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We live in an age where customers expect things fast. Whether you’re serving a customer a meal in a restaurant, delivering a product to their address or fixing a problem with their car, you cannot keep them waiting too long.

If a customer waits too long, they will likely get impatient and angry. At this point, they may leave to find another company that can serve them more quickly. If they’ve already paid, they may demand a refund. They may also leave a bad review and possibly rant about it on social media if you’ve really angered them.

All of this is something that you most definitely do not want. If word spreads about your slow service, you’ll find it harder to attract customers. 

How to fix slow service

If you’ve already started to get complaints that your service is slow, it could be time to consider one of the following solutions.

Use time-saving tech

Modern technology can be used to speed up all kinds of tasks. Something like adopting a digital ticketing system in a restaurant could save you a lot of time. Make sure that technology isn’t so complex that it takes more time to learn than the time it saves. You should also avoid automating tasks that customers would prefer to be done by humans such handling complaints using an automated receptionist or manufacturing a product with machines advertised as ‘hand-crafted’.

Outsource the right help

Sometimes it may pay to outsource people to help you with tasks that are slowing you down. Many companies for instance have started outsourcing virtual receptionists to answer the phone so that their work is constantly interrupted by incoming calls. There are some tasks that you may have to outsource such as delivery drivers if you run an online store. In these cases, look for the best option – if customers expect next-day delivery, you may have to consider expedited shippers. Just be careful of how much money you spend on outsourcing. 

Train employees to follow time-saving protocols

Protocols are a series of routine tasks in a certain situation. You can easily train employees to follow protocols which may include taking certain routes when driving or preparing a meal in a certain way to make things quicker. This could prevent employees adopting their own methods which could be a lot longer. It’s worth also recording protocols in handbooks so that employees can easily reference them.

Occupy customers while waiting

Sometimes there’s no way in which you can make service any faster. In these cases, it could be important to find ways of keeping customers occupied. Some restaurants will serve customers small free extras while waiting for food such as bread or olives. Meanwhile, some telephone queues allow customers to choose their own music while on hold. 

Distraction will only go so far of course – keeping customers updated on progress is still important. Some companies have started developing apps to help customers keep track of deliveries. Telling customers where they are in a queue could also help.

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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