Revisiting “Where Does the Customer Fit in a Service Operation?”

Background and Future Development of Contact Theory
Part of the Service Science: Research and Innovations in the Service Economy book series (SSRI)


In 1978 I asserted that a “rational approach to the rationalization” of services requires first of all a classification system that sets one service activity system apart from another (Chase 1978). The classification I developed came about from an effort to derive a business classification scheme and was predicated on the extent of customer contact with the service system and its personnel during the service delivery process. Based upon open systems theory, I proposed that the less direct contact the customer has with the service system, the greater the potential of the system to operate at peak efficiency. And, conversely, where the direct customer contact is high, the less potential exists to achieve high levels of efficiency. In this chapter I will review the contact approach as it was discussed in the article and offer some suggestions for its future development.


Customer Contact North American Industry Classification System Service Dominant Logic Front Office Back Office 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marshall School of BusinessUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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