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Exploring the Customer Experience In-Store & Online

Connecting with Customers: Maximize Waiting Time

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Dec 5, 2011 9:45:00 AM

This is a 3 minute read.

Connecting with Customers: Maximize Waiting TimeI hate wasting time. It generates too many negative feelings - including wanting to never deal with that resource ever again. It's the same for our customers.

Although the worst examples of wasting time come from waiting around in doctors' offices, plenty abound elsewhere, including at retail.

If you think about what your customers experience and what their concerns are, I bet you can rapidly come up with ways to eliminate wasted time in your retail experience. The result: you will not only maximize waiting time, but also connect with customers. Not bad.

I've written about poor waiting experiences before [see Hall of Shame Inductee - LabCorp]. I've also touched on Waiting & the Retail Experience and the practices that 'bend' time or change customer perceptions about lapsed time [e.g., offer interaction, get rid of uncertainty, ensure companionship, and offer diversions].

As  Disney Magic Or Common Sense - A Consumer-First Philosophy reminded me, the more you focus on your customer's experience, the better you can deliver value, maximize time and come up with solutions that truly delight. Now, that's exciting!

I noticed the following statement from that article: "... healthcare providers and manufacturers are choosing to run their businesses in a way that works for them, not the consumer." That brought to mind Customer Service Reality Check: Best Quality or Not? which represented an example of what not to do.

Would you issue such a letter? How do you go about communicating change and possibly inconvenient-for-your-customer news?

Waiting Rooms Aren't Just for Waiting brings up ways to make better use of waiting rooms by converting the space into a learning center with educational tools that appeal to customers [aka patients] and even offer the means of measuring progress.

I bet 'waiting room' opportunities exist in your business. How do you deal with them? How have you transformed them into opportunities for connecting with customers and maximizing waiting time?

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  1. Transform your showroom bathrooms into vignettes.
  2. Offer ideabooks and video customer testimonials.
  3. Create an area in your store with idea boards, vignettes, color stories...
  4. Dedicate a space in your showroom for customers to go online to read articles you've written, examine photos of previous jobs, and sign up for email updates.
  5. Create tip sheets and offer hard copy, as well as a digital version, to customers.
  6. Ensure that you create meeting reminders in Outlook for any customer appointments. Then, call to confirm the meeting an hour or two before the meeting.

 What else do you see being effective?

As you're considering examples and ideas, I think you'll enjoy this YouTube video from John Lewis, a UK retailer. It's powerful and casts new meaning on time and 'giving'!

Subscribers, click on John Lewis Christmas Advert 2011 to view on YouTube. 

Thanks for reading.

Best,

C.B.

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Image credit: “Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.” on Flickr.

Topics: customer experience, retail experience

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