Your Customers Are Only Willing to Wait 5 Minutes – What Are You Going to Do About It?

January 22, 2014Perry Kuklin

According to a post appearing on Upstream Commerce’s blog, 70% of retail leaders responding to a TimeTrade survey, believe their in-store customers are willing to wait 5 minutes or less for service before going elsewhere. That is right, 5 minutes. Whether waiting for a question to be answered, searching for a particular item or waiting in line to checkout, your customers only have enough patience for 5 minutes. As a retailer what can you do to make sure you don’t lose a customer because he had to wait too long?

Focus on efficiency in the queue

Your queue management system is an application of operational efficiency and as you move more customers through the line you complete more transactions and therefore increase sales. Take a look at your entire customer flow from the time a customer enters the store to the time they leave the premises. Your goal should be to maximize this flow through real-time monitoring that includes addressing the queue and the point of transaction.

queuing management reporting

With real-time monitoring, a manager can address issues in the queue when they first start to develop. A trend showing a line that is starting to get too long can be immediately rectified through adding another agent or reconfiguring the line before the situation gets out of control. Optimize agent efficiency by monitoring how long it takes your agents to complete transactions and comparing the statistics to your set goals. If an agent is falling behind you can address the reasons why before any damage occurs due to longer wait times and potential lost sales.

Improve the customer experience

According to the Upstream Commerce blog post, 60% of retailers surveyed believe their customers are missing a “personalized experience” while they’re shopping. This answer was ranked above “knowledgeable employees” and “better/faster service.” Improving the customer experience to meet the demands of a “new consumer” that is self-educated, highly mobile and has numerous buying options at their fingertips, both in-store and online, will be key to retaining high satisfaction levels and increased loyalty. Customers want to feel special, not one of a “crowd.” Personalize their experience to give yourself the competitive edge necessary to combat challenges such as showrooming and remain successful in today’s retail world.

Queuing technology

Utilize mobile technology

Consider bringing mobile technology into the mix. Today’s shoppers relate to mobile and communicate well via smartphones and other devices. You can ensure that you are reaching them in a way that they are receptive to your messages. Adding applications that allow customers to build their shopping list before stepping in-store or registering for customer service ahead of time brings a personal and efficient touch your customers will be thankful for. Do not be left behind by retail trends or your customers. Focus on efficiency while improving your customer experience to create happy, loyal customers that cannot wait until the next time they get to come see you.

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