IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • 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)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ety Zohar & Avishai Mandelbaum & Nahum Shimkin, 2002. "Adaptive Behavior of Impatient Customers in Tele-Queues: Theory and Empirical Support," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(4), pages 566-583, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:4:p:566-583

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leclerc, France & Schmitt, Bernd H & Dube, Laurette, 1995. " Waiting Time and Decision Making: Is Time like Money?," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 110-119, June.
    2. Friedman, Hershey H. & Friedman, Linda W., 1997. "Reducing the "wait" in waiting-line systems: Waiting line segmentation," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 54-58.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Pengfei Guo & Paul Zipkin, 2007. "Analysis and Comparison of Queues with Different Levels of Delay Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(6), pages 962-970, June.
    2. Noah Gans & Yong-Pin Zhou, 2007. "Call-Routing Schemes for Call-Center Outsourcing," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 9(1), pages 33-50, May.
    3. Lawrence Brown & Noah Gans & Avishai Mandelbaum & Anat Sakov & Haipeng Shen & Sergey Zeltyn & Linda Zhao & Novemer, "undated". "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.
    4. Z. Justin Ren & Yong-Pin Zhou, 2008. "Call Center Outsourcing: Coordinating Staffing Level and Service Quality," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(2), pages 369-383, February.
    5. 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.
    6. repec:spr:queues:v:86:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11134-017-9521-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Ward Whitt, 2005. "Engineering Solution of a Basic Call-Center Model," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(2), pages 221-235, February.
    8. Ward Whitt, 2004. "Efficiency-Driven Heavy-Traffic Approximations for Many-Server Queues with Abandonments," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(10), pages 1449-1461, October.
    9. Ward Whitt, 2006. "The Impact of Increased Employee Retention on Performance in a Customer Contact Center," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 8(3), pages 235-252, January.
    10. 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.
    11. John Boudreau & Wallace Hopp & John O. McClain & L. Joseph Thomas, 2003. "On the Interface Between Operations and Human Resources Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 5(3), pages 179-202, September.
    12. 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.
    13. Gabriel R. Bitran & Juan-Carlos Ferrer & Paulo Rocha e Oliveira, 2008. "OM Forum--Managing Customer Experiences: Perspectives on the Temporal Aspects of Service Encounters," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 10(1), pages 61-83, July.
    14. Susan H. Xu & Long Gao & Jihong Ou, 2007. "Service Performance Analysis and Improvement for a Ticket Queue with Balking Customers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 53(6), pages 971-990, June.
    15. Oualid Jouini & Zeynep Akşin & Yves Dallery, 2011. "Call Centers with Delay Information: Models and Insights," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(4), pages 534-548, October.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:48:y:2002:i:4:p:566-583. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.