Even though service marketers are interested in influencing customer choice at the service provider level (i.e. the service brand level), the decision to patronize a particular service firm seldom occurs until after the customer decides to use a service provider in the first place. Ultimately, this initial “make‐or‐buy” purchase decision – the decision to use a service category – restrains customer decisions at the service provider (brand) level. To enhance our understanding of customers’ service category decisions, a double cross‐validation approach was employed to investigate the applicability of a service category choice model which we adapted from Howard’s work on consumer decision making. Our model, which was tested with two different service categories, was supported.
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