Impact of Process Change on Customer Perception of Waiting Time

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Omega 32 (2004) 77 – 83

Impact of process change on customer perception of waiting time: a ÿeld study
Wenhong Luo∗ , Matthew J. Liberatore, Robert L. Nydick, Q B. Chung, Elliot Sloane
Department of Decision and Information Technologies, College of Commerce and Finance, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA Received 7 February 2002; accepted 26 September 2003

Abstract Studies in process change have focused on the improvement of operational performance measures such as the actual waiting time of a service system. However, process redesign may not only change the actual waiting time but also have signiÿcant impact on perceived waiting time. We examine
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In Disney World, for instance, a number of popular rides make visitors wait for at least 45 min to take a 3-min ride but most visitors are quite satisÿed with their experience. This is because the distractions employed by Disney make visitors feel that they did not wait that long. Researchers have explored various ways of in uencing customers’ perceived waiting time, including changing service environment [5], engaging customers during the wait [6], and providing feedback about expected waiting time [7]. Process changes such as the deployment of express lines may on the one hand reduce the perceived waiting time by making the waiting environment look less crowded due to reduced average waiting line length. On the other hand, the violation of “ÿrst come, ÿrst serve” rule may create the perception of “social injustice” [8] and cause perceived waiting time to increase among those customers who are not eligible for the express lines. Thus far, there is no empirical study that has explicitly investigated the impact of process change on perceived waiting time. In this study, we examine how process enhancements affect customer perceptions on waiting and customer satisfaction. We report a ÿeld study in which express lunch

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