Why is the customer not always right? A research regarding the drivers of customers to engage in illegitimate complaining behaviour.

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‘Why is the customer not always right?’ The assumption that the customer is always right turns out to be outdated, unrealistic and naïve. Evidence suggests that some customers present illegitimate complaints. However, clear empirical evidence of the drivers of illegitimate complaining behaviour is missing due to its sensitive subject and potential for bias. Therefore, the aim of this study is to contribute to the context of illegitimate complaining behaviour by investigating all possible drivers of people to engage in such behaviour. A survey is conducted to collect data from customers regarding illegitimate complaining behaviour. As a result of this research, it seems that customers are motivated by three drivers to engage in illegitimate complaining behaviour. Moreover, there are two drivers that lead to less illegitimate complaining behaviour. Furthermore, the results show that the drivers of customers differ between complaints in the electronics category and other categories. This study made a first attempt to find empirical evidence for the drivers of illegitimate complaining behaviour, in order to support propositions made by previous literature. Firms should continually engage in research iterations that identify drivers of illegitimate complaints. Further research in this area should focus on investigating what drivers really matter the most.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen