It’s just not fair: exploring the effects of firm customization on unfairness perceptions, trust and loyalty

B. Nguyen, P. Klaus, Lyndon Simkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


– The purpose of this study is to (a) develop a conceptual framework exploring the relationships between perceived negative firm customization, unfairness perceptions, and customer loyalty intentions, and (b) investigate the moderating effects of trust in these relationships. The study explores how customizing offers to match customers’ individual needs and how treating customers differentially provoke unfairness perceptions among those not being considered most important. While the literature discusses unfairness perceptions of pricing, promotion, and service, less is known about unfairness in customization practices.

– Using a survey approach, 443 completed questionnaires we collected. Following validation of our item measures, a hierarchical linear regression analysis was conducted to test the conceptual model and hypothesized linkages between our constructs.

– The results demonstrate that customers’ negative perceptions of customization increase their unfairness perceptions. Unfairness perceptions drastically reduce customer loyalty intentions with trust acting as a significant moderator. Trust increases loyalty intentions even when unfairness perceptions are present. Our findings provide a foundation for understanding how firms may improve their perceived fairness. This increase in perceived fairness creates positive attributions, reduces negative customer experience perceptions and increases loyalty intentions.

– Key contribution is the development and validation of a conceptual model explaining the linkages between firm customization and unfairness perceptions, firm customization and customer loyalty intentions and the moderating role of trust between these relationships. This study extends the understanding of how customization practices impact unfairness perceptions and, subsequently, influence consumers’ perceptions, intentions and behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484 - 497
JournalJournal of Services Marketing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

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  • Trust
  • Loyalty
  • Framework
  • Customization
  • Unfairness

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