Making People Wait
Let's get the meat of this class, making people wait. Waiting is the bane of most peoples' existence. People hate waiting. Unless I'm wrong? Does anybody here like waiting? No. Cell phones make waiting a little more bearable, in a way, but really, everybody hates to wait. Now what I've discovered actually ... I live in New York City and people don't mind waiting in New York City, and people actually queue up for lunch. They will find a lunch spot, people will queue up and wait, even outside, to get into some cute little lunch spot. We're actually pretty used to waiting, and I had a friend who came from Italy and was like, "Oh my God, these people "just wait in a line?" I was like, "Well yeah, what would they do?" And he's like, "Oh, Italians don't wait in line. "They, like, go right to the front." I was like, "Really?" And they're like, "Oh, yeah, yeah. "It's like, out of my way." I'm like, "New Yorkers don't do that." But we're used to waiting and that's kind of a shame sometimes beca...
use waiting can not be fun. So, here's all the ways that people will wait for your business. They're gonna wait on line, they're gonna be in-person, they're gonna be on a queue, they're gonna follow all those little zig-zaggy things. I flew to get here and, of course, one of the best things is when you go up to security and there's a really long, or a really short, line. You're like, "I hit the jackpot." You're still waiting, but it's a short line. It's not a long line. Walt Disney perfected waiting on line, right? When you go to Walt Disney World, you're gonna go on, you'll be like, "Oh my God, this is a short line," and you don't realize that it goes for miles behind the scenes. But they actually perfected the line. They did a lot of research on what will make the line a little bit better, and there's something, you know, when you cross people in line. When you go back and forth and you see them again and again, that's actually part of it because it becomes fun. You can see people and you can track them and you're like, "Oh, that guy, "oh that guy's up ahead now, or that girl, "the guy with the little kid." So that's actually something that's part of their waiting process. Uhm, and then creating distractions on that line, and then also offering you things to buy on that line. So, waiting on line because this is definitely a wait. Waiting in a waiting room. Do any of you have a waiting room where people wait for you? No? Well, what would be the typical waiting room? What's the waiting room we all hate to go?
Doctor's office, exactly right. So, that is the quintessential waiting room. Uhm, it's sort of like a herding cattle experience, right? You're all jammed in there. It's not very pleasant. There's sick people in there even. Oh my God, can you imagine? Uhm, and it can be a positive experience, though generally, it's not a very positive experience, right? You're waiting, you don't have any ... You don't really know where you're at. You don't know the status. Are you next? Is somebody else ahead of you, you track people. They came in after me, but now they're going in, what the heck, right? Uhm, there might be some reading material. It might be from the 1900s, right? We don't know if it's actually new. And then, because sick people were in there, we think sick people touched this and now I don't really want to touch this, right? So, the waiting room, the doctor's office waiting room scenario, not always great, but we might have people wait in a waiting room if it's not a doctor's office, so we just have to be aware of that potential waiting moment. Uhm, waiting for products and services to be delivered. Now, this is something that we think is sort of out of our control. If we are using a delivery service, we think they're handle it, but this is still part of their experience of your brand. If they are waiting for their stuff, your stuff, to get to them, uh, that's still a moment that you have to be aware of and you have to sort of own that moment. They're gonna be waiting for stuff to get to them even if it's out of your control and out of their control. And then waiting for your undivided attention. When I was a waitress back in the day, uhm, I was a cocktail waitress, and I was given a very large section, which, generally, was divided into two, there were, I think, about 24 guests in the section, which is large for one waiter. Generally, it's like ten people per waiter, twelve people per waiter, so I doubled that in this cocktail section, but I realized, and when I was going through my section, I would have a full tray of stuff. If I just stopped by that new table and said to them, "I'm gonna be right back "to give you my undivided attention. "In the meanwhile, take a look at the menu. "I'll be right back to give you my attention." When I did that, I was giving them a promise of something that they really wanted. It wasn't like, "I'll be back. "I'll be back later." No, I'm gonna give you my attention and I can give you something with that. I can get you stuff, I can like tell you about things, and then I'm gonna bring you wonderful things to eat and drink. But it was that undivided attention that really was helpful in that moment and it gave them the assurance that, "Okay, when I come back, I'm not just gonna do a drive-by "and, hey, what do you want?" No, it's I'm gonna give you my attention, so think about that. When are people waiting for your attention? As the owner, as the operator, or even as just the line operator giving the service? And then, waiting for your website to do what it should. Have we ever bailed on a website? I know I have. That this is supposed to work and it's not working, right? It's taking too long to load, it's taking to long to do what it's supposed to do. I don't have time for this, right? And then I bail. So, we've heard of that as a bounce rate, right? When people go on your page and then they're like, "I can't get on it," or "I'm not interested in it," or, "It's not attracting me." It's gonna bounce me off, so we have to be aware of that because it happens on our website as well. Now for those os you who have a business now, have you considered all these waiting moments, in your business? Or businesses? (laughs)
I have, yes.
Okay, good. Are any of these surprising to you all?
Not a bit.
No, okay, good.
I like the undivided attention because there's a big difference between attention and then, just like, being here.
That's right. That's right. Because that's the thing sometimes, you know, the phone's ringing off the hook and, uh, you know, your reaction is to be like, "How many do you need?" But no, it's not that, it's like, "Hi, I'm here with you right now," and if you can do that and I think, on the phone is one thing, but I think it's more when you're in person when things are really crazy, if you can give someone your undivided attention, that sends an amazing reverberation to everybody else watching that. So if you're hectic crazy and yet I can spend a moment with you, and find out how you are and get your full name and all your information, and then, move onto you, and give you all my information, find out what you need, and then move onto the next person, even if it's hectic and crazy, that will reassure the guests around you. Even though it might take a moment longer, it's like, "I'll get mine too. "I'll get the undivided attention too." That really can be a very powerful thing when you're able to do that for people in public. So it's not only about that guest, it's about all the guests who are watching. So, always remember that it happens in public, a lot of these things. Now this is really important. Uhm, unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time. Do we notice this to be true in life? When you're waiting for something and you don't have your phone or you don't have something to do, it's like, "I'm just stuck here, waiting," right? But when I have something to occupy myself with it's not so bad. So, now you're in the doctor's office and they have a TV on the wall and you can watch the TV. Oh, it's not so bad. They tell me I can't turn on my phone, right? I might turn on my phone. But, maybe if I don't, I'm, watching the TV, right? So occupied time feels better. This is something that's really important to notice because your guests, you might have them wait, but what are you giving them to do? And this is the thing in restaurants. Where do people wait in restaurants? Where do they wait? In the bar. In the bar. Right? We send them to the bar. "Where, where's the bar? That's where the alcohol is." Right? This is brilliant, here, go to this place where you can drink, right? Oh, and eat, oh, maybe meet people. Oh, and see where things are happening. You're sitting up even high. You can see stuff, right? That's all by design. So you gotta think, "Okay, if I have an operation "and I don't have a bar, what can I give my people? "What can I occupy their time with?" So they're not focusing on the wait, they're thinking about the experience. So, think about that. Maybe you do give them a cocktail. Some places you could do that, right? Maybe you can bring them a cup of tea or a glass of water. It doesn't have to be giving them food or beverage, but what can you fill their time with? Think about that Disney thing, right? It becomes fun after awhile, zig-zagging, you see all those people again and again. Uhm, and offering a distraction. This is a thing, that people want to be distracted. It doesn't feel so long when there's a distraction, when there's something fun. Uhm, you know the trend of gamifying stuff, right? You can gamify your service, right? Uhm, even on websites or some apps, they'll say, "Oh, you're still there? Thanks so much for waiting." Right? You can gamify, you can make it fun. You can actually make these moments a moment of interest, as opposed to a moment of dread. So, think about filling up that time with something very unique. Also, your brand expression can be, uhm, felt during moments of waiting. So, if you're gonna give them a magazine, what is that magazine? You can choose from thousands of magazines. What magazine might represent your brand, right, represent your core values? If you are community oriented, maybe you have something that represents that state of mind, right? If you think about nonprofits or, you know, you contribute a lot of money to a certain operational organization, maybe you have a book or a magazine that reflects that. So think about the stuff that you're gonna give them. If you have a TV, yes, you could have it on CNN, but you could also play a documentary for a interesting topic that reverberates with your brand or core values. So think about how you're gonna fill their time because it could actually build a very beautiful memory of your brand. Now, they will have an expectation. Your customers will expect how long they should wait. Now what's the typical wait time in a business? Trick question. There is no typical wait time, right? Depends on your business. So, in some places if you're going to a theater event, you might expect to wait for a long time before you actually get in and go to your seat, so our expectation is, "We're probably gonna hang out "on the sidewalk for a little while "before we get in through security, "before we get into the venue, "before we find our seat," right? Sporting events, the same thing, we might hang out in a parking lot then make our way to the front. So, we have expectations based on where we're going and what we're doing. Uhm, we might have a short expectation of time. The phone should be answered in three rings, right? Someone should come to my table within a minute to ask if I want any water. So, the expectation is going to come with them, but we need to be aware of what those might be. You can create expectations for timing and you can add this to the steps of your service, so for instance, when I create steps of service for a restaurant for a lunch service, we might say the steps of service should take 45 minutes. We should expect that our guests can come in, sit down, get their order taken, get their food delivered, get cleared up, get their dessert, get their check, and out, in 45 minutes. So I'm gonna create an expectation of time within that. I'm also going to, in each of those steps of service, say how long some of those should be. So, typically, it would be the greeting at the table happens within 30 seconds of them sitting down. Uhm, asking if someone would like another glass of water might happen ... Uhm, or another cocktail might happen when they get their appetizer or their entree. When they're more likely to want another. So, you're gonna build in timing for some of the steps of service that you have, so this creates expectations and you're gonna build the expectation for a certain type of timing for your guests, so when they come back, they're gonna be like, "That's how it goes. "That's how it works." And that's consistency. So, they know how it works, so you know how it works, but it's all about that idea of creating consistency and creating consistency for your brand. Alongside that, it's really important to ask your team what can be improved. What creates anxiety for your customers? They're gonna see it in a different way than you might see it. Now, waiting causes anxiety. People get stressed out when they are told to wait. Uhm, we have all sorts of associations from our lives that have nothing to do with our businesses, but it creates stress and anxiety. So, if I'm waiting, does this mean that I'll be late for my next thing, right? If I'm waiting, does it mean that it's bad news? If I'm waiting, what does it mean? There's question marks. So, we need to make sure that we're, uhm, in tune with that, and our team members, sometimes, know more than we might, so let's ask them. Let's get feedback on that. And then, most importantly, evolve your service and improve your brand. And by evolving your service, I mean, make some changes, right? So if you find that the point of waiting is people are surprised how long it takes for the finished product, "Wow, I didn't realize that, "I thought that seemed, assumed that would take a week "to get my finished beautiful product." Oh, but it doesn't. People actually want it much sooner. Oh, okay, so I'm gonna need to evolve my project to make sure that I can get it to them within four days and then maybe I can make that a point of conversation and say, "Our brand stands for "a turnaround of how ever many hours that is." So, these are ways that you can learn about your business and improve your business, constantly. I see you nodding. Do you have anything to add or something to share?
I just think it's interesting that there is this opportunity, huge opportunity, to like use that wait time ... Like I have this desk that is a eight-week, uhm, like, you know, it's gonna take eight weeks to build this desk ...
And it just makes me think that like how can that company actually use that eight weeks to engage with me and use that time because I'm like anticipating and if I get an update or something that's happening in their company, I just think that an interesting, there's an awesome opportunity there to engage with that and not just let your customer sit there, and wait.
That's exactly right, that's exactly right.
You know, so that's awesome.
Yeah. Yeah, I just did one of those ancestry DNA tests to sort of see what my ancestry is. It was cool. But they say from the outside, it's gonna take six to eight weeks, so I didn't think to myself, "Okay, "that's gonna be in this month on this day." I didn't at all. I was just sorta like out of sight out of mind. They did ... They were not out of sight out of mind. They actually kept saying, "Hey, "thanks for waiting for your results. "While you're doing that, did you know ...?" Right? They sent me probably a weekly email. Not too much, but enough to say, "We're noticing the time. "We're noticing that you're waiting. "We notice that you're out there." Because six to eight weeks, I imagine a lot of people are like, "Huh, well, whatever, whenever it shows up." But they showed me they didn't think that way and that was impressive to me. So, I liked that a lot. Yeah?
Conversely, when they say they're gonna have something at a particular time or, more commonly, like a car service or something like that, where they say they'll call you when it's ready and then they never bother to call you ...
So you call them at the end of the day and then, oh yeah, it was ready at 10:00.
So I think that an important part of that is to be realistic when you create those expectations, and then, back to what you talked about before, follow up and follow through.
Well, that's exactly right.
So if you say you're gonna call them, call them, and if it's supposed to be done by a certain time, either have it done, or make sure you contact them to let them know it won't be.
That's a really really great point and that does increase or decrease trust in your brand, right?
And, it's about promises. If you're making that promise, you have to uphold your promise, otherwise, it's nothing. And when your promises mean nothing, you losing out on a lot of social collateral, right?
So, at the very least, it's social collateral, but at the very most it's your business, right? It can fail, or it can float or it can sink, so in those moments, they're sinking. So, yeah, if you're gonna make the promise, "We'll let you know," let them know.
Yeah, it's not that hard. So it does, it always seems impossible until it's done and this is the thing with these sort of projects. I'm gonna say, "Build your steps of service," and you're gonna say, "I'd love to." It is a big project, I'm not gonna joke, but if you can show intention, if you can really build a program for your guests and then honor that program, it's really gonna make a difference in your consistency and your ability to really connect with people and make a unique experience for them. So that's really what it comes down to. Thank you, Nelson Mandela, for saying it so nice.