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The service elimination decision-making during the service life cycle : some pilot empirical evidence

Papastathopoulou, Paulina and Gounaris, Spiros and Avlonitis, George (2012) The service elimination decision-making during the service life cycle : some pilot empirical evidence. European Journal of Marketing, 46 (6). pp. 844-874. ISSN 0309-0566

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The paper aims to offer a preliminary insight into the issue of whether service providers eliminate their offerings in various stages of their life cycle, and if so, whether elimination decision-making differs depending on the service's life cycle stage. Data were secured by means of a structured questionnaire which was completed through personal interviews. Respondents answered all questions having a recently eliminated service in mind. The initial calls and follow-up efforts generated 164 usable responses (49.8 per cent response rate). A service may be eliminated from a service provider's portfolio in any stage of its life cycle. Further, in terms of precipitating circumstances, evaluation factors and elimination strategies, the service elimination process differs depending on the stage of the service life cycle that the elimination decision is taken. The most important implication is service providers eliminate services not only as a response to a crisis possibly caused by drops of sales volume, but also for other reasons. In this respect, service portfolio rationalization and particularly service elimination may result as a consequence of strategic management decisions taken for positive (e.g. development of a new service) or negative (e.g. competitive actions) reasons. Within this framework, the service life cycle (SLC) model, as a strategic tool for analysis and decision-making, may well serve to guide the rationalization process. The research questions of the study have been examined for tangible products, but this is the first relevant study that is conducted in a service context.