Annette Hacker, director,
Office: (515) 294-4777
Deanne Brocato, Marketing, (515) 294-8110, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Making time fly: ISU professor studies how to moderate waiting time with customers
AMES, Iowa -- We've all been there. You decide to go out for dinner and after being seated, you can't get service from the wait staff. Or you're at the airport waiting on flight delays and stuck in the customer service line, desperately trying to get answers.
Most people hate to wait. An Iowa State University marketing professor who studies waiting time and its emotional effect on consumers says how the experience goes may determine whether a customer comes back.
It may even create opportunity, says Deanne Brocato, an assistant professor of marketing at ISU.
"Even when you have a service failure (like longer wait times), what we see is that you can create a stronger bond with consumers, based on how you deal with it," she said.
Brocato worked with a research team on a study examining the waiting experiences of 844 customers in the banking and hair-cutting service industries (405 banking, 439 hair cutting) from two medium-sized metropolitan areas in the southeastern United States. The researchers found that five factors moderate perceived waiting time dissatisfaction and regret among consumers:
Brocato collaborated with Julie Baker, an associate professor of marketing at Texas Christian University; Clay Voorhees, an assistant professor of marketing and supply chain management at Michigan State University; Brian Bourdeau, an assistant professor of marketing at Auburn University; and J. Joseph Cronin, Jr., The Carl DeSantis Professor of Business Administration at Florida State University, on the study. They have authored a research paper, which is currently under review by an academic journal.
The paper cites a 2006 study by emarketer.com which found that consumers would rather clean their bathrooms, sit in traffic, or visit their dentists than stand in line. When they became too frustrated with waiting, 32 percent of consumers in that study reported that they left without purchasing anything, and 31 percent complained to a manager, staff or other customers.
The researchers provide the following advice to service firms on how to more effectively manage their customers' waiting experiences:
Brocato also sees self-service as another effective wait time option.
"There's another paper that I'm looking into where people go into the self-checkout and they actually are waiting longer, but they have control over their wait," she said. "So when you're in control, the wait seems shorter."
And when it comes to waiting, customer perception apparently is everything.
Deanne Brocato, an assistant professor of marketing at ISU, led a research team on a study examining the waiting experiences of 844 customers in the banking and hair-cutting service industries (405 banking, 439 hair cutting) from two medium-sized metropolitan areas in the southeastern United States. Their study offers advice on how businesses can moderate their waiting lines.
"Even when you have a service failure (like longer wait times), what we see is that you can create a stronger bond with consumers, based on how you deal with it."