography of a specialty coffee purveyor, we show how staff and consumers co-create educational consumer journeys through the deployment of seven practices: auditing, realignment, marrying competing logics, negotiating scripts, evangelizing, expanding collective knowledge, and impression management. These practices require staff and consumers to enact three different educational roles (educator, student, and peer), which are necessary for the co-creation and extension of consumer journeys. The roles, practices and the journeys themselves emerge iteratively through sensebreaking, sensegiving, and sensemaking processes among staff, consumers and the servicescape. Our findings frame customer education as a dynamic process in which meaning is co-created between participants. Furthermore, the cues and touchpoints needed for meaning-making shift as power relations between participants change. Managerially, these findings highlight the potential of co-created educational consumer journeys to expand established market categories.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 2 June 2023
- Consumer journeys
- Customer education
- Practice theory