Innovating Around Your Customer Waiting Time?

I just finished re-reading Tom Kelley’s excellent book: “Ten Faces of Innovation.” It remains one of my favorite business reads. There is a section towards the end of the book that focuses on “the subject of waiting – an unavoidable element in most customer journeys- and I believe that the way you manage those critical wait times can make all the difference in how your company is perceived.

Too few consider that the entire time your current or potential customer is waiting for you they are interacting with your brand and your company.

Mr. Kelley points out a variety of strategies to keep people informed, as they wait, that mainly center around music/messages on hold and that friendly voice that tells you your expected wait time. These options are certainly better than dead air but they have existed for over 10 years. It’s simply old news and really doesn’t dramatically change the experience of waiting. If I am waiting for you, I am already inside YOUR customer experience. So… make it an experience! There simply has been too little innovation in customer waiting time.

And there is an opportunity for you to seize.

If you do not know where waiting is occurring within your customer experience then that is the first place to focus on. Find out and write them all down. Figure out what they are doing while they are waiting. Are they on hold? on a line? Are they lost in the dark while waiting for a delivery? You don’t need to put together a task force for this or have a bunch of meetings. Grab a pad, call 10 customers and ask them.

What information could you be giving them during this time that would make that time truly valuable and memorable? Implementing innovation in just this area will make an enormous impact. Make it a goal to implement just 1 new tactic In the next 30 days. Repeat as necessary.