Consumer Trade-Offs and the Evaluation of Services

Amy Ostrom, Dawn Lacobucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The evaluation of services by consumers in terms of service attributes that should have an impact on judgments as well as the nature of the judgments themselves are investigated. A conjoint analysis is used to examine subjects’ utilities for service alternatives that differ in terms of price, level of quality, friendliness of the service personnel, and the degree of customization of the service. The impact on subjects’ utilities was studied in relation to several factors, including the type of service industry being evaluated (i.e., experience or credence services); the criticality of the service situation (i.e., high or low importance that the service be executed well); and the type of evaluative judgment asked of the respondent (i.e., ratings of subjects’ anticipated satisfaction, value, or likelihood of purchase). The results indicate that all service attributes are important to consumers and that their importance varies with the mediating factors. For example, consumers are price sensitive for less critical purchase situations, whereas quality is more important for credence services. The findings allow for a parsimonious theoretical explanation based on risk and the clarification of some constructs in the area of consumer evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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