The underrated importance of queues

Why are queues important?

Nobody likes spending their time in queues, as it is not only a bad customer experience but also an incredible waste of time. An average American spends 113 hours per year in queues, the equivalent of 14 working days. Given that this time could be spent on work, family or leisure, the pressure from consumers on making customer service faster is apprehensible. 

The frustration directly affects consumer behavior – a queue of just 4 minutes will result in 59% of customers leaving and 56% of them will not return to the store where they had this experience. To put it simply, a store with a 4 minute queue is irreversibly losing a third of their revenue.

The average supermarket is losing 1.5 million euros every year to long queues.


And this applies to industries beyond retail as well, as 82% of all consumers claim that a quick solution of their needs is the number one priority for a good customer experience.

The perception phenomenon

The leading consumer behavior specialists point out that the total time spent on checkout is not the most important aspect. It turns out that the perceived queue time is roughly twice the actual time spent in a queue. Self-service solutions can decrease the perceived queue time as consumers do not perceive the time at the kiosk as time spent in the queue, so even if it takes longer, the customer experience will be better.

What about the skeptics?

While the younger generation is delighted to see self-service becoming the new normal, there are many people who choose the conventional face-to-face experience or feel uncomfortable with using self-service kiosks. Good news for them, self-service kiosks reduce the workload for cashiers making the customer experience better even for those who are not using them. To put this in context – retailers have seen 40% decrease in waiting times after introducing self-service kiosks. This change is enough to decrease lost customers from 59% to 30%, which amounts to 750 thousand of annual revenue captured for the average supermarket.

The bottom line

Being the innovation leader in an industry is not an easy job, however introducing self-service is a question of remaining competitive and surviving. Businesses who introduce self-service solutions improve their profitability, customer retention and satisfaction. Needless to say, these benefits can only be achieved by properly designed self-service – you can read our previous blogs on why and how.

Our team is always working on customer experience improvements, so if you want to make your business better – contact us and our team will reach out with a tailored offer.

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