Why wait? Impact of waiting lines on self-service technology use

Alinda Kokkinou, David A. Cranage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of the present study is to examine the effect of waiting lines on customers’ decisions between using a self-service alternative and using a service employee. As self-service technologies are expensive and time-consuming to design and implement, service providers need to understand what drives customers to use them. Service operators have the most control over waiting lines and flexibility in expanding capacity, either by adding service employees or by adding self-service kiosks. Design/methodology/approach – The study used online scenario-based surveys following a 4 (number of customers waiting for the self-service technology)[1]4 (number of customers waiting for the service employee) design.Abinary dependent variable was used to record participants’ choice of service delivery alternative. Findings – Using logistic regression, the authors found that customers are increasingly motivated to use self-service technology as the waiting line for the service employee grows longer. This effect is influenced by perceived usefulness, anticipated quality of the self-service technology, need for interaction and technology anxiety. Research limitations/implications – This study should be replicated in a real-world setting where actual behavior, and not only intention, can be measured. Practical implications – The study provides guidance on how service providers can design their service to take advantage of the motivating effect of waiting lines on usage of self-service technology. Originality/value – The present study is the first to combine a scenario-based experiment with a binary dependent variable to isolate the impact of waiting lines on the choice between using a self-service technology and using a service employee. The use of the binary dependent variable overcomes the ambiguity of extrapolating from a continuous measure of intention to draw conclusions about behavior, a binary variable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1197
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 10 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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