4 Ways to Reduce Perceived Wait Time up to 40% with Queue Management Technology
When it comes to customer satisfaction and your waiting lines, it might actually be more important to manage the perception of the wait over the reality of the wait. Working from the old adage that perception equals reality, a customer’s idea about how long they’ve been waiting or how miserable or pleasant that wait has been is perhaps more or at least equally as important as the actual amount of time they’ve spent waiting.
Think about your own life and a time where you had to wait but it was over before you knew it. Now think about another time where you swore you had been waiting, painstakingly, forever even though it’s entirely possible it was only a handful of minutes.
Field studies from Lavi have shown that queue management technology can help cut perceived wait times up to 40% and therefore improve customer satisfaction. Here are 4 ways:
1. FREE CUSTOMERS TO SHOP WHILE THEY WAIT
Through virtual queuing technology, you can free customers to continue shopping while they wait. This is an obvious choice for a retail environment where perhaps you have customers waiting for a dressing room or for specialized shopping assistance. Allowing customers to check in then walk around and continue to shop while they wait not only reduces their perceived wait time by keeping them occupied, it can also increase your impulse sales. Win-win.
2. DISPLAY ESTIMATED WAIT TIMES
Queue management technology can integrate with digital signage, your mobile app, or SMS messaging so you can automatically inform customers of their estimated wait times. This is important because studies show that known waits feel shorter than unknown waits. In other words, when customers know how long they’ll be expected to wait, they are less likely to overestimate the time. Perception managed.
3. ENTERTAIN WITH DIGITAL SIGNAGE
Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time. This tenet of queuing made popular by expert, David Maister, explains that when a customer is distracted from focusing on the passage of time, waiting seems to pass more quickly. Digital signage in the waiting area can be used to display entertaining content to engage customers and keep their minds off the wait.
4. STAY IN TOUCH VIA MOBILE
Another of Maister’s tenets of queuing is that anxiety makes the wait seem longer. When customers are unsure of their status in the queue, this can create a sense of anxiety. In fact, once a wait lasts longer than 3 minutes the perceived wait time multiplies with each passing minute. For this reason, consider staying in touch via mobile — this can be your app or through two-way texting. If your customers are out and about, either running other errands or continuing to shop while they wait, you can use queue management technology to send updates about the length of the wait and their place in the queue. You can also allow them to text back to request more time if they’re running late. Goodbye stress.
Reducing perceived wait times is just one of the many useful applications for queue management technology. How will your customers react to a wait that feels shorter and more enjoyable? With these ideas, you can make it happen.