Each customer that passes through your business requires some time to service. You should be able to track that time and measure how long it takes you to serve the average customer.
Last week I took my recently purchased eyeglasses back to Lenscrafters to get them repaired. I walked into their very busy store on a Saturday afternoon. Almost every chair was taken by a customer and I knew I was in for a long wait.
One of the employees looked up from helping a customer and greeted me with “Can I help you?”
I explained the glasses I had purchased had some defects and needed to be repaired. He then told me I’d have to wait.
“How long do you think the wait will be?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” the employee sighed as he labored to visibly count all the people that were waiting. “You have three people ahead of you.”
As I walked over to the wall to stand and wait, I wondered, “Why didn’t he know how long it would take to serve three customers?”
Surely each customer takes an average amount of time to serve. You can figure out based on that time, and how many employees you have working, just how long it should take until I get helped.
However, this employee didn’t know the answer to that question. Because of this, he couldn’t set my expectation and I almost left the store because I thought it could take all afternoon.
How could this be improved?
Track how long it takes to help customers. Measure and record this data over time and you’ll see certain patterns emerging. You should identify that particular transactions typically take similar times to complete.
Why measure? Two reasons: better customer service and improved operational efficiency for your business.
When you know how long it takes to help customers, you can set their expectations. A customer who knows they need to wait ten minutes might be okay if they just know that is how long it will take. The unknown factor of waiting drives customers insane.
Web hosting company Hostway used this principle to eliminate the “on hold” black hole.
Once you know how long it takes for you to perform transactions, you can distribute your efforts accordingly. You’ll see your busy times and can schedule more staff to help.
By analyzing the process, you’ll be able to see if there are glaring inefficiencies that could be improved.
Knowing the average customer service time can really help your business shine. It will allow you to better serve customers and identify gaps in your current processes.