This paper aims to investigate the optimal price and service rate decisions in a customer-intensive service, where customers’ perceived service quality decreases in the service speed. Customers are assumed to be forward-looking in purchase decision-making and heterogeneous in their reservation utilities. The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of customers’ forward-looking behavior and the heterogeneity on the operational decisions in a customer-intensive context.
The service is delivered through an M/M/1 queue system with unobservable queues. Customers are forward-looking in queue joining decisions, where the purchase decisions are made when the expected utility is greater than the reservation utility. The optimal price and service rate decisions are analyzed with both homogeneous and heterogeneous customers, where homogenous customers have the same reservation utility in purchase decision-making, while heterogeneous customers have different reservation utilities, which are captured by a random variable.
The optimal price and service rate decisions with forward-looking customers depend on the customer intensity, potential market size and customers’ reservation utility distribution. The results suggest that customers’ heterogeneity in terms of their reservation utilities affects the optimal decisions, market coverage and the expected revenue. Service providers need to take customers’ heterogeneity and the forward-looking behavior into operational decision-making.
This paper extends previous studies in customer-intensive service and contribute to the service operations management area by explicitly incorporating customers’ forward-looking behavior and heterogeneity in purchase decision-making. Assuming customers are forward-looking and heterogeneous is more realistic and practical. The results highlight that knowing customers’ behavioral characteristics can better improve decision-making in service operations, which is critical for enhancing customers’ satisfaction and loyalty, thus critical to a firm’s success in the market with intensive competition.
This research was supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant No. 71502044, China Postdoctoral Science Foundation Grant No. 2015M570300, and the research grant from Harbin Institute of Technology.
Li, C., Jiang, M. and Yuan, X. (2018), "Managing operations in customer-intensive services with forward-looking customers", Kybernetes, Vol. 47 No. 10, pp. 1941-1955. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-11-2017-0436Download as .RIS
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