How long are your customers actually spending waiting? Even a few minutes spent on hold, during processing and physically waiting for an appointment add up. Every minute your customers spend waiting could be costing you.

Dealing with high volumes of customers can be chaotic, but there are risks for your business if you’re not providing your customers with a positive experience.

The 21st-century consumer does not like to wait. In a world that is increasingly centred around instant gratification, your company could be losing out if it is holding people up. Smart phones mean that your customers can research your competitors while they’re stuck, dissatisfied in your queue. And you have every reason to be concerned about this – not only will negatively-skewed wait times impact your customers’ immediately ensuing interactions with your company, it can impact all of their future interactions.

“But they can’t get our service from anywhere else” we hear you say – that’s even worse! Disengaged customers stuck idly in a queue with no other options are at risk of becoming vocal detractors – either on social media, to their friends in a message or on the phone, or in-store. The cost of turning a previously engaged customer into a detractor is immeasurable.

What can you do to stop this from happening?

• Manage queues – systems that reduce ‘wait times’ by creating an accurate staffing /efficiency solution will ensure customers’ wait times are kept to an absolute minimal. It also reduces the perception of waiting when customers are strategically dispersed within the waiting area and not standing in a line.

• Keep people engaged – unfilled time seems longer and can be anxiety-inducing. Creating environments where people aren’t forced to be cooped up in a holding pen with nothing to do can stop impatience creeping in

• Communicate regularly – we’ve all been in a waiting room questioning whether we’ve been forgotten. Removing the sense of “maybe I should check I didn’t miss my name being called while I was in the bathroom” or “did they actually catch my name when I first arrived?” can help to banish the wait time blues. Giving people an indication of where they are in the queue removes some of the uncertainty that leads to displeasure

• Do as much as possible online – take a leaf out of Apple’s books and move a portion of the registration process online to streamline the experience

Queues for the bathroom are unavoidable. Waiting to pick the kids up from school, or for a seat at a trendy new café are a part of life. But the stress to your customers and staff brought on by queues and waiting is not – it may even become a thing of the past. Rather than having elaborate plans in place to douse the flames of damaging wait times, seek to address them and avoid those dangerous sparks of discontent altogether.

We’re running a free webinar about the psychology of waiting on November 22nd with Freya Elliot, Principal at The Customer Experience Company. Reserve your spot to learn how to increase customer satisfaction when they’re waiting.

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In a world of instant gratification and advancing technology, queues can be a source of great frustration. Many organisations today are concerned about the impact on customer satisfaction when waiting in queues. Join NEXA, together with The Customer Experience Company, as we delve into the psychology of waiting. We’ll explore the 8 factors that influence the waiting experience and some quick wins to minimise the impact of waiting. We’ll share real life case studies to highlight how good customer flow results in great customer satisfaction and tools to manage queues and reduce wait times.