Tips to Keep Your Customers Happy While Waiting in Line
People don’t mind waiting and find it tolerable if they can see what is taking so long, reports the Harvard Business Review. Seeing the work and progress occurring can lead to a feeling of value and appreciation for the service. Although reducing wait times can keep your business moving and customers happy, it’s not necessarily the only way to improve your customer service. Here are some ideas to help manage your queue and over-deliver on service at the same time:
Monitor Your Queues
It’s difficult to know how to strategize your wait times and queues if you can’t see the big picture. Set up video cameras in your store or office that show both your customers waiting and your employees working. Look for vulnerabilities in your process from where your line is located to how quickly your employees make transactions. Your staff may need some retraining or a better procedure to keep the line moving, including keeping packaging and supplies closer to their station. Also watch to see how the line forms to see if offering one common queue can help organize and reduce wait times.
Employ a Common Queue
Get rid of multiple lines and opt for a common queue instead. Your customers may feel like the line is longer upon first glance, but experts show one line is usually more efficient than several. One line can also foster the feeling of fairness. No one wants to get stuck in the slowest line in the store and grow frustrated when a customer experiences an issue ahead of them. Instead, your staff can call each customer to the counter and keep the line moving swiftly.
Taking reservations may not be a good fit for your business, but providing a mobile pre-scheduling option can keep customers satisfied and your lines almost non-existent. Unlike taking reservations, pre-scheduling with a mobile device allows customers to register for a place in line, receive text alerts and get in a virtual queue. Customers can continue doing a little work or entertaining themselves with video and email on their iPad while monitoring their place in line. Knowing when their turn is next can help your customers relax and reduce their anxiety of how long they need to wait.
Relocate the Line
The New York Times reports that the Houston airport used to field endless complaints about the line at baggage claim. To remedy this problem, executives decided to move the arrival gates away from the baggage claim so customers had to walk longer, but wait less for their bags. Their customer complaints stopped almost completely.
Your business may not be able to push customer service counters and registers completely away from the line, but you can get creative. Consider adding lines to multiple places in your store or business to reduce the appearance of long lines. Or retailers offering entertainment can add kiosks to pre-purchase tickets and skip the long lines altogether.
Build Value While Entertaining
Not all businesses want to reduce wait times. Popular, trendy restaurants often don’t take reservations to build up the buzz and reputation as being a coveted dining spot. Instead, offer customers the option to receive a text when their table is ready and give them an approximate wait time.
Next, entertain the waiting crowd by offering free samples, a discount to get a drink or a product at a nearby retailer you’re partnering with. Free Wi-Fi service can also keep customers happy and entertained on their own terms. A live band simultaneously draws a crowd while giving waiting customers something to do while waiting for service. Retailers selling products like clothing or shoes can offer an opportunity to fill out a survey to gain valuable demographic information in exchange for a discount at the register.
Photo Credit: Image provided by Social Monsters with permission to use.