Yes I Mind Waiting
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10 ways to reduce lineup
stress for staff and customers
How do you let
a cashier know
that you’re in a hurry when you’re waiting in line?
look at you
watch and shake your head
and roll your eyes
others in the line
say to the
person at the till, “We’re in a hurry
all of the
answered positively to
any of these options, then you’re like most of us who definitely do
are frustrating. They
are barriers that prevent customers from fulfilling necessary and often
tasks. That means that if you don’t manage your lineups properly,
business due to customer frustration.
Not to mention your staff will be stressed-out. That’s a
think the best
way to manage a lineup is to get the staff to work faster.
Often, this only creates
worse problems. Consider
the impact on your staff of trying
to work at full speed. It’s
to go flat-out without eventual burn-out.
Morale drops. Turnover
employees make more mistakes;
which take even more time to fix.
for the negative impact of
working faster on your customers.
a fool would want tired, aggravated employees interacting with
Working faster to get through a line-up cuts short the human
creates customer feelings of loyalty.
In the long
faster doesn’t work. Instead,
ways to reduce the stress of lineups for both customers and staff -
working faster. Here
customer in advance
frustrated by the
long waiting-room lineup to see a doctor?
(I, know- stupid question).
Though delays can happen for legitimate medical reasons,
offices reduce patient frustration by phoning in advance and warning
customer calls and
says that they plan to come in, suggest the best times for them to
time for preparatory tasks
If you know
the customer will
have some “preliminaries” when they arrive - such as filling out forms,
that they arrive early to complete them before the scheduled
3. Acknowledge people entering the line
Too often, the
first time the
employee acknowledges the customer is when they get to the
front of the line. That means a person who wants to spend
being deliberately ignored. Lousy
with a “Hi there!” or “I’ll be with you in just a few
enter the lineup.
waiting if they can avoid standing in line and yet still keep their
restaurants and medical offices give
customers pagers so they can go shopping while they wait. They’re paged
before it’s their turn.
and entertain the customer
that the best way to speed-up a slow elevator was not
to add a faster motor.
Instead, they added mirrors to the inside of the elevator.
People got so caught-up in
themselves they thought the ride was twice as fast.
Lesson: you can reduce the perceived
length of the lineup with a
- Restaurants could offer reading material to
people who are dining
- Disney theme parks provide video updates
about the ride you waiting
- any unusual conversation piece will take your
customer on a mental
holiday. A Orlando
hotel distracts guests waiting to register by herding live ducks to the
fountain in the lobby.
seating, food and
drink. On busy Saturdays, a Calgary
car wash brings you free pop and hot dogs while you wait in your
frazzled nerves for
everyone by providing a play area for toddlers.
Parents will love you for it.
customer of progress
Even if you’re
ready for the customer, you can still let them know you’re working on
behalf. A travel
agent, for example, can
phone the client to inform them that they’ve booked the flights, and
on the hotel.
If it’s an
delay, apologize to the customer, explain the delay and thank them for
When a pharmacist explained to me that his assistant had quit that day,
was short staffed, I didn’t mind the wait. If he hadn’t pointed that
wouldn’t have returned.
staff at no extra
your lineups are sporadic you
can increase capacity on the spot without spending extra money. Carol
manager of a Greyhound Courier Depot, installed a doorbell under the
counter. When the
teller notices more
than 2 people is line, he discretely rings the doorbell signaling to a
co-worker in the back to come to assist at the front counter.
Bottom line -
no one likes
lineups. But that’s no reason to ask staff to burn themselves
out. By getting creative you’ll
boost your repeat
business, and you’ll make the buying experience more pleasant for
what I call win/win.
About the Author
and corporate trainer. His focus
is, “The Art of Client
Influence with Ease.”® For
self-study kits, and information about booking Jeff
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