讲座题目：The Psychology of Virtual Queue: When Waiting Feels Less Like Waiting
主 讲 人：许 洵
许洵，现任美国加州州立大学多明格斯山分校商学院信息系统与运营管理系副教授。分别取得华盛顿州立大学运营管理博士学位、中国人民大学硕士学位、以及复旦大学管理科学专业学士学位。近年来在Decision Sciences、Decision Support Systems、European Journal of Operational Research、Journal of Business Research、Journal of the Operational Research Society、International Journal of Production Economics、International Journal of Production Research、Omega等期刊发表论文六十余篇。担任Production and Operations Management、Journal of Operations Management等期刊审稿人。
Customers typically judge a service's waiting based on their perception, which is often longer than the actual waiting time. Thus, managing perceived waiting time is key for service providers and leads to various psychology-based approaches, including a rising star -- Virtual Queue (VQ). VQ allows customers to join a queue for services remotely through a mobile app or online portal and receive frequent updates about the remaining waiting time and queue position. In this research, we investigate the impact of VQ on customers' waiting complaints in two stages: the pre-process period (waiting before service) and the in-process period (waiting during service), and their overall satisfaction. We use a text mining approach based on deep learning to extract waiting complaints in the two stages from over 0.72 million online customer reviews covering major U.S. casual dining chain restaurants from February 2015 to February 2019. Then we conduct difference-in-differences regressions facilitated by propensity score matching to estimate the impact of VQ on customer complaints in the two waiting stages and overall satisfaction. We find that VQ reduces customers' pre-process waiting complaints and does not lead to a negative spillover effect on in-process waiting complaints increase. VQ also enhances customers' overall satisfaction with the service. In addition, the impacts of VQ become effective from the first year of its implementation and remain unchanged afterward. We find that service providers who face high substitutability or offer low-value service are benefited most from VQ. Our study encourages service providers to implement VQ for managing customers' perceived pre-process waiting time without fearing backfire on in-process waiting. VQ also helps service providers generate positive word-of-mouth through improved customers' overall satisfaction reflected online. Judging based on a service's substitutability and value, service providers can determine whether to implement VQ in their best interest.