A Study Unveils the Evolution of Impatience Felt During Waiting Periods

Published by Cédric - Thursday, February 15, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Article Author: Cédric DEPOND
Source: Social Psychological and Personality Science

In our society, where waiting is commonplace, whether online, in queues, in traffic jams, or while awaiting deliveries, a question arises: which phase is the hardest to endure when eagerly anticipating something? A new study sheds light on this question.

The research has interesting implications for marketing and psychology professionals, states Annabelle Roberts, co-author and assistant professor of marketing at the [i]University of Texas McCombs School of Business.


Illustrative image from Pixabay

Through six studies conducted by Annabelle Roberts and her colleagues, participants experienced the highest levels of impatience as the end of the waiting period approached, regardless of the time they had already spent waiting. Each study measured consumer reactions to waiting for real-life events, ranging from the 2020 election results or the first injection of a COVID-19 vaccine to the arrival of a bus or a package.

The underlying cause of this impatience is likely just the desire to be done with the wait. As the wait draws to a close, the desire intensifies, along with the impatience. After all, who hasn't experienced the growing restlessness, even as the duration of the wait undeniably decreases over time?

Thus, according to the study, businesses should communicate possible delays at the beginning of the wait rather than informing the customer at the last moment, as the experienced frustration would not be the same. Indeed, it's better to overestimate a waiting period than to underestimate it. If the wait is perceived as less burdensome, the customer will evaluate the service more positively.

The document detailing this study by Annabelle Roberts, co-authored with Ayelet Fishbach from the University of Chicago, has just been published in Social Psychological and Personality Science[/I]
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