The Future of B2B Customer Solutions in a Post-COVID-19 Economy: Managerial Issues and an Agenda for Academic Inquiry

Edward U. Bond III, Ad de Jong, Andreas Eggert, Mark B. Houston, Michael Kleinaltenkamp, Ajay K. Kohli, Thomas Ritter, Wolfgang Ulaga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)401-408
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online September 24, 2020.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Customer solutions
  • Performance-based contracting
  • Servitization

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