Delay announcements pervade in modern life. When you wait in line, our expectation for the wait time is greatly influenced by the estimates provided to us by the service provider. As teleservices become a crucial form of service offered to the public, companies are placing significant focus on queueing processes to keep up customer satisfaction in order to retain business. Past studies are mostly conducted from a theoretical standpoint based on queueing theory, whereas our research approaches the problem from an empirical perspective.
The goal of our research is to study how customers are influenced by different forms of delay announcements and how they form beliefs about anticipated delays. In order to accurately elicit customer beliefs, we started by setting up a set of surveys on Qualtrics to run on MTurk. In our survey, we simulate a virtual queue in which the participants face a decision to either stay in the queue or renege. We devise three different reward systems to encourage participants to make rational decisions and analyze what factors are truly shaping their decisions.
During our research, I familiarized myself with the literature related to the topic, devised plans to construct the experiments, and analyzed the results collected. Before participating in PURM, I have had experiences working on research projects, but have never worked closely under the mentorship of a professor on a specific project. With Professor Allon’s mentorship, I was able to apply my mathematical background to simulate real-life settings, actively pursue my own ideas and share it with the group.
PURM also benefited me incredibly by showing me all the creativity that goes on before a research paper is formalized. Before participating in PURM, I have always seen academic research as something rigid and inflexible – that every research project has to follow a series of standard procedures with little room for the researcher to improvise. During PURM, I learned from first-hand experience that every trivial thought can be something that is worth working on. I gained both the courage and enthusiasm to pursue my own ideas without worrying too much about what might go wrong.
I would like to genuinely thank Professor Allon for his mentorship and patience, as well as my partner and everyone who has coordinated with and helped me during this research experience.