TIP 11: Take Your Time if Lots of Customers Are Waiting in Line.

Let them wait! What doesn’t kill them will make them stronger.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned Watching his Watch

“Keeping customers waiting in line builds their desire for our product or service, right? Lines are just an unavoidable part of doing business. I like to take my time with each customer by telling them all about my personal life. Building rapport with my customers is part of my job description. Customers love me —especially the ones at the back of the line. I can’t help it if they get impatient. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“In our fast-paced society, we don’t like to wait for anything. We’ve all had this happen: We find all the things we need, and when we go to check out there’s a long line. Some retailers, like Fry’s Electronics and TJ Maxx, have gotten smart – they put small items on both sides of their aisles. So while you’re waiting in line, you’ll be enticed to buy more — or at least have something at which to look.

The frustration comes when the employees working the checkout are working too slowly or are chatting extensively with each customer. It is absolutely possible for you to work fast and be friendly at the same time. Give it a try. You may surprise yourself!”

A Real World Example

Have you ever been in a hurry and had to deal with employees who were taking their time and chatting? I was on a military base to conduct a customer service training. When I arrived at the guard shack, I was instructed to enter the security booth to get a pass. At least 15 people were in line in front of me. Two workers sat behind their desks checking in people. Both were working very slowly. They joked with each other about the wild party they had gone to and about how drunk they had gotten. When a third employee entered the room, the three of them continued joking and even dropped the “F-bomb.” Those of us waiting in line were frustrated and upset with this blatant disregard for our time. Needless to say, I reported this behavior to the Training Department Director.

Moral to the story: Using the “F” bomb in front of customers may result in a court marshal.

Strategies to Turn This Around

When you have a long line of customers, work fast.

  1. Pick up the pace.
  2. Remain courteous and helpful.
  3. Keep extraneous conversation to a minimum.


Remember: We live in a fast-paced society where people don’t like to wait.

“The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.”

— Unknown

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

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