|M.Sc Student||Munichor Nira|
|Subject||Telephone Waiting and Caller Reactions|
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Anat Rafaeli|
The subject of telephone waiting has not received adequate academic attention. Especially lacking is attention to psychological aspects of telephone waiting, which was the focus of this work. The premise of the current effort is that the way customer’s waiting time is filled can shape reactions toward the wait. An empirical study examined the effect of four types of telephone waiting-time fillers on caller abandonment rate and waiting evaluation. A general hypothesis was that there would be differences between the effects of different fillers. More specific hypotheses predicted differences between four fillers, which included music, messages of apology, queueing-information, and activities requested of people while waiting. Subjects were 143 people who responded to advertisements offering telephone registration for participation in research. They were answered by a computerized telephone answering machine, which randomly assigned them into one of the four filler conditions. All subjects waited exactly 108 seconds and were then asked to complete a short questionnaire, which asked for their evaluation of the wait. Consistent with the general hypothesis, abandonment rate and evaluation of the wait varied significantly between the experimental conditions. Abandonment rate was lower with service-related-activities or queueing-information fillers, as compared with music (or apology messages). Waiting evaluation was significantly higher in the queueing-information condition than in the apology message condition.Seeking a comprehensive explanation to these findings suggested a differentiation between time fillers that give a sense of progress in the queue and fillers that do not. The results also reveal an important differentiation between physical waits.