The drivers of illegitimate complaining behavior. An exploratory research study on the drivers of illegitimate complaining behavior

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Effectively handling customer complaints contributes to the competitive position of firms, which is of crucial importance giving the growing competition nowadays. However, firms must consider customers could behave illegitimately as customers do exaggerate or made up their complaints. As research on the drivers of illegitimate complaining behavior is missing, this research aims to find out what drives illegitimate complaining behavior in a service recovery context. To provide an answer on this, a survey has been conducted to directly ask respondents their drivers behind real-life voiced illegitimate complaints. Based on a gathered sample of 181 respondents, it turned out that the drivers of illegitimate complaining are ‘opportunism’, ‘financial greed’ and ‘personal-based conflict framing style’. It seems these drivers focus on three aspects: ‘when’ customers complain illegitimately, namely when a lucrative opportunity arises; ‘why’ customers involve in illegitimate complaining behavior, which is both due to the financial benefits of it and due to the available opportunity; and `how´ customers complain illegitimately, namely by pressurizing the service provider. Therefore, managers need to eliminate opportunities to complaint illegitimately like 100% money back guarantees. Further, they must warn customers the financial consequences of unfair behavior and be aware of customers who show characteristics of a personal-based conflict framing style.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen