3 Ways To Decrease Customer Wait Time Ratios
When the lines get slow, and the people don’t get inside on event night, everyone gets frustrated. That’s because operationally, its a nightmare to have a crowd of potentially paying customers, unable to do so, because of a systems breakdown. Whether that’s because of communication, technology or simply human foot traffic, it doesn’t matter to the customer. All they see is a glut of other people in their way, and no solution being offered up by the venue. Part of discovering what went wrong is understanding how customer wait time ratios factor into the transaction process for the ticket office.
1. Defining The 24-Second Rule For Transactions
If a customer is waiting more than 24-seconds per transaction, from the time that they are at the window to the time that it takes to complete the entire transaction, including ticket printed, that is an issue. Many franchise executives don’t look at this in a clear format – if it takes three minutes to process a ticket, they shrug it off as only three minutes wait time. Except, that only factors in the customer order being processed, not the ten customers standing behind that customer, waiting for their orders to be processed as well.
Consider what three minutes per customer transaction means to the tenth customer being that original customer. That can mean thirty minutes of waiting to pay the ticket office for their transaction. While a long, twisting line of humans standing in unison waiting to buy a ticket may sound fantastic, it is actually a nightmare on event night. Especially if the temperatures drop, or the customers decide that the wait is too long, causing an exodus of eager, paying prospective patrons who turn to go elsewhere. This is why a 24-second rule, per transaction, is vital to ensuring that the staff processes a customer order as soon as they are up to the window.
2. Training, Training and More Customer Training
The majority of training for ticket office personnel at the window is focused on the ticket systems platform. The idea of training the staff on actual event night transactions seems to have taken a back seat to the implementation of the software. However, it is the training in a live situation that matters most. Ticket office personnel at the box office windows should be placed in a live situation, where there is a line of ten staff members pretending to the customers in front of them. The goal should be to see how quickly each of the ticket office personnel interact, engage and process the tickets on an event night. Each staff member who is served goes to the back of the line, until about one hundred transactions are processed.
The goal should be to create a true event night environment, where the ticket office staff at the window are unable to technically breathe. They shouldn’t feel that they have time to relax, because the line should keep moving, constantly forward. The ticket platform should be recording each of the transaction periods, as the ticket office staff member in line gains their ticket, the transaction, and then goes to the back of the line to be served again. This will help the ticket office window personnel determine how best to speak to patrons in quick, but friendly tones, as well as ensure that the best customer service is available.
3. Rating And Reviewing Each Staff Member
One-on-one training of each staff member culminates with the ticket director in a private meeting. The average time per transaction should be examined, and whether or not the ticket staff member at the window stayed within the 24-second transaction rule matters. Each staff member should be judged, by their peers who stood in line serving as customers, on the type of demeanor displayed at the window during transactions and the quality of customer service offered. It is a good lesson for the entire staff to realize that everyone is watching and listening to their transaction conversations, even when it doesn’t appear apparent that they are.
Ticket directors should be willing to provide various examples of how to deal with customer service issues should they arise during the training session. That is one of the major issues with ticket directors training staff members: There needs to be a consistent reminder that this is a period in which mistakes will be made, and they should be made in the realm of training so that they do not happen during an actual live event night. Staff sometimes get sensitive to being criticized so much for their actions during a training period, but as long as they understand that any criticism is temporary, it should reduce the amount of long-term anxiety that the staff is feeling over it.
The 24-second rule isn’t a lock-solid one. A ticket director cannot truly get upset if there is a variance of a few seconds on the transaction time here or there. As long as everyone keeps in mind that the longer the customer waits during their transaction, the longer the wait is for everyone standing behind them.