How user communities improve mass customization productivity
This papers addresses the question how mass customization firms use communities to improve customer interaction and thus making mass customization more productive. Out of a pool of 118 mass customization firms and their communities, we selected representative companies (in terms of community size, - integration and openness) within an iterative approach for in-depth interviews. We found that communities can serve as levers for mass customization productivity, but companies seem to exploit them differently: Companies with a small customer base tend to limit communities merely on marketing communication to increase sales output. Providers with large and integrated communities realize a broader productivity potential from communities, exploiting them not only for increasing productivity output but for decreasing input factors in customer interaction processes (such as support in product configuration).