Article | Harvard Business Review | May 2011

Think Customers Hate Waiting? Not So Fast...

by Ryan W. Buell and Michael I. Norton


Managers typically look for ways to reduce wait time to increase customer satisfaction. New research suggests there's a better approach: showing customers a representation of the effort, whether literal or not, being expended on their behalf while they wait. (The prototypical example is the travel website Kayak, which shows customers each airline it searches.) Studies show that customers prefer waiting when the work being done is transparent-even when the waits are longer or the results are no better than those obtained with shorter waits.

Keywords: Customer Relationship Management; Service Delivery; Consumer Behavior; Performance Effectiveness; Customer Satisfaction;


Buell, Ryan W., and Michael I. Norton. "Think Customers Hate Waiting? Not So Fast..." Harvard Business Review 89, no. 5 (May 2011).