Illegitimate Complainants within Service Recovery A quantitative research study of the typology of illegitimate complainants

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This study examines the phenomenon of illegitimate complaining behaviour within service recovery by empirically researching the typology of illegitimate complainants. Accordingly, this study aims to provide more insight into the four types of illegitimate complainants, namely: the must-type, need-type, want-type, and can-type. Each type of illegitimate complainant contains a combination of drivers, degree of illegitimate complaining behaviour, neutralization techniques, and certain customer-company relationship with the company in question. Furthermore, this study applied a quantitative research method, which included an online survey to collect the data and a multivariate analysis of variance and post hoc test to analyse the data. The research findings recognized the must-type complainant, need-type complainant, and the want-type complainant as distinguishable types of illegitimate complainants. The can-type complainant was found to be non-existent as the typology’s prediction regarding this type of illegitimate complainant were barely supported. Considering these results, managers should implement strategies in the future that neutralizes the drivers and neutralization techniques of the types of illegitimate complainants, as this could prevent illegitimate complaining behaviour. Also, managers need to consider whether it is worth to sustain certain relationships with the types of illegitimate complainants, as illegitimate complaints consume a considerable amount of money, time, and energy.
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