While it may not be the first thing you think of when considering the parts of a great customer experience, perceived wait time is invariably one of the most important factors in his or her journey. Fortunately, understanding how to create an engaging, positive waiting experience has a lot to do with human psychology.
At essence, people like clarity, fairness and a feeling that they are valued. We dislike ambiguity and disorganization. As that relates to your customer journey, it comes down to this – the more uncertainty your customer or patient experiences, the higher their perceived wait time will be.
It’s important to remember that in the customer experience, there is a clear cause and effect relationship in play. The higher the perceived wait time, the lower the satisfaction with the customer experience. The lower their satisfaction with their experience, more potential damage to your brand.
So how can retailers, clinics, government facilities, and financial institutions create a customer journey that has the lowest possible perceived waiting times? We think it comes down to three main focus areas – engage, inform, and entertain.
Engage From the moment someone walks into your establishment, they should be engaged with personal greetings, informative signage, and productive tasks. A feeling of welcome and clarity can help to alleviate tension and uncertainty. Resources like self-check-in kiosks, an informed mobile workforce, and clear digital signage can go a long way to giving your customer or patient a productive, fulfilling customer journey from start to finish.
Inform More than likely, you can list your ‘frequently asked questions’ without too much trouble. Whether you know that people will need directions to navigate your environment, or they would benefit from learning something while they await an appointment, or they just want to understand where they are in the queue, it’s better to err on the side of over-communicating. Providing things like directions printed on kiosk tickets and vision and sound prompts proactively offer information – keeping the customer or patient informed and calm, and also helping your employees to stay focused on their work, rather than fielding FAQs.
Entertain More than 80% of people pull out their phone to pass the time while waiting at a doctor’s office, bank, DMV, etc. Entertaining information and games keep us happily distracted. By integrating unique offerings like the MyFunWait™ mobile app, you can keep your customers delighted by a game activity and informed about their place in the queue, all at once. Cohesive, immersive resources like MyFunWait™ not only reduce the perceived wait time, they create a fun brand association.
Never forget that uncertainty is the bane of a great customer experience. By engaging, informing, and entertaining, you enable your customers and patients to feel more at ease and in control of their journey. Lowering the perceived wait time has a direct and measurable impact on customer satisfaction. And as we all know, word of mouth can drive the value of your brand – and your bottom line – in either direction. Now’s the time to put the resources in place for an engaging, informative and entertaining environment.