Huffpost Small Business

Long Wait Times Harming Retail Experience: Survey Says

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How long are customers willing to wait for service in your retail store before they walk out? Not very long, according to the results of a new survey by Great Clips, a hair salon franchise. Almost all (94 percent) customers think waiting 5 to 10 minutes or less is reasonable.

In fact, waiting too long is the No.2 complaint consumers have about retailers (The first? "Rude staff.") Keeping customers waiting more than 10 minutes may seem a trivial complaint, but it can cost you. If you make them wait, 48 percent assume your business is poorly run, and 52 percent take their business elsewhere.

Why it matters to your business: Clearly, consumers have little patience for waiting in line in our 24/7 society. Don't compound the problem by ignoring it. If there's an unavoidable hold-up, acknowledge customers and thank them for their patience. Often, that's all it takes. Of course, you can also get high-tech about it: 87 percent of consumers are willing to use some type of technology if it keeps them from waiting in line at retail stores, and 67 percent would use online check-in or download an app that saved their places in line at a retail business.