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Adaptive Behavior of Impatient Customers in Tele-Queues: Theory and Empirical Support

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Author Info

  • Ety Zohar

    ()
    (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel)

  • Avishai Mandelbaum

    ()
    (Faculty of Industrial Engineering, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel)

  • Nahum Shimkin

    ()
    (Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Technion, Haifa 32000, Israel)

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    Abstract

    We address the modeling and analysis of abandonments from a queue that is invisible to its occupants. Such queues arise in remote service systems, notably the Internet and telephone call centers; hence, we refer to them as tele-queues. A basic premise of this paper is that customers adapt their patience (modeled by an abandonment-time distribution) to their service expectations, in particular to their anticipated waiting time. We present empirical support for that hypothesis, and propose an M/M/m-based model that incorporates adaptive customer behavior. In our model, customer patience depends on the mean waiting time in the queue. We characterize the resulting system equilibrium (namely, the operating point in steady state), and establish its existence and uniqueness when changes in customer patience are bounded by the corresponding changes in their anticipated waiting time. The feasibility of multiple system equilibria is illustrated when this condition is violated. Finally, a dynamic learning model is proposed where customer expectations regarding their waiting time are formed through accumulated experience. We demonstrate, via simulation, convergence to the theoretically anticipated equilibrium, while addressing certain issues related to censored-sampling that arise because of abandonments.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.48.4.566.211
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 48 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 566-583

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:4:p:566-583

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    Related research

    Keywords: Exponential Queues; Abandonment; Invisible Queues; Tele-Queues; Adaptive Customer Behavior; Tele-Services; Call Centers;

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    Cited by:
    1. Krishnamoorthy, A. & Babu, S. & Narayanan, Viswanath C., 2009. "The MAP/(PH/PH)/1 queue with self-generation of priorities and non-preemptive service," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 195(1), pages 174-185, May.
    2. Lawrence Brown & Noah Gans & Avishai Mandelbaum & Anat Sakov & Haipeng Shen & Sergey Zeltyn & Linda Zhao & Novemer, . "Statistical Analysis of a Telephone Call Center: A Queueing-Science Perspective," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 03-12, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Jouini, Oualid & Dallery, Yves & Aksin, Zeynep, 2009. "Queueing models for full-flexible multi-class call centers with real-time anticipated delays," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 389-399, August.
    4. Marcos Singer & Patricio Donoso & Alan Scheller-Wolf, 2008. "Una Introducción A La Teoría De Colas Aplicada A La Gestión De Servicios," Abante, Escuela de Administracion. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 11(2), pages 93-120.

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