Did you know that Americans spend an average of two years of their lives waiting in line. Collectively, that is 37 billion hours each year. Whether that’s a line for a concert, a grocery store clerk or a hot meal, all kind of businesses have come up with great ideas for how to keep waiting customers happy. So, how can you keep people in line happy?
Under Promise and Over Deliver
If you know that folks are going to have to wait, tell them they’ll have to wait longer than they actually will. For example, transit users, on average, feel like they’ve waited two times the length that they’ve actually waited. So, if a train is scheduled to arrive in 15 minutes, tell the riders that it will be there in 20. That way, they are pleasantly surprised when the train arrives and you don’t have to employ crowd control management if there is a hiccup along the way.
You know what makes a person crankier than waiting in line? Waiting in a line that isn’t clearly defined. People want to know that they are being helped in a first come, first serve way. If you expect a big crowd, be sure to use a barrier system to let people know where a line begins, continues and ends. For example, when the mummies were in town at the Art Museum, everyone lined up to see and the museum experienced much heavier traffic than usual. Museum barriers helped create structure where there usually isn’t any. Thanks to museum barriers, a foyer became a new place for customers to line up and no other crowd management system was necessary.
Have a Plan
What’s the worst that can happen if people wait in line too long? They get angry and compromise crowd safety. What’s the second worst thing? They leave without getting what they waited for. You don’t want a customer to have that experience. However, 88% of people say that they have left a line because they were tired of waiting. Have a good plan in place to deal with crowds, perhaps a plan that includes crowd control techniques so that everyone stays happy.