The actual time an individual spends waiting in line can be accurately measured to the second. But people’s perception of the wait time can be something entirely different.
What feels like two minutes to one person can feel like an eternity to another. That’s why companies who care about the customer experience care about how they can influence perceived wait times just as much as actual wait times.
You have the opportunity to minimize the pain of waiting by making the wait time feel short. There’s what’s real, then there’s what feels real. One key way to make the wait feel shorter is the get customers started sooner. That’s right, but it’s not what you think.
Getting Customers Started Sooner Effectively Ends the Wait
One of the proven ways to reduce perceived wait time is to begin the transaction process before the customer reaches the agent or checkout. So even though they’re not actually being served, they feel they’re being served. The classic example of this is a typical grocery store, where customers begin unloading their carts before it’s their turn to be served.