At my company, we’re in the business of orchestrating better experiences. In many cases this is about managing waiting.
But what is waiting, really? It has to do with time, of course. And a need – or you wouldn’t be waiting in the first place. We’ve been thinking hard about this, seemingly trivial, matter for the good part of 30 years. If we tried to define it, as short as possible, it would come out as something like this:
“Waiting is the time between wanting and getting”.
Ok, that’s pretty straightforward. Waiting is the length of time from when you first decide to get something until you actually have it. On the face of it, that is. The complexity has to do with time. As Einstein understood and what we as human beings know and feel intuitively is that time is not absolute – it’s relative. Time is in the mind of the waitee. Sometimes it crawls, sometimes time flies.
There’s an actual time between the wanting and the getting. But there’s also a perceived time between the wanting and the getting.
Qmatic’s solutions deal with both of these waiting times – the actual and the perceived. As you are well aware, the latter is the most important from a customer’s perspective. Perceived waiting time is all that matters.
Waiting is in this respect a very personal event. No matter what you are waiting for, or where or why – it’s an experience – a waiting experience. And that very experience can range from sublime to horrendous, but for general purposes we can settle for a good, neutral or bad waiting experience. The underlying presumption is of course that the shorter the waiting time, the better.
In a world of customer power and instant gratification the word waiting would be superfluous. So to update the definition of waiting in light of this new information, and put it in a business situation, we say that “waiting is the customers experience between wanting and getting to service.”
Now, why is this important? It has, of course, to do with customer satisfaction and experience.
Waiting times and consequently customer experience are strongly correlated with customer satisfaction. This perfectly follows common sense and has been proved over and over since research began in the queue management field back in the mid-1950s.
The even more obvious fact is that overall customer satisfaction is closely tied to other key customer characteristics, most importantly loyalty. In a highly competitive world, customer loyalty is imperative. A satisfied customer is more likely to:
• Be converted to the branch or business in the first place.
• Stay loyal to the branch or business.
• Purchase more products and services.
• Be more receptive to cross-sell and up-sell efforts.
• Be more receptive to new products or services.
• Be easier to convince and influence.
• Spread the word to friends and contacts.
• Increase their overall engagement with the branch or business.
So, in short, our job is to increase customer satisfaction at all possible customer touch points that we can influence. And to do it at a significantly lower cost than any other measures that would offer similar customer satisfaction benefits.
A satisfied customer is a good customer.
Image Courtesy Qmatic