The experience of waiting for service is often the first direct interaction between customers and most service delivery processes. The literature on satisfaction with waiting has paralleled the literature on general service satisfaction, in which the relative importance of actual performance, perceived performance, and the disconfirmation between expected performance and perceived performance has been the subject of much debate. This paper presents an empirical study of satisfaction with waiting for service in a fast food environment. The study demonstrates that actual waiting time, perceived waiting time, and the disconfirmation between expected waiting time and perceived waiting time are all related to satisfaction with the waiting experience. It further demonstrates that the relative importance of each of these variables in predicting satisfaction depends on the differences in the needs of the customers. The implications for both theory and practice are significant: the importance of the perception of the experience increases as the importance of the satisfaction measure increases. More specifically, for customers who are concerned about time, the perception of the time spent waiting is a better predictor of satisfaction than the actual waiting time.
Davis, M.M. and Heineke, J. (1998), "How disconfirmation, perception and actual waiting times impact customer satisfaction", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 64-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/09564239810199950
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