Written for TakeON! by Leah Fisher from ON-Brand Partners
When was the last time you waited in a queue and watched the service providers in action before you got to the front? What sort of impression did you leave with after watching them in action with others?
If you’ve been through Los Angeles International Airport using Air New Zealand (terminal 2) you’ll know that it’s an older building and can be a very unpleasant experience. On a recent trip to the States we landed and were greeted with around 400 people ahead of us queuing to get through immigration. A long wait! But, for once, there were plenty of immigration officers on hand and it moved at a reasonable pace.
They seemed to have queue management down to an art and ours was split and changed until the line thinned out. Unfortunately, even though we'd been early off the plane, it was the later passengers who got moved through much quicker. A similar feeling to changing into the fast lane on the motorway expecting it to flow better, only for it to stop!
In the end, with only around 20 passengers to go, half of the immigration officers on our side packed up and left. Imagine how we all felt. We'd come off a 12-hour flight, been made to wait another 60 minutes, and they couldn’t stay an extra 15 to finish the job! Not only a poor first impression, but a poor lasting impression.
I started to think about customer queuing. Many service providers only focus on who’s directly in front of them, and not on how the wider audience views them in action. It’s not just the one-to-one service, but the ‘group’ of customers that frontline people need to considered. What impression are you giving them while they’re waiting and watching? If your team deals with queues, when was the last time you spent time viewing the experience from the back of the line?