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Abstract

Customers often experience waiting for buying service. Managing customers` waiting time is im-portant for service providers since customers who are dissatisfied with waiting, secede from a service place at last. Not a few studies have been done to solve waiting time problem and improve customers` waiting experience. Hui & Tse(1996) identify evaluation factors in customers` behavioral mechanism as customers wait. That is, customers experience perceived waiting time, waiting acceptability and emotional response to the wait when they wait. Since customers evaluate the wait using these factors, service provider should manage these factors in order to minimize customers` dissatisfaction. Therefore, this study explores that evaluation factors of waiting are influenced by customers` situational and experiential characteristics, which include customer loyalty, transaction importance for customer and waiting expectation level. Those situational and experiential characteristics are usually given to service providers so they can`t control these at waiting point. The major findings derived from two exploratory studies can be summarized as follows. First, according to the result from the study 1 (restaurant setting), customers` transaction impor-tance has the greatest positive influence on waiting experience. The results show restaurant service provider could prevent customers` separation effectively through strategies which raise customers` transaction importance, like giving special coupons for important events. Second, in study 2 (amusement part setting) customer loyalty has large positive impact on waiting experience as well as transaction importance. This results show that service provider could minimize customers` dissatisfaction using strategies which raise customer loyalty continuously. This results show customer perceives waiting experience differently according to characteristics of service place and service itself. Therefore, service provider should grasp the unique customers` situational and experiential characters for each service and service place. It could provide an effective strategy for waiting time management. Third, the study finds transaction importance and waiting expectation level have direct influence customers` waiting experience as independent variables, while existing studies treated them as moderators. Customer loyalty which has not been incorporated in previous waiting time research is known to affect waiting experience. It suggests that marketing strategy which builds up customer loyalty for long period of time is also quite effective, compared to short term tactics to help customers endure waiting time. Fourth, this study reveals the importance of actual waiting time along with perceived waiting time. So far most studies only focus on customers` perceived waiting time. Especially, this study incorporates the concept of patient limit on waiting time to investigate effect of actual waiting time. The results show that there were various responses to the wait depending on how actual waiting time exceeds individual`s patent limit on waiting time or not, even though customers wait about the same period of time. Finally, using structural equation model, conceptual path between behavioral responses is verified. As customer perceives waiting time, then she decides whether she can endure it or not, and then her emotional response occurs. This result are somewhat different from Hui & Tse(1996)`s study. The study also includes theoretical contributions as well as practical implications.

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