Supply chain management (SCM) research has tended to focus on the planning and management of a broad range of activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and management of logistics. However, the domain is increasingly recognising the significance of coordination and collaboration between channel partners. As such, there is a need to better understand how channel partners make decisions; and in particular, whether there is an alignment in the expectations of these partners. In this study we use an agency theory approach to explore the relative importance of various supply chain components to reveal the decision-making trade-offs that occur when buyers evaluate the services of a third party logistics provider. Our research approach overcomes many of the limitations seen in previous studies that rely on simple rankings by survey respondents through the direct identification of the customer’s utility for different service provider attributes. The results confirm the importance of various performance-level attributes and point us towards a new set of higher order capabilities based on professionalism and proactive innovation.