Psychology of Waiting and Customer Care
Waiting in lines characterizes nearly all parts of our lives. We normally queue in nearly all service outlets. Despite the fact that queues are an integral portion of our lives, they provide a source of discomfort to very many people. Spending a lot of time in a queue causes anger and frustration to a sizeable proportion of queuing individuals. My thesis statement is that these negative effects of queuing can be lessened or avoided by using several tools. The tools include a change of culture and an alteration of line server design. The other tools include provision of numbers to customers and use of targeted admission times.
There are several solutions that can be applied to make waiting at outlets tolerable. The first is changing the culture to match queuing behavior. If an organization finds out that its customers are disorderly, it should engage measures to change such a culture. With efforts to change the disorderliness, an organization can create a totally different culture that incorporates order and fairness in service outlets. An example of a company that has achieved this cultural shift is McDonalds. After expanding to Hong Kong, the company realized that customers in that region had behavior of crowding in cash registers and shouting their orders (Norman, 2008). In response, McDonalds introduced a system of queue monitors. In this case, young women made the customers queue in orderly lines. This transformed the queuing culture in Hong Kong, and it became a trend for the middle class. The system became highly tolerable by making customers wait in queues. However, this process may take time to be effective (Mann, 2006).
The other solution involves designing the lines into one line feeding multiple servers. Instead of having several lines feeding several servers, one line may feed all the servers. This system is effective since the customers perceive it to be fair. With the single line system, queues move quicker than in the multiple line system. This is because the single line system is inefficient as far as signaling the next customer is concerned. After a customer has been served, it may not be easy to locate the server that has been left (Maister, 2009). The multiple server system makes the waiting tolerable by providing a chance for second queue at each server. The second queue holds just one or two customers hence reducing the start up time for each customer. To add onto this, electronic signals may be used to assist customers in locating idle servers. With all these alternatives, the single line multiple server system allows for fast service hence making the queuing tolerable (Larson, 2007).
The third solution involves providing numbers to customers on arrival. This handing out may be conducted on the basis of the type of service offered. The advantage of this system is that customers may sit rather than stand or engage in other activities as they wait for their turn. The other benefit of this system is that it provides an opportunity for different classes of customers to be served differently. An area where this has been applied is the Department of Motor Vehicles. Since the customers have different needs, serving them by their classes is very efficient and time saving. An example is two service needs, taking a driving test and renewal of license. These two groups of individuals are provided with different numbers since the length and nature of service are different (Jones & Peppiatt, 2007). Through the provision of numbers, individuals are able to track the rate of progress in the queue and the time they will take to be served. The final option that this system provides is the electronic variants. Through this alternative, pagers are handed out to customers in order to give them a chance to move around. This alternative denies the customer a chance to observe the length of the line and hence it improves the chances that the queue will be tolerable (Dellaert, 2005).
The final solution is the use of targeted admission times. For this tool, reservations are used. However, they must be done in a way that is fair and equitable to all customers. In this case, a customer is provided with a guaranteed time although it may be set for a certain time in the future. The customer will turn up with the admissions ticket in the future after having done other personal activities. An area where this system is applied is in restaurant reservations. For these restaurants, patrons sign up and obtain the paging device. It is after result buzzes and vibrations notify them that they should get seated. The same process is applied in entertainment parks. An electronic device is given to the customers, and they are allowed to move round in a free manner. Whenever the system is ready, the electronic device alerts them that they should get their ride (Tom & Lucey, 2011).
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Jones, P., & Peppiatt, E. (2007). Managing Perceptions of Waiting Times in Service Queues. Journal of Service Industry, 39.
Larson, C. (2007). Social Justice and the Psychology of Queuing. Perspective on Queues, 23-24.
Maister, D. H. (2009). It's Hard to Play Catch-up Ball. The Psychology of Waiting Lines, 2.
Mann, L. (2006). The Social Psychology of Waiting Lines. The Mammoth Waiting Line is a Sophisticated Cultural Microcosm with a Unique Set of Social Rules and Behavioral Regularities, 35.
Norman, D. A. (2008). Cultures Can be Changed. McDonalds Changed Queuing Behaviour in Hong Kong. The Psychology of Waiting Lines, 10.
Tom, G., & Lucey, S. (2011). Waiting Time Delays and Customer Satisfaction. Journal of Services Marketing, 33.