The one thing we all hate is standing in a line and waiting to be served. The longer we wait, the more grumpier we tend to become, especially if there are fifty customers waiting in line and only one person serving.
Time is a commodity that is in short supply and it can be very frustrating to have our time wasted due to poor customer processing techniques. Research has shown that long delays can significantly impact the overall level of customer satisfaction and in many cases, it’s the number one reason for customers choosing to shop elsewhere.
The following suggestions could possibly be incorporated into your business to speed up the service, but also to make the wait more enjoyable for your customers if they do have to wait for long periods of time.
1. Traffic control
Do your customers know where they should go for service and how they should queue? There is nothing worse than a mass of people jostling to be served and no real idea of who is next or what they should do next. As consumers, we like clear pathways and clear instructions.
2. Express service
Are there lots of people waiting for simple services that will take only a few seconds? If so, you may need an express service lane, similar to those found in larger supermarkets. For example, banks offer express payment boxes for automatic deposits and bill payments.
3. The waiting area
Is your waiting area clean, inviting and friendly, or are your customers forced to fall over other customers entering or leaving the business? Do you need to provide seats? How about some decent reading material or water?
4. Distract your customers
Can you make the wait more interesting? For example, music, a video or television. It can make a five-minute wait pass very quickly. Some businesses insist on having big clocks at the front of the queue so that you can watch every excruciating second pass as you continue to wait in line. I don’t suggest this.
5. Talk to people who are waiting
When the queue is long, go out and talk to your waiting customers. Apologise for the delay and let them know that it won’t be long. You might consider handing out a treat of some sort. You can win a lot of friends with a few Freddo frogs. Simply acknowledging people waiting in a line will go a long way to easing the pain of the wait.
6. Cater for children waiting in lines
Children having to wait in queues can easily become distracted and bored. If your business has a lot of families coming in with children, look for ways to keep them entertained, such as a children’s video showing in the background or a small play area.
7. Never forget that a queue is an opportunity
We don’t like being bombarded with messages in an intrusive way when we are waiting in line, but we are fine with some subtle forms of advertising and promotion of services. If you have a captive audience, surely this is an opportunity to let people know about new products and services – but make sure there is a great offer that gets them excited enough to ask. Standard, dull, boring “buy, buy, buy” messages tend to add to the frustration of the wait.
Any business that has to manage customers waiting in line can come up with smart ways to make the wait easier and even to make it enjoyable.
For more business tips, business coaching assistance, speak to TA Fastrack today on 07 3040 3588.