Optimal Uniform Pricing Strategy of a Service Firm When Facing Two Classes of Customers



When facing heterogeneous customers, how should a service firm make its pricing decision to maximize revenue? If discrimination is allowed, then priority schemes and differentiated pricing are often used to achieve that. In many applications, however, the firm cannot or is not allowed to set discriminatory prices, for example, list price in retail stores, online shopping, and gas stations; thus a uniform price must be applied to all customers. This study addresses the optimal uniform pricing problem of a service firm using a queueing system with two classes of customers. Our result shows that the potential pool of customers plays a central role in the firm's optimal decision. Depending on the range of system parameters, which are determined explicitly by the primitive data, the firm's optimal strategy may choose to serve only one class of customers, a subset of a class of customers, or a combination of different classes of customers. In addition, the optimal price is in general not monotonic with respect to the potential market sizes because their changes may lead to a major shift in the firm's decision on which customer class to serve. However, unless such a shift occurs, the optimal price is weakly decreasing in the potential market sizes.