Part 3 - What Are You Waiting For?
It’s ironic that we are seeing more visible examples of queues and outdoor processing than we have for years. It started with food rationing and went all the way to refugee screening. The delivery of a digital world of immediacy has been underwhelming. We are back in line, and we are going nowhere fast.
So, the queue prompts us to ask these questions:
Why are you in line?
How long have you been there?
How long do you expect to wait?
Where were you before you joined the queue?
Where are you going after this queue experience?
Is there a shorter queue?
Who else is in the queue?
Can you be seen?
Can you see anyone?
What are you doing while you wait?
Are you thinking?
Have you been offered an incentive to stay in the queue?
Will you be punished if you leave your place in the queue?
Is there a quarantine period at the end of the line?
Research on the psychology of queuing suggests that people have a tolerance for waiting that is proportional to the complexity or quantity of service that they anticipate. And that, deep down, people prefer to be in one queue, no matter how long they will be there.
Queue researchers have noticed that the single, serpentine line has other, more important advantages:
It seems socially fairer, because customers who arrive first are always served first. People waiting in line value fairness more than efficiency.
A guarantee of fairness eliminates a lot of stress and anxiety.
So, the real question becomes: what happens in the line and what happens at the end of the line. This is the space where it is possible to manipulate experience and show your audience what they are waiting for. And then make them feel like it was worth the wait.
Ok, you’ve reached the front of the line!
How can we help you?
Why the long face?
Here, let me take that saddle…..