The purpose of this paper is to explore expectations among front-line employees regarding their customers and how these expectations can be understood in relation to strategies of customer participation and value co-creation. Two categories of expectations are identified; operative and interactive. In particular, the operative expectations reveal a service practice that is heavily structured by large-scale systems and ideals of rational efficiency. It is argued that co-creation needs to be discussed on both the strategic level, i.e. in terms of what the “customer”/market wants, and on the operative level, where the customer’s direct contribution to the value-creating process has its focus.