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Making the Wait Worthwhile: Experiments on the Effect of Queueing on Consumption

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... This negative relation between the wait and the purchase probability is given the most consideration in this article. However, Ulku et al. (2017) may contradict this assumption by showing that a long wait is an incentive to consume more when customers have consumption as a primary objective. This case is also examined in this paper. ...
... In the context of retail stores, Lu et al. (2013) show a negative correlation between customers' sensitivity to waiting and price sensitivity. Moreover, Ulku et al. (2017) demonstrate that the consumption quantity increases with the wait. Therefore, customers who can withstand a long wait may consume more with a preference for cheaper products. ...
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1) Problem definition: We consider a revenue-generating call center with inbound and outbound calls, where service and sales activities are blended. For maximizing the call center's revenue, the call center manager exercises two levels of control; agent reservation for inbound calls and call outsourcing. Given the influence of waits on purchase probability, we investigate the strategy of outsourcing customers who have waited already, as opposed to outsourcing customers directly at arrival. (2) Academic / Practical relevance: The main novelty of this article arises from the use of a single framework to investigate combining agent reservation with outsourcing decisions, and a waiting time-based outsourcing strategy. The existing literature only considers these two strategies in isolation and is restricted to quantity-based decisions. From a practical viewpoint, our results aim to provide decision support tools that are directly implementable in a call center's routing software. (3) Methodology : We apply a Markov decision process approach to optimize the manager's decisions. The particularity of our approach is that we use the experienced waiting time as a decision variable. (4) Results: We prove that the optimal policy for reservation and outsourcing is of threshold type. Our main conclusion is that outsourcing customers after letting them wait in-house generates higher revenue than outsourcing calls at arrival. However, it is also detrimental to service quality. In addition, we identify contexts where the difference between the two outsourcing strategies is significant. (5) Managerial implications: Contrary to standard call center practices, which either consist of specialized teams for one type of call, or only exercising one specific level of decision-making (reservation or outsourcing), we demonstrate the potential of partial outsourcing with partial reservation. Our study shows that small congested call centers are those where the benefits of implementing our results are the greatest.
... Queueing phenomenon is ubiquitous in practice, where customers are eager for service, but hate to wait. It is well believed that the psychology of queueing (e.g., [3,5,8]) and the behavioral effect (e.g., [9,10]) can greatly affect the perceptions of waiting duration and behavior of customers, which in turn, influence the system performance. Numerous situational and design-based factors that influence the experiences and behaviors of customers in queues are enumerated in the past research, which support that the waiting experiences of customers can be improved by implementing active managements. ...
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In this paper, we investigate the strategic behavior in queues by considering the effect of the number of customers behind. The equilibrium joining strategy of customers is obtained and its implications for the service system is examined. We find that the complete queue transparency (i.e., disclosing the real-time system information) can have positive effect on customers, which might encourage more customers to join. Further, the follow-the-crowd (FTC) behavior can be observed, which results in multiple equilibria. By comparing the customer welfare under two different information levels, we demonstrate that, somewhat surprisingly, the queue transparency does not necessarily hurt the customer welfare, and a higher customer welfare can be obtained in the transparent case than that in opaque case when the demand volume is large.
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Gourmet food trucks (GFTs) have emerged as a new and unique restaurant segment with attributes of service similar to quick service restaurants and attributes of food quality similar to fine dining restaurants. Despite their popularity, little research exists on attributes of GFTs associated with customer satisfaction. This study investigated traditional restaurant attributes, including food quality, service quality, ambiance (physical environment), price/value, convenience, and brand personality, and their relationship to customer satisfaction in GFTs. Results indicated that price/value, service quality, physical environment, and brand personality had a significant positive relationship with customer satisfaction, while interestingly, food quality and convenience did not.
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