Service triads: A study of buyer-supplier-end user triads in the assistance provider market

Antonia Gialitaki

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis focuses on the triadic relationship between companies, outsourcing tasks to outside providers to deliver services directly to the company’s customer. The purpose of this research is to examine how service suppliers can build brand relationships with the end users and generate demand for their services without risking their relationship with their customers. The thesis explores this issue, by an extensive literature review as well as three expert interviews and eight end user interviews. An understanding of this untraditional business model of service triads and the relationship between the three parts of the triad is investigated through the expert interviews, revealing a constant imbalance between the parties of the triad, due to shifting relational structures, risk of moral hazard and luck of trust. Consequently, service suppliers chose only to focus on communicating with the buyer, neglecting communication with the equally important end users. An investigation of the end user’s experiences with the services provided by these multiple actors was conducted and mapped in order to establish a way in which the service suppliers could build brand relationships to the end users. The end user interviews revealed, that end users were interpreting the service co-production between the service provider and the buyer as a single process under the buyer brand, confining previous findings of the missing end user communication. Focus on the end users and enhancing brand awareness was therefore recommended. A framework combined by the CBBE model and the service marketing mix was used to create the frame for creating an end user focused communication plan. A huge part of the service experience are the employee involved and the efficiency in which the service was provided. People, processes, communication and physical evidence play therefore a big part in the quality of the service delivery and the creation of the communication plan. By creating an end user communication plan, service suppliers can enhance brand awareness and achieve brand relationships with the end users, while also differentiating themselves from the other competitors in the category.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages134