Entertaining Customers Waiting in Line

No one actually likes waiting in a line, right?

Yet, we do it every day. At movie theaters, at restaurants, at coffee shops, at grocery stores and many more places.

Estimates put the time Americans wait in line at 37 billion hours. Given this, some say the amount of time we spend just waiting in our lifetime adds up to five years. Five years!

Let’s face it, waiting in line is not our favorite way to spend our time.

Making waiting in lines a more pleasurable experience is a goal that any vendor should aim for. One of the keys to getting people to not run away from lines is to entertain them. A combination of keeping customers entertained and minimizing wait times by enabling order-ahead functionality via the Revel Systems and PayPal™ integration will maximize the guest experience.

But how do you do it?

  1. Get interactive – Disney’s theme parks are renowned for their ability to manage line waiting. One of the biggest ways they do this is by including interactive technology – with games and touch screens – in order to take patrons’ minds off the actual time they are waiting in line. For restaurants, this could be broadcasting cooking programs or announcing upcoming specials. For theaters, it could be trailers of future movies or talk shows about a current film--anything that takes customers’ minds off the wait.
  2. Reduce perceived wait time – A New York Times article concluded that people overestimate how long they wait by as much as 36 percent. Providing accurate estimates for waiting generally leaves customers more satisfied than a customer that ends up waiting longer than they are told. For restaurants this is particularly troublesome but can be boon if slightly conservative estimates pay off.
  3. Provide comfort – Waiting in line is one thing. Waiting in line while hungry or standing is another. Giving customers a place to sit or a bite of food or drink can go a long way to quell the anger waiting generates. Acknowledging those waiting instead of just saying hello until they reach the front of the line gives some comfort that they aren’t being ignored and that someone is eager to help them when the time comes.
  4. Change your business model – For years, fans of the Portland Trailblazers had to not just wait in a line to get season tickets but they had to camp overnight for sometimes more than 24-hour stretches. But for the 2014 season, that all changed. The Portland Trailblazers made tickets available exclusively online, eliminating line waiting. Going from waiting an entire day of your life to not waiting at all? Can’t get better than that.
  5. Skip the line entirely – The Trailblazers integrated online ordering to make it easier for their customers. You can do the same with your business by taking advantage of the Revel Systems’ Point of Sale (POS) software and PayPal™ integration, which gives customers the option of ordering ahead within their Paypal™ app to cut down on wait times and avoid the line entirely. PayPal™ orders appear on the Revel POS ordering screen--employees can easily tap the icon to pull up a list of orders. As these are prepaid orders, it allows for faster pickup and no need to wait for a table, a coffee, or whatever the customer desires. Customers can also select different pick up times within the app, which then communicates to the vendor’s iPad POS.

Sometimes lines cannot be avoided. Use the above tips to help make waiting in line more enjoyable for your customers, or lose the line entirely by rolling out the Revel and PayPal™ solution.