|Ph.D Student||Munichor Nira|
|Subject||Customer Reactions to Telephone Waiting:|
The Effects of Sense of Progress, Sense of
Control and Proximity to Service
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Anat Rafaeli|
|Full Thesis text|
This dissertation focuses on waiting, which is an inescapable part of customers' modern life, and particularly on telephone waiting. The dissertation consists of three articles that investigate the root of factors influencing customer reactions to telephone waiting. The first article is a theoretical analysis. It suggests a model that organizes knowledge about various factors that affect customer reactions to waiting and draws both managerial and research implications related to waiting. Based on this theoretical analysis, we conclude that features in the waiting environment, and especially waiting time fillers, may be effective vehicles to improve customer reactions to waiting. The second and the third articles therefore focus on telephone-waiting time-fillers, and empirically examine mechanisms underlie reactions to them in an attempt to find a psychological mechanism that can mitigate negative customer reactions to waiting. Specifically, the second article tests contradictory hypotheses driven by the perceived-waiting-time perspective and the sense-of-progress-in-the-queue perspective. The third article further challenges the sense-of-progress perspective with the perspective of sense-of-control, and also explores the role that proximity to the service point plays in designing customer reactions to telephone waiting. The research hypotheses were tested using linear regression, logistic regression, exact conditional tests and survival analysis. Our empirical examination puts forth the importance of sense of progress in the queue in determining reactions of customer who waits on the telephone line, especially where the customer is distant from the service point. The findings demonstrate that time fillers that create stronger sense of progress ameliorate customer reactions. By contrast, both the mechanisms of perceived time and sense of control are not found to have a significant effect on customer reactions. While perceived waiting time seems not to be affected by the type of time filler played during the wait, sense of control varies with different time fillers, but does not influence reactions, in turn. In addition, our examination does not find evidence that messages to customers that indicate the firm is aware that customers are being kept waiting influence or improve customer reactions. The integration of the three articles begins to shed light on the modern phenomenon of telephone waiting, and points to number of interesting, novel, and important conclusions that contribute to both theory and practice.