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Article
Publication date: 26 September 2019

Yu Zhang and Bing-Jia Shao

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence mechanism of waiting time on customer satisfaction based on first impression bias, which explains how customers…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence mechanism of waiting time on customer satisfaction based on first impression bias, which explains how customers’ perceived service-entry waiting time (PSWT) influences their first impression of service staff and satisfaction in the context of online service. Furthermore, the moderating effect of three information formats (formal, informal and hybrid) of opening remark on the relationship between PSWT and first impression, and the moderating effect of perceived in-service waiting time (PIWT) on the relationship between first impression and customer satisfaction are investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies were used to verify the research model. First, an experiment on prepurchase consulting services for cruise tourism products was designed, and 810 Chinese individuals have participated. Second, 20 interviews with e-commerce practitioners in China were conducted.

Findings

The results show that, first, PSWT negatively influences customers’ first impression of service staff. Second, customers prefer the hybrid format to present opening remarks, which not only conveys the respect of the staff but also fosters a relationship. Third, in-service waits are equally as important as service-entry waits in online service. When PIWT is longer, the positive influence of first impression on customer satisfaction is weakening, resulting in lower customer satisfaction.

Practical implications

This study provides suggestions for online service enterprises to minimize the negative impact of waiting time and improve customer satisfaction through waiting time management.

Originality/value

This study provides a new perspective for exploring the mechanism of waiting time on customer satisfaction in online service context, and extends previous research related to waiting time by exploring the influence of waiting time in multiple service stages and expression modes of service staff.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 29 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

Keywords

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