To Wait or Not to Wait: The Theory and Practice of Ticket Queues

41 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2017 Last revised: 10 May 2018

See all articles by Kaan Kuzu

Kaan Kuzu

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business

Long Gao

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management

Susan H. Xu

Pennsylvania State University, University Park - Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems

Date Written: July 7, 2017

Abstract

Ticket queues are prevalent in service industries. They enhance customer satisfaction by eliminating physical lines, but may compromise efficiency (i.e., service completion probability). Existing studies offer mixed results on the cause and magnitude of such inefficiency. These results, however, are based on simplistic customer behaviors. Taking a holistic approach, we examine how realistic customer behaviors drive ticket queue performance. Our empirical studies reveal that (i) customers are capable of adapting their patience to the waiting context, and (ii) they use dynamic updating to improve forecasting and decision making over time. Once we model these two behaviors, we find the ticket queue inefficiency is much smaller than the literature predicted. By testing and highlighting the central role of realistic customer behaviors, this paper advances our understanding on how ticket queues perform in practice.

Keywords: customer behaviors, service systems, ticket queue, Markov, dynamic updating

Suggested Citation

Kuzu, Kaan and Gao, Long and Xu, Susan H., To Wait or Not to Wait: The Theory and Practice of Ticket Queues (July 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3039117 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3039117

Kaan Kuzu (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 742
3202 N. Maryland Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0742
United States

HOME PAGE: http://uwm.edu/business/people/kuzu-kaan/

Long Gao

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://longgao.wordpress.com/

Susan H. Xu

Pennsylvania State University, University Park - Department of Supply Chain and Information Systems ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

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