David Maister authored a brilliant article entitled, “The Psychology of Waiting Lines,” identifying eight anxiety-inducing reasons why people loathe waiting in line.
It’s fair to assume that we can ALL relate that waiting is the hardest part:
- Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time;
- People want to get started;
- Anxiety makes wait seem longer;
- Uncertain waits are longer than known, finite waits;
- Unexplained waits are longer than explained waits;
- Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits;
- The more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait;
- And solo waits feel longer than group waits.
As the Director of Client Experience at Qless, these 8 reasons help us improve the customer experience and do something about the way customers wait in line.
To manage your customer’s experience, I recommend 5 ways to reduce customer wait anxiety:
1. Provide distractions for customers waiting in the office to occupy their minds, making the wait seem shorter. Recently I visited an Urgent Care that had posted thought-provoking questions such as “If you could change your name, what would you change it to?” and “Name three food items you disliked as a child but enjoy now.” Some businesses and agencies will provide a television in the waiting area and make magazines and trivia games available to waiting customers.
2. Acknowledge customers in line and provide regular updates. A greeter or host can also ensure customers that they are in line and won’t lose their spot if they leave.
3. Allow a “grace period” for so that your customers know that they won’t be excluded if they arrive late.
4. Offer a customer survey. To promote exceptional service from the first moment the customer interacts with your organization all the way through to the end, a customer survey is invaluable tool to gather feedback and gain valuable insight into areas for improvement. And if your customers know that they’ll be rating your services, it will incentivize your staff to offer the best experience.
5. Consider a queuing system with remote check-in to eliminate lines. With Qless, you can eradicate crowded waiting areas, increase staff productivity, and decrease operating costs. Our cloud-based platform offers an easy way for your customers to join a virtual queue via our app, phone call, text, website, or an on-site kiosk. Timely updates and notifications alert your customers as they move to the front of the queue so they’re always kept in the loop with forecast wait times and can tend to other business while they wait.
If you have stories, ideas, or creative ways you’ve managed the customer wait experience at your organization, please share them with us!