Sadly, it is impossible to instantly tend to every customer’s needs. There will be moments when you have to keep someone waiting – and there’s rarely a way around this. Ironically, the waiting period is arguably one of the most critical periods you’ll ever face. During this time, customers can form opinions on your company and how you treat them. It’s so easy to lose a customer – or a potential lead – because of how you kept them waiting.
Effectively, there’s a right and wrong way of doing this. What is the right way to keep your customers waiting? Let’s find out…
Give people a waiting time
As a customer, the worst situation is being forced to wait without understanding how long things will take. This happens often on the phone, but it can also happen in the flesh. People may come to your business for an appointment, but you’re running behind schedule and they need to sit in a waiting room for who knows how long.
When possible, provide a waiting time estimate. Let your customers know how long they’re going to be waiting. It makes things easier as they see an ending in sight. On the phone, think about telling them how many callers are in front of them. Keep updating this information so they know when they’re edging closer. It can also make some customers hang up the phone and try again later if the queue is too long, stopping them from sticking around and getting annoyed.
Provide some form of entertainment
It’s incredibly boring when you are stuck in a line waiting for something to happen. This is commonplace in a lot of businesses, sometimes forcing potential customers to get up and leave. To avoid missing out on money like this, you should provide some form of entertainment to keep people happy as they wait.
Consider installing big TVs around your premises for people to look at and watch stuff while they wait. There are services you can use that load up channels to play funny videos and entertaining content all day long. Think about channels like the Pet Collective, which shows loads of pet memes and funny videos. Instantly, everyone that’s waiting has something to capture their attention while they’re in line or sitting in the waiting room. It makes the wait seem shorter and less annoying!
Improve your customer service
Finally, you need to know that there’s an acceptable and unacceptable waiting period. It’s okay to keep someone waiting for a few minutes, maybe even up to 10. But, anything beyond this, and you are asking for trouble. It is simply too long and you must change your customer service to prevent delays from getting this extended.
Think about hiring new staff to see more people at once, or increasing the size of your premises if you run a restaurant business to cater to more customers. There are lots of things you can do to reduce waiting times, which ensures you don’t keep people waiting for longer than is acceptable.
Remember, you can’t avoid waiting times in most instances. The trick is minimizing the time people have to wait, and then making the experience less annoying for them. Master this, and you will improve customer satisfaction.