This study investigates the impact of selection criteria associated with interpersonal interaction (such as good personal relationships) on supplier consideration. More specifically, it examines how the importance of these criteria depends upon service-related dimensions. This is an experimental study among client firms in the market research industry, which combines a conjoint and between-subjects design to lead to several new insights. First, while good personal relationships play an important role in the selection of a service provider, their impact increases if the service offering is subjective in nature, but it decreases if it is strategically important. Second, enriching the service offering with interpretation and advice is more important for subjective as well as for strategically important service offerings. Third, as to other selection criteria, the study results show some interesting differences between consideration and choice. Price has a substantive impact on choice alone, while a strong brand name is helpful for the service provider only in the consideration stage.
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