Customer Cheating & Opportunistic Claiming

Goal: Examines jaycustomer motivation and behaviors, and how firms can discourage cheating and opportunistic claiming.

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Jochen Wirtz
added 6 research items
Fear of opportunistic customers is an important reason why firms are reluctant to implement service guarantees. This article empirically tests potential drivers of cheating. Potential material gain and repeat purchase intent were tested across three studies, whereas satisfaction, ease of invoking the guarantee, morality, shame, self-monitoring, and Machiavellianism were each tested in a subset of the three studies. The results for potential material gain and repeat purchase intent were consistent across all three studies: potential material gain had no effect on consumer cheating, but repeat purchase intent reduced that tendency. Other findings suggest that high levels of satisfaction, morality, and self-monitoring reduce cheating, whereas high levels of Machiavellianism increase cheating. Furthermore, two three-way interaction effects were encountered. Specifically, Machiavellianism interacted with gain and ease of invocation, and with gain and repeat purchase intent. In both cases, individuals with high Machiavellianism took advantage of certain situational constellations.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to highlight important issues in the study of dysfunctional customer behavior and to provide a research agenda to inspire, guide, and enthuse. Through a critical evaluation of existing research, the aim is to highlight key issues and to present potentially worthy avenues for future study. Design/methodology/approach In reviewing recent and past advances in the study of customers behaving badly, an overview of existing research into customers behaving badly and addressing issues of terminology and definition is provided. Thereafter, three perspectives that provide the most opportunity and insight in studying the darker side of service dynamics are outlined. This leads to a review of some of the research design and methodological problems and issues that are faced when rigorously studying these issues. Subsequently, the paper devotes a section to the provocative idea that while dysfunctional customer behavior has many negative influences on customers, employees, and service firms, there are actually some positive functions of customers behaving badly. Findings A research agenda is provided that is believed to identify and discuss a range of projects that comprises not only insightful theoretical contributions but is also practically relevant. Originality/value The paper identifies a range of issues about which managers should be aware and proactively manage.
Although a potentially significant issue to managers and academics alike, opportunistic customer behavior in the service recovery context has been largely ignored. A multi-stage research program, comprising actual customer claims (Study 1), in depth customer interviews (Study 2) and three experimental studies (Studies 3, 4, 5), explored opportunistic customer claiming behavior during service recovery and yielded robust findings across methods, contexts and samples. Potential determinants of opportunistic claiming in a service recovery context were identified by drawing on the justice, self-concept maintenance and neutralization theories. The findings support the hypothesis that when experiencing lower distributive, procedural and interactional justice, respondents were more likely to be opportunistic in their claiming. Furthermore, consumers were more likely to be opportunistic when dealing with large compared to small firms, and when they were in one-time transactions compared to when they had an established relationship with the firm. Finally, increased claiming in general, and opportunistic claiming in particular, did not lead to increased satisfaction with the service recovery. KeywordsOpportunistic customer behavior-Cheating-Claiming-Service recovery-Justice
Jochen Wirtz
added a project goal
Examines jaycustomer motivation and behaviors, and how firms can discourage cheating and opportunistic claiming.