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4 Ways to Distract Your Customers From Long Lines

In the apparel retail industry your customers or clients often need to wait for fitting rooms and wait for you to grab their product or complete a transaction. Did you know you could significantly improve your business by distracting them while they wait?

Modern attention spans are shorter than ever, and a wait that may seem short to you may feel excruciatingly long to your customers. If you give them something to do while they wait, though, the time will seemingly fly by, and they won’t notice that they’ve been waiting at all.

Businesses have known the importance of these distractions for a long time- that’s why waiting rooms have magazines, kids get crayons at restaurants, and music plays when you’re on the phone and get put on hold. No matter what your business is, if waiting is part of the transaction, then you need to know how to make waiting in line better for your customers. This article should help you get some ideas.

1.      Impulse Products

Never underestimate the power of an impulse purchase. Supermarkets have magazines in their checkout lines not only to give customers something to look at while they wait for their turn at the register but also to inspire them to buy just one more product. In 2009, the average wait time at a grocery store in America was somewhere between three and four minutes.

This gives a customer just enough time to open up a magazine and get hooked on a story, but not quite enough time to finish that story. Chances are, they’ll end up buying the magazine, which ups your profits in addition to lowering their perception of the wait.

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2.      Technology

Chili’s Grill & Bar came up with a fascinating idea for lowering the perception of the wait at their restaurants- they put a tablet on each of their tables that lets customers look at the menu, order refills, play games, and even pay their tab. Just like with impulse products, the tablets do a great job of upselling (no time to think about ordering another beer when the option is always right in front of you), and distracting customers from a wait (no need to look around for the server to order that refill, they’ll already have it when they come back to the table).

Technology is notorious for distracting people at home and work, so why not use it to distract people while they’re waiting at your business? Even TVs have been in waiting rooms and lobbies for as long as most of us can remember. If you integrate technology into your wait, be prepared for your customers to start asking “what wait?”

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3.      Inclusivity

Starbucks and Krispy Kreme are two excellent companies to look at when it comes to distracting customers during a wait. Why? Because they let the customers watch their products being made. Starbucks’ open concept design allows you to see, hear, and smell your espresso being ground, your milk being steamed, and the whole drink being put together right in front of you. Krispy Kreme has a huge glass window that you can look through to watch every step in the process of making a hot, fresh donut.

Related Post: How to Turn Customer Wait Time Into an Experience

When you include customers in your process, they’re not thinking about the fact that they’re waiting for it because they’re too busy being distracted by watching it. This is why every Starbucks in a major city has lines almost to the door in the morning- the wait is long, yes, but it doesn’t feel that way. Car washes and hibachi grills are also big on inclusivity, so use those models for ideas on how to distract your customers.

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4.      Set Your Customers Free

If you know that a wait is going to be a little longer than your customer would probably like, grab their phone number and tell them you’ll give them a call or text when the wait is over. Many restaurants have been adopting this strategy, allowing their customers to go and shop or run a quick errand before a text comes in and tells them that their table is ready.

Table’s Ready is a company that provides a product specifically for businesses to do this, and it works wonders. Fitting room attendants can also greatly benefit from using a system like this- it allows customers to distract themselves, and continue browsing, not sit there counting the minutes until a fitting room opens up for them.

In Conclusion

If your customers or clients have to wait for any reason while at your business, make sure you distract them by providing them with something to occupy their time. This will change their perception of the wait and ensure that they leave your building happy, and you can be confident that they will be coming back in the future.

Looking for other ways you can keep your customers happy? Managing your queues is an essential component of this. Download our free eBook below to learn 9 ways to manage your queues effectively and improve sales in the process.

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