With a higher level of efficiency comes a significantly lower level of patience. The question of “Why should I have to wait” comes into play, which can make things complicated for a business owner and operator. So, how can you increase your efficiency as a business, in order to achieve maximum customer satisfaction? Two words: Appointment making.
You waited how long to see your doctor?
Here’s the problem with impatience: Everyone’s time is valuable, yours, your client’s and your employees. So where does impatience come in?
- The boredom conundrum. If your clients are made to wait for you, whether in the office or on hold over the phone, a space of unoccupied time can stretch before them. If there’s no known end to their wait time, impatience can rear its ugly head. Many businesses are addressing this issue in a number of creative ways. Movie theatres are providing trivia, in-depth looks at television shows and upcoming movies and other entertaining shorts before a film starts. Doctor’s offices provide a slew of forms to keep patient’s minds occupied. Try to think creatively with your business, and keep your hold times as short as possible.
- Value your client’s time. This idea goes back to how valuable time is. No matter what, your client has taken time away from his own work, his own family, and his own hobbies to give your business attention. As a business owner, you must treat that gift with the utmost respect and appreciation, and feed their desire for your services, because ultimately getting started means making a sale for you.
- When will it end? Uncertain wait times can cause stress, and end in anger for your clients. Many businesses are offering recordings that tell exactly how long the wait is when on hold. Others, like a restaurant, can give patrons an estimation of how long their wait will be. If you take this uncertain variable away, it can reduce anxiety and stress greatly.
- People want to get started. Excitement can be an awesome emotion, particularly if that excitement is geared toward your product or service. But, if not attended to, it can lead to a fair amount of impatience. Think of how excited you were for Christmas morning when you were a kid. But, if your parents or siblings didn’t get up as early as you, impatience may have crept in, stealing some of your joy and replacing it with a fair amount of anxiety. Don’t let this happen to your clients. Feed their excitement by keeping wait times as short as possible.
Are we there yet?
So what can you as a business owner do to cope with impatience not if, but when you are faced with it? There are a number of approaches you can take, including:
- Continue to be cognizant of your client’s time. Remember what they’ve given up to make that call or appointment with you. Honour that appropriately. Do what you can to be on time, and in the event that you are late, and your client does have to wait for you, make sure and apologize. Help them understand you appreciate their value.
- Do what you can ahead of time to diffuse impatience before it can develop. Taking the mystery out of wait times by providing a finite end with hold times, or other timer-type tools can be extremely valuable when keeping the peace among clients.
- Appeal to the human element. Your clients are people too. If you’re late for something, or they have to wait for anything, explain what happened. They’re more likely to be understanding if you tell them an emergency came up, or your last client ran long, and you want to be able to devote the same attention to them. If you are placed in a worst-case scenario where a client’s impatience has led to anger, try not to respond in kind. Make sure to apologize profusely and do what you can right the wrong. Because, if you have made a potential client wait excessively, you have wronged them by devaluing their time. Sometimes all it takes to diffuse a situation is an acknowledgement of the wrongdoing.
Your best solution to impatience: Appointment Making
So how do you avoid making your client wait? Set an appointment! This strategy can potentially eliminate any and all wait times if done effectively, thus eliminating impatience before it can even spark.
Why does it work?
The appointment setting is almost a science. It’s the most efficient way to squeeze as many clients into your day as possible, meaning the most bang for your buck financially. Ideally, you set blocks of time aside for each client, filling your day with potential sales, maximizing your ROI with your time. Not setting appointments and making your clients wait until you’re available can be a terribly frustrating and inefficient way to operate. Even if it’s just a phone meeting, it’s better to set aside time to speak when you can be focused than to make your client wait indefinitely on hold. They will be more receptive to what you have to say if they’re not frustrated by their impatience as a result of their wait time. That being said, what’s the best way to set appointments? Businesses take a number of approaches to appointment making.
- Some businesses use secretaries, and calendars and manually set their appointments. While this gives you a human element, it can be cumbersome and confusing when rescheduling comes into play.
- Others use scheduling software, which can be extremely helpful in streamlining the process and eliminating any guesswork. The software can even make it easy to reschedule appointments, removing the potential for future impatience with clients.
So, now that you are armed with information that you probably pulled up in a matter of seconds, go forth and conquer the impatience brewing among your clients!