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)
Pages (from-to)974-993
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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