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IMPACT OF QUEUE ON CUSTOMERS: INTRODUCTION

Posted by Connie R. Aponte on January 2, 2014 in Customer’s Satisfaction |

Queues are commonly found wherever customers arrive randomly for services. Some examples of waiting lines we encounter in our daily lives include the lines at supermarket checkouts, fast food shops, airport ticket counters, theaters, post offices and toll booths.

Designers must weigh the cost of providing a given level of service capacity against the potential (implicit) cost of having customers wait for service. In a service facility customers enter a waiting line of a service facility, receive service when their turn comes and then leave the system.

The number of customers in the system (awaiting service) will vary randomly over time. Waiting line management can be directly applied to a wide range of service operations, including call centers, banks, post offices, restaurants, theme parks, telecommunication systems and traffic management. Managers have a number of very good reasons to be concerned with waiting lines. Major reasons are as following: the cost to provide waiting space, a possible loss of business if customers leave the line before served or refuse to wait, a possible loss of goodwill, a possible reduction in customer satisfaction, the resulting congestion that may disrupt other business operations or customers. Step Towards Success

Background of the Research Problem

Waiting lines abound in all sorts of service systems. And they are non value added occurrences. For customers, having to wait for service can range from being acceptable (usually short waits), to being annoying (longer waits) to being a matter of life and death (e.g., in emergencies). For businesses, the costs of waiting come from lower productivity and competitive disadvantage. For society, the costs are wasted resources (e.g., fuel consumption of cars stuck in traffic) and reduced quality of life. Customers may wait a certain amount of time and then leave. Others may refuse to enter the line at all and go somewhere else or plan to return later; still others may hire people to wait in line for them. Hence, it is important for system designers and managers of existing service systems to fully appreciate the impact of waiting lines. Management of consumer waiting experiences is critical for practitioners in that unpleasant waiting experiences may result in negative service evaluations.

Problem Statement/ Objective

The problems of long queues are common one in Bangladesh; it appears anywhere there is a waiting line system. People tend to be dissatisfied when they have to wait too long in lines. The objective of this research is to provide a comparative assessment of the quality of services received by the customers in Bangladesh in the lens of waiting line management. This research included quality service provided from staffs, infrastructure and technologies used to manage waiting lines. The assessment may be used as a basis or benchmark for the future studies to track changes in the quality of services. Customer satisfaction and service quality were often treated together as functions of customer’s perceptions and expectations. Research has shown that high service quality contributes significantly to customer satisfaction and customer delight. It should also sensitize service providers’ planners to improve those areas of service that might be significantly improved. The expectation and perception level of customers have been studied by SERVQUAL method.

Literature Review

According to Taylor (1994), waiting for service is “the time from which a customer is ready to receive the service until the time the service commences”. Waiting time is often regarded as a waste of time (Leclerc, Schmitt, and Dube 1995) and has been described by researchers as boring, frustrating, and irritating (Hui and Tse 1996; Katz et al. 1991). Nonetheless, research has suggested that overall value of service may help alleviate the negative emotions of waiting (Katz et al. 1991; Maister 1985). From a practitioner’s perspective, waiting lines can be damaging to businesses and have become an important marketing issue. Even though a growing number of companies have attempted to manage consumer waiting experiences through various strategies (e.g., increase of front-line employees, video displays with news updates as waiting time filler, or providing waiting time guarantees to their customers) (Kumar, Kalwani, and Dada 1997), consumer waits remain an unresolved issue. Consequently, more efforts need to be made to understand the waiting process and to reduce the potential negative impact of waits on consumers’ evaluations Kostecki 1996). From an academician’s viewpoint, various theories have been utilized to explain waiting phenomena and how waiting affects consumers’ evaluations and satisfaction, including social justice (e.g., Larson 1987), attribution (Chebat, Filiatrault, Gelinas-Chebat, and Vaninsky 1995; Taylor 1994), field theory (Dube-Rioux, Schmitt, and Leclerc 1989; Hui, Thakor, and Gill 1998; Houston, Bettencourt, and Wenger 1998), and social comparison theories (e.g., Zhou and Soman 2003). Among these studies, consumers’ affective responses to waiting and service evaluations have been frequently examined (e.g., Dube-Rioux et al. 1989; Houston et al. 1998; Hui and Tse 1996; Taylor 1994; Katz, Larson, and Larson 1991; Pruyn and Smidts 1998).

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