Compelling story in the NY Times about the focus Disney places on decreasing the amount of time their theme park customers wait in line (And the better experience they create while they are on line).
For every business that have customers wait on line (or on hold for that matter), this should be your case study on turning that time to your benefit. Nothing fancy, trendy or social media-ish about it. These are the moments when your customers are waiting on you. Use it wisely and reap the rewards.
Article link: Disney Tackles Major Theme Park Problem: Lines
If Pirates of the Caribbean, the ride that sends people on a spirited voyage through the Spanish Main, suddenly blinks from green to yellow, the center might respond by alerting managers to launch more boats. Another option involves dispatching Captain Jack Sparrow or Goofy or one of their pals to the queue to entertain people as they wait. “It’s about being nimble and quickly noticing that, ‘Hey, let’s make sure there is some relief out there for those people,’ ” said Phil Holmes, vice president of the Magic Kingdom, the flagship Disney World park.
What if Fantasyland is swamped with people but adjacent Tomorrowland has plenty of elbow room? The operations center can route a miniparade called “Move it! Shake it! Celebrate It!” into the less-populated pocket to siphon guests in that direction. Other technicians in the command center monitor restaurants, perhaps spotting that additional registers need to be opened or dispatching greeters to hand out menus to people waiting to order. “These moments add up until they collectively help the entire park,” Mr. Holmes said.
In recent years, according to Disney research, the average Magic Kingdom visitor has had time for only nine rides — out of more than 40 — because of lengthy waits and crowded walkways and restaurants. In the last few months, however, the operations center has managed to make enough nips and tucks to lift that average to 10.
Related post from a few years back: Innovating around your customers waiting time