Investigating the impact of service line formats on satisfaction with waiting

Piyush Kumar, Maqbool Dada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we examine whether the format of service lines affects customers’ satisfaction with their queuing experience. Using a goal-theoretic approach, and data from a series of experimental studies, we show that the duration of the wait moderates the psychological tradeoff between the initial queue length and its rate of movement, such that customers prefer a single line format for shorter waits but a multiple line format for longer waits. We also show that satisfaction declines with an increase in the number of stages in service lines. This adverse effect of multi-staging can be mitigated by using information devices as well as orienting customers away from local, stage-specific, sub-goals towards the overall goal of receiving service and exiting the system. We synthesize these findings about the psychophysics of queuing to generalize a model of satisfaction with waiting that accounts for the effect of service line formats and can represent customers’ utility functions in models of queuing systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Customer satisfaction
  • Goals
  • Queues
  • Service lines
  • Waiting time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing

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