4 Ideas to Manage Customer Wait Times Without Hiring More People

4 Ideas to Manage Customer Wait Times Without Hiring More People


Balancing customer experience with your budget is a difficult task. You need the right amount of staff working to keep customers happy, but not so many people that workers are standing around looking for things to do.

If your customers experience long wait times, that might be good news for you initially as it indicates your business is popular. The bad news is customers won’t wait around forever for you to fix your time management issues. If they like your goods or services, they’ll be a bit forgiving, but too many long waits will send them to your competition.

If you need to manage customer wait times without hiring more people, here are some ideas that might help.

1. Encourage customers to come in at quiet times

Every business has busy times and slow times. One way to lessen wait times is to shift customers from the busy periods to the slower ones. Offer incentives for coming in during quiet hours. For example, you could offer 10% off for customers who come in between 11 and 1, if that’s your quiet time.

Some retail establishments even encourage customers to schedule an appointment to come in, rather than just walking in. This can also help you manage customer flow.

2. Have a separate stand for complicated transactions

Complicated transactions take more time, causing your other customers to wait longer for service. Have a special station where returns are conducted, online purchases are picked up or loyalty program sign-ups are processed, for example. These transactions are not only more complex, they happen less frequently so moving them out of the regular line doesn’t add a significant workload to your staff, but decreases customer wait times overall.

3. Streamline the queue

Think about the ways you might streamline your queue so customers aren’t waiting a long time to be helped by one person. For example, you could have one employee greeting people, another asking if they need help, and someone else putting through the purchase. You could also invest in a mobile point of sale software that allows your staff to help customers anywhere they are—inside or outside the store. Point of sale (POS) software enables staff to search for information, find items, close transactions, accept payments and even print receipts, saving your customers from long waits in line.

4. Under promise and over deliver

At some point, your business will be so busy that customers will be stuck waiting for service. In those cases, under promise and over deliver. If you know something will take 3 hours, tell the customer it will take 4 hours. Customers are happier if something takes less time than expected than if it takes more.

This tactic also buys you time in case of unexpected delays.

Final Thoughts

Line-ups and wait times are inevitable, but they don’t necessarily mean you need more employees. There are solutions available to you that enhance the customer experience without you hiring more people. If you’d like to chat about technology and software programs to streamline your business operations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team.

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