I was in an Australia Post shop yesterday and waited five minutes to purchase $10.00 worth of stationery. At lunch I waited 2 minutes to be served at Subway. At the bank I waited 5 minutes to do some banking. In the morning I watched the counter at my small retail business and checked to see the average wait time before customers were served. In each case it was one minute or less – for large and small transactions – and in two out of ten cases customers were grumpy for waiting that long.
I’m curious as to why people will wait in a post office for five minutes to put a pack of paperclips but get grumpy in my newsagents when waiting a minute for to purchase the same product.
I think a key difference is that at the Post Office they organise their line whereas at my shop and many small businesses we do not have a regulated line. I suspect that our lack of regulation makes people feel we are not taking the next customer and the next and so or whereas at the Post Office that always happens so there is some certainty.
It’s the same here at my software business with help desk calls. People want to know that they are being dealt with in a linear fashion. Hopefully our CRM solution will provide the transparency they want so they can see that we do take them in order of arrival and not just pick off favorites.
In some respects I wish the Post Office customer mentality was available for small business customers – where people accept delays and public service like service. But then I don’t want their behind the counter arrogance. Not at all.