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Caller Reactions to Telephone Waiting Nira Munichor With: Anat Rafaeli, Nahum Shimkin, Mor Armony and Liad Weiss Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.

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Presentation on theme: "Caller Reactions to Telephone Waiting Nira Munichor With: Anat Rafaeli, Nahum Shimkin, Mor Armony and Liad Weiss Technion – Israel Institute of Technology."— Presentation transcript:

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3 Caller Reactions to Telephone Waiting Nira Munichor With: Anat Rafaeli, Nahum Shimkin, Mor Armony and Liad Weiss Technion – Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management

4 “It's best to make the most of whatever patience people have, rather than to have a really annoying phone waiting system that gets people upset even before they've got to talk to the company's staff! Getting this right can keep customers happy. So, why do companies get it wrong? Why do so many companies have such an annoying badly designed telephone waiting system? It's because the people designing the phone waiting system for the company don't road-test it.”

5 How Do We Get It Right? Basic hypothesis: There are some waiting-time fillers that can mitigate negative reactions to telephone waiting Are time fillers important vehicles for mitigating negative reactions? Intuitively, yes. Customers and service providers are physically distant and the queue is invisible. Thus customers are likely to judge the quality of service primarily according to the way their wait is filled BUT, we must scientifically support our intuition! We also want to know why…

6 Toward Scientific Examination Field study?Lab study?Semi-field study! What are we expecting to observe? What is the right setting to examine these? What are the operational variables? 1. Time fillers affect caller reactions 2. Different fillers have different influence on reactions Independent: Waiting-time fillerDifferent fillers Dependent: Caller reactionsAbandonment Satisfaction

7 Method People called a lab to sign up for experiments Callers heard two phone rings and then a short introduction. Callers were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: –Music; or –Apologies; or –Location information After waiting callers were asked for their evaluations (e.g., “To what extent did you find the wait pleasant?” )

8 Designing the Experiment

9 Results –Abandonment rate varied significantly between the experimental conditions χ²(2, N=123)=11.21, p<.005, Phi=.30 –music (P=69.4%) > location information (P=35.9%) –apologies (P=66.7%) > location information (P=35.9%) –music = apologies –Satisfaction varied significantly between the experimental conditions F(2,45)=10.71, p<.0001, η²=.32 –music (M=2.87) < location information (M=3.82) –apologies (M=2.58) < location information (M=3.82) –music = apologies Effect size

10 Conclusions – Different time fillers produce different caller abandonment rate and satisfaction – Location information produces lowest abandonment rate and greatest satisfaction Great, but I’m a psychologist… So, what it is about the location-information filler that makes people more likely to stay on hold and to be satisfied with their tele- waiting experience? More generally, what is the psychological mechanism underlying reactions to time- fillers?

11 Two Mechanisms and Two Contradictory Predictions A model of subjective time estimation (Zakay & Hornik, 1991) –Subjective time is the temporal information obtained through mental vehicles called ‘cognitive timers‘ –Subjective time is a direct positive correlate of the amount of attention focused on the passage of time –Factors that draw attention away from the passage of time halt the operation of cognitive timers –Such factors are therefore likely to reduce the perceived duration of a wait and, as a result, to increase satisfaction 1. Perceived Waiting Time

12 Hypothesis: Time fillers that create a sense of shorter waiting time will produce more positive caller reactions than fillers that create a sense of longer waiting time Perceived waiting time is a mediator between the filler and caller reactions Talking operationally… music > apologies, location information Filler Caller reactions Perceived waiting time focus caller attention on the passage of time

13 Two Mechanisms and Two Contradictory Predictions –People crave a sense of progress toward desired goals –Control theories of self-regulation (e.g., Carver & Scheier, 1990, 1998): Behavior is regulated by the perceived distance between a desired goal and current position vis-à-vis that goal –Positive reactions should accompany progress toward desired goals 2. Sense of Progress in the Queue

14 Hypothesis: Time fillers that create a stronger sense of progress will produce more positive caller reactions than fillers that create a weaker sense of progress Sense of progress is a mediator between the filler and caller reactions Talking operationally… location information > music > apologies Filler Caller reactions Sense of progress communicates that one is getting closer to the service suggest that the queue is not moving

15 Toward Scientific Examination What are we expecting to observe if perceived waiting time is the mediator? Based on Baron and Kenny (1986): 1. Different fillers have different influence on reactions 2. Different time fillers create different sense of time 3. Different sense of time produces different reactions 4. Having 2 and 3, 1 diminishes Filler Caller reactions Perceived waiting time 23 1

16 Toward Scientific Examination What are we expecting to observe if sense of progress is the mediator? 1. Different fillers have different influence on reactions 2. Different time fillers create different sense of progress 3. Different sense of progress produces different reactions 4. Having 2 and 3, 1 diminishes What is the right setting to examine these? Lab study!

17 Method People “called” a fictitious call center from a lab computer They heard two rings and a message asking them to wait They were randomly assigned to one of the three experimental conditions Participants who pressed the “hang-up” key saw the message “Your wish to hang up was noted” but continued to wait After the full wait participants were asked for their self-reported responses

18 Designing the Experiment Questionnaire: 1.Satisfaction (Cronbach's Alpha =.82.) 2.Perceived time (Test-retest reliability r=.73) “ How long did you wait? ___ minutes _____ seconds” 3.Sense of progress (Cronbach's Alpha =.94) e.g., “ Did you feel you were making progress toward the end of the wait?”

19 Results Time Fillers and Caller Abandonment FillerAbandonment Perceived waiting time Sense of progress location information < music, apologies

20 Results Time Fillers and Caller Satisfaction FillerSatisfaction Perceived waiting time Sense of progress location information > apologies

21 Conclusions – Location information was superior to music in the abandonment rate and satisfaction it yielded – Location information was superior to music in the abandonment rate but not in the satisfaction it yielded – Music and apologies did not differ in sense of progress, perceived time or reactions –The sense of progress fillers produce can predict reactions of people in the tele-queue

22 Work In Progress Modeling On-Hold Patience as a Function of Expectancies Expectation Time until hanging-up ?

23 Work In Progress – When a system is loaded, does having the possibility to leave one’s details enhance perceived control? – Does it enhance perceived justice? – Does greater perceived control and/or justice improve reactions? – Does the decision to leave a message depends on one’s trust? – Does greater trust enhance perceive control and/or justice? The Effect of Perceived Control, Justice and Trust on Caller Reactions

24 Type of Waiting Perceive Control Perceive Justice Reactions Trust Music Organization’s message + music Possibility to leave details + music

25 Work In Progress – Three (?) types of message: –No message –An apology: “We are sorry to keep you waiting” –A reason: “Our representatives are currently busy” – Note that neither is informative –Which of these can produce the best reactions? A message that includes a reason? Is it because of increased sense of justice? The Effect of the Content of the Organization’s Message on Perceived Justice and Caller Reactions


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