There is a growing interest in understanding how consumer preferences and choices vary with experience in a product/service category. Previous research provides support for a conceptual distinction between self-assessed or subjective knowledge and objective knowledge. Yet relatively little is known about the impact of these two knowledge types on consumers’ pre-purchase choice and service loyalty behaviors. To bridge that gap, this study examined the relative influence of subjective and objective knowledge on choosing a physician practicing traditional Chinese medicine, and on remaining loyal to the chosen provider. Our findings indicate that high objective knowledge translates into larger consideration sets and decreased loyalty. Although subjective knowledge also had a positive impact on evoked set size, its magnitude was smaller than that observed for objective knowledge. Furthermore, unlike its objective counterpart, self-assessed knowledge did not reduce service loyalty.
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