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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Waiting for service : consumer views of the aversiveness and duration of waiting, and resulting impact on specific and global service evaluations Taylor, Shirley


Waiting for service is common in many purchase situations. As such, it is important to understand how consumers react to waiting. Only then can appropriate actions be taken to reduce any aversive aspects of waiting and alleviate any negative consequences that may result from the wait. This research focused on how consumers react to waiting for service. Specifically, three reactions were examined: (1) consumers' perceptions of wait aversiveness, and the circumstances under which consumers found waiting aversive or unpleasant, (2) consumers' perceptions of felt duration, and the circumstances under which waits were felt to be longer than they actually were, and (3) the resulting service evaluations, in particular, the extent to which, and the circumstances under which waits impacted on consumers' evaluations of: (a) punctuality of service, (b) overall service quality and (c) other service attributes. A model of a consumer's wait experience was proposed and used as a framework to examine these three issues. A quasi-experimental setting involving delays in passenger airline travel was chosen for the empirical study. Delayed passengers were questioned regarding their perceptions of wait aversiveness and duration. In addition, their pre-boarding feelings and responses on flight service evaluations were compared to those of nondelayed passengers. The results of the empirical test suggest that perceptions of wait aversiveness were associated with: perceived airline control over the wait, higher perceived consequences of waiting, such as inconvenience and financial costs, and higher levels of affective costs such as annoyance, anger, frustration, uncertainty, boredom, uneasiness and helplessness. Many of these costs increased as the actual wait duration and time pressures increased, and as the degree to which time was "filled" decreased. Longer felt duration was associated with longer actual durations and increased wait aversivenness. The results also suggest that waiting did affect consumers' overall evaluations of service, their evaluations of specific service attributes and the relative importance of these attributes in predicting the overall evaluation. Implications for management and directions for further research were then discussed.

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