Technological advances, changed regulations and intense competition are a reality for service providers in various industries. For banks, these changes have mostly served transactional approaches. In addition to being of crucial importance for the economy, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are important customers for banks. SMEs often perceive banks as standardised organisations offering identical products and services. Using concepts such as core services reliability, relational services reliability and customer satisfaction, this study investigates whether aiming for a perceived partnership can be a viable differentiating tool for a service provider in a competitive environment consisting of increasingly larger and standardised institutions. The study's hypotheses were tested by the use of structural equations' modelling on questionnaire responses from 343 Swedish SMEs. The results suggest that service providers aiming for a relationship differentiating them from their competitors must, in addition to provide core services, focus on relationship building interactions.
SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP -- Ekonomi och näringsliv (hsv//swe)
SOCIAL SCIENCES -- Economics and Business (hsv//eng)
SAMHÄLLSVETENSKAP -- Ekonomi och näringsliv -- Företagsekonomi (hsv//swe)
SOCIAL SCIENCES -- Economics and Business -- Business Administration (hsv//eng)