Where the Queue and Human Psyche Meet – Part Two

Where the Queue and Human Psyche Meet – Part Two

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Just about a month ago we wrote about the series of conscious and unconscious decisions consumers make when selecting which line to stand in and the significant emotional impact that organized vs. unorganized lines have on them.  In our Part Two on the subject of queuing and the human psyche, we look at what happens when consumers are finally in place in the queue.

At this point in the process, the experience within the queue may be the most important. Because humans have the habit of perceiving time as slower while standing still, they are at risk of becoming agitated and wildly impatient when left in a queue. This most often results in unwarranted, yet strong, negative feelings towards a retailer and in some cases, complete cart abandonment.

David Maister, a well-regarded business management consultant and professor at the Harvard Business School, suggests that in order to solve this problem, retailers must first change consumer perceptions. How? By keeping people entertained while they wait.

Being in the customer journey business for over 130 years, Tensator has led the way in doing just that.  Here are some tried and true recommendations:

  • Take advantage of consumer wait  time— try using in-queue merchandising and place innovative or sale items within your queue to keep consumers engaged and entertained. Consumers who are browsing while waiting will be occupied, making time go by faster, resulting in a more positive experience overall.
  • Implement an electronic call forward system to accelerate customer flow in the fairest and fastest way.  By serving your customers  in order of arrival rather than as a result of their choice of queue, you eliminate “wrong line” frustration.
  • Stop yelling.  Instead of having your cashiers yell, “Next!,” a single line call forward system provides a quiet and reassuring way to indicate which cashier is available via multimedia screens and friendly audio prompts that reduce wait times by 30%.

Tensator clients HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are prime examples of having successfully implemented the electronic call forward strategy.

By coupling your queue management system with exciting in-queue merchandising, and multimedia/digital signage you can significantly extend customer shopping time while they wait, while helping dramatically reduce actual and perceived wait times.