Dysfunctional customer behavior influences on employees' emotional labor: The moderating roles of customer orientation and perceived organizational support.Front Psychol. 2022; 13:966845.FP
Despite increasing interest being given to dysfunctional customer behavior in multiple service sectors, it is unclear how and why different types of dysfunctional customer behavior (verbal abuse, disproportionate demand, and illegitimate complaint) affect frontline employees' emotional labor during the service interactions. Drawing upon the conservation of resources theory, we propose a conceptual model in which verbal abuse, disproportionate demand, and illegitimate complaint differentially influence frontline employees' emotional labor strategies (surface acting and deep acting). Further, the boundary conditions of these relationships are considered by introducing perceived organizational support and customer orientation as moderators. Using survey data from 436 frontline employees of five call centers in China, hypotheses were tested through a hierarchical regression analysis. The results indicated that verbal abuse and illegitimate complaint exerted positive effects on surface acting. Particularly, these positive effects were weaker when frontline employees perceived organizational support was high. Also, verbal abuse's positive effect on surface acting was weaker when frontline employees' customer orientation was high. Customer's verbal abuse, disproportionate demand, and illegitimate complaint negatively influenced frontline employees' deep acting. The negative effect of disproportionate demand on deep acting was weaker when perceived organizational support was high. However, when frontline employees' customer orientation was high, the negative effects of disproportionate demand and illegitimate complaints on deep acting were weaker.