Long Lines? Here Are Some Tips to Keep Customers Entertained While Waiting

By Admin
8 Min Read

You’ve probably experienced it yourself; long serpentine queues with disgruntled, impatient customers waiting to purchase a product or service. It’s customary to see long lines in eateries, grocery stores, malls, small businesses, and theme parks like Walt Disney World.

As a business owner, it’s difficult to escape it. Apparently, Americans spend 37 billion hours per year waiting in line. With social distancing rules still in place, you’ll need to limit the number of customers accessing your premises. Inevitably, you will have waiting customers spending a considerable amount of time queuing.

Studies show that long waits dent a customer’s willingness to purchase. Therefore, you might have to employ queue management (a fancy word for entertainment) to manage customers’ expectations and improve line experience. Here are a few ways to keep customers entertained in line, reduce their perceived wait time, and fulfill customers’ needs.

1. Offer Wi-Fi and Charging Ports

Most of your customers have smartphones and will likely look for something to do on their phones as they wait. Make the wait time bearable by offering free access to Wi-Fi for checking social media, responding to emails, or watching a couple of YouTube videos.

To add value to the customer experience, take it a notch further by providing charging stations in the waiting area. Nothing is as frustrating as waiting in line with a dead phone or tablet. Combine free Wi-Fi and charging ports to offer customers a source for self-entertainment.

2. Provide Entertainment

Digital signage is a creative way to draw your customers’ attention away focusing on how long they are waiting to be serviced. Mount screens in strategic areas to display fun tidbits of information and entertainment.

With the number of pandemic deaths inching closer to the 1 million mark, people need laughter now more than ever. Include funny videos or showcase new products or services that you offer.

You can also opt to have breaking news and weather forecasts running; anything to keep your customers engaged. Your customers’ attention will divert to the entertainment, minimizing the perceived wait time.

Alternatively, look for upcoming performing artists in your locality and offer them the chance to entertain customers waiting in line. You’ll be improving the customers’ waiting experience while coincidentally providing exposure to upcoming talent.

3. Offer Refreshments

You can improve customer satisfaction by offering refreshments. The great thing about this tactic is that it doesn’t have to be extravagant; it’s the thought that counts. It simply employs the art of making your customers feel taken care of.

Offer a cold lemonade on a hot day or some tea and coffee on colder days. Have complimentary snacks as well. To show inclusion, offer snacks that cater to most customers’ preferences. Ideally, this means offering snacks that are:

  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • Sugar-free
  • Vegan

Have staff warmly welcome customers, greet them, inquire about their needs and offer refreshments. Doing this assures the customers that you have their needs in mind and will attend to them soon.

4. Free Reading Materials

Even though customers can access reading material online, some still prefer having physical reading materials. Again, you want to have something for everyone, so stock up on the daily newspaper and entertainment and finance magazines.

Some customers may have kids with them, so offer children’s reading materials or even coloring books and crayons. This will keep kids entertained, and parents will appreciate not having to deal with fussy infants in the waiting line.

5. Keep Customers Informed

Sometimes, the lines become overwhelmingly long. If you experience a delay in providing products or services to customers, let them know how long they will have to wait. Informing them of the average waiting time helps keep them satisfied and less impatient.

Additionally, offer priority seats to those who cannot stand for long, like pregnant women, kids, the disabled, and the elderly.

6. Have a Personalized Playlist

When you have multiple customers in line waiting, offer them the chance to pick a personalized playlist.

Instead of feeling like they’re wasting time waiting, allow them to listen to their favorite music genre. Alternatively, provide a platform where customers can pick their favorite videos to form a personalized video playlist.

As a result, that will keep customers engaged and entertained, possibly forgetting that they were even waiting in line.

Final Word – Entertain to Reduce Perceived Wait time

One of the key ways to keep customers entertained in line is to provide personalized playlists, free reading materials, and offering charging ports, and free Wi-Fi. That should ensure customers are sufficiently engaged and make the actual wait time as painless as possible.

Of course, you should include autonomous checkout at the point of sale (POS). That means customers can pay for services without physically scanning or paying for goods or services, eliminating the need for waiting in line.

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