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  • Writer's pictureMuzammil Hussain

When WAIT tends to W A I T and W A I T, it might be too "Late"

Busy in our work, we often respond to people saying “One second please”, or “Give me a minute”, or “Just a moment please” – these are usual and informal ways of letting people know that right now I am busy, and “1 sec” or “1 minute” does not really mean just that; and it is largely understood and accepted. But, can it be the same between a customer and a seller? Can a seller say “One minute” and actually take 15 minutes? The answer is – NO.

I went through an episode last week, which prompted me to ponder over how badly could these minor incidents of waiting beyond the expected time, affect a company (seller). I was with a friend for a pre-delivery visit to the showroom, for his new car. The sales-person, who has been already not truthful in promising a lesser delivery period than actual, met us and said that we would see our car in just 2 minutes. I instantly asked him, “Sir, will it be 2 minutes or 5 minutes?”, to which he responded, giggling, “Sir, two to five minutes.” And, we waited for at least another 20 minutes. That said, my friend who has already made the down-payment, has no other option, but to just get the car and end this “WAIT”ing misery. He even swore not to visit this showroom for any services in the future.

Some would think that whatever be the case, the company sold a car that it planned to. So, may be after some time, the car owner, my friend, would not even remember this whole episode. But, what about a potential customer (that is, Me)? What about those ten other people whom I shall tell about this experience? Or, say what about you who is reading this post now, and could be planning to buy a car? Would you not think twice before even going to that showroom – I suppose Yes, you will and you will find the best alternative. So, in this scenario, on one hand, the company sold a high-value car, but on the other, it made a huge potential loss by neglecting the details of Customer Service. Customer Touchpoints are very essential to be taken care of – be it as small as just a routine explanation of features, or as important as payment services – every touchpoint matters.

Imagine traveling to a new city, and waiting in the lobby of a hotel, expecting to be escorted to the room, but every time being told to wait for another “2 minutes”, till it is already past 30 minutes. Will you ever go to the same hotel? Not only you will not go, but you would also advise others to avoid that hotel. Word of Mouth is a mighty tool that must not be underestimated. Had they been prompt to inform you that a wait time of 20-30 minutes is expected, your experience would have been entirely different or may be even positive, that you knew beforehand, which saved you of an otherwise restlessness.

Thus, I believe that any business, big or small, goods or services, should spend time, effort, and money in training and monitoring its people about customer touchpoints and its protocols. Waiting time is just an example; there can be multiple factors to focus on. Unexpected wait for a customer now, can eventually flip sides and become a never-ending wait for the seller.

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