Purpose - By outsourcing or partnering with two or more firms to perform certain activities targeted toward customers, firms are engaging in service networks. This research begins to examine how customers evaluate firms in a strategic, B2B service network and how their assessment of firms involved in co-producing after-sales service affects their evaluations of a focal selling firm. These evaluations include the key relational outcomes of brand image, satisfaction, and behavioral intentions. Design/methodology/approach - The conceptual model examines the effects of partner firm performance on customers' evaluations of a focal selling firm. Key factors such as focal brand strength and the strength of the relationship between the partner firm and the focal selling firm are proposed to influence this relationship. Findings - Post-sale business services provided directly to the customer are likely to play an important role in building a firm's brand image and equity, whether those services are provided by the firm or its partners. Research limitations/ implications - The individual firm to individual customer dyad approach that currently dominates the literature does not adequately capture the complex nature of today's B2B service relationships. This research develops a conceptual model that directly addresses the way customers evaluate service when it is performed by multiple partners. Practical implications - Discovering how customers evaluate service experiences in which multiple firms co-produce the service within a B2B service network can provide firms with the guidance needed to improve the performance of the entire network and the overall service experience of network customers. Originality/value - This paper presents new theoretical developments in the area of business-to-business service networks. This research also addresses several gaps in the industrial marketing literature, particularly B2B services and branding.
- Business-to-business marketing
- Service industries