Avoiding the rush


When you call a company on the phone, they’ll sometimes tell you that you’ve tried to reach them during a very busy time. For instance, they might say that call volume is highest on Monday morning, and recommend that you call at another time if you don’t feel like waiting. While this isn’t a perfect system, I think the approach has merit. You’re giving customers additional data that otherwise wouldn’t be available, and helping them make better decisions about their time and resources.

Ok, so that covers the telephone. But what about physical stores? Have you ever seen a sign that indicates when a store tends to be the busiest? I’ve never come across anything like that, so I’m always forced to make my own judgements about good and bad times to shop, at least in terms of the crowds and lines.

Unless there’s some business advantage to having long lines at the same predictable times every week, retailers should put up signage that shows when they are busiest. Then, customers who want to avoid the lines can plan their shopping for off-peak times. Sure, there’s a chance that enough people will shift their shopping behavior and alter the historic trends. Just use a dry-erase board or some type of digital sign so that changes are easy. Either way, by giving customers the power to alter their shopping habits if they want to avoid the crowds, you’re improving their experience with your store and fostering long-term loyalty.