## Perception MattersI lenjoyed reading the following from
This reminded of this:
Seems this is more of a good joke than a real story (see The What is the commonality? In both case, the business problem is similar: reduce customer dissatisfaction due to waiting. How would it be solved using optimization? An optimization expert would map this to the mathematical problem of decreasing waiting time, because the mathematical value of This looks good, yet it is not what is exemplified by the above two stories. In these stories, customer satisfaction improved Does it mean that optimization should be thrown away? I don't think so. What needs to be revisited is how the business problem is mapped to a mathematical problem. The mathematical problem should have a more accurate proxy for customer satisfaction than waiting time. Satisfaction is a function of more than waiting time. Where the wait happens is of interest. What people can do during wait is of interest. There is probably more. When optimizing we should look at the space ranged by all variables, and not just what is spanned by wait time alone. There is a caveat though. In order to apply optimization, we need to quantify how satisfaction depends on other variables. This would probably warrant some psychological studies and analysis of the resulting data.
A reader, Ehsan, commented that some operations research textbooks discuss the above topic, see the comments below. Few days after I wrote this blog, the Washington Post published an interesting article on a similar topic. |