The Dark Side of CRM: Advantaged and Disadvantaged Customers

Bang Nguyen, Lyndon Simkin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)


    – CRM treats various profiles of customers or individual customers differently, purposively favoring certain customers while deliberately disadvantaging others. This research aims to provide insights into how advantaged (favored) and (non-favored) disadvantaged customers perceive fairness in retailers’ marketing tactics.

    – A multiple study approach has been adopted, influenced by a three-stage process, which involved exploratory interviews, pilot tests, and the main survey.

    – The results have provided marketers with a perspective on maintaining and enhancing relationships. Service and marketing communications concern the advantaged customers most, while pricing is the most important aspect for the disadvantaged customers.

    Practical implications
    – In terms of handling customers, there are important implications from recognizing how those who are favored and those who are not so advantaged perceive their treatment. Failure to appreciate the pitfalls for visibly treating certain customers more favorably and others demonstrably less so, will have stark consequences for retail management and consumer marketing.

    – Contributions are made to the literatures on CRM and on unfairness, particularly in terms of how to address the inevitable inequities inherent in retailers’ CRM offerings. Identification of the advantaged and disadvantaged customers and their respective views allows marketers to develop more appropriate approaches for handling customers who are sensitive to perceived unfairness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)17-30
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Consumer Marketing
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • CRM
    • Dark sides
    • Advantaged
    • Disadvantaged
    • Fairness perceptions
    • Customer relationship Management
    • Marketing
    • Trust
    • Disadvantaged groups


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