Bad Sign

By Sean Whiffen, V.P. Strategy, Technology & Content 

Waiting in line … This common experience conjures thoughts and feelings in every one of us – from the DMV to the grocery store. It’s part of life, and we each have our way of dealing with the experience. I generally view it as an obstacle course to successfully maneuver, like finding an opening on a race track. My wife will completely avoid certain stores from the hours of 9 am to 7 pm just to escape the lines.

The experience a business provides its customers while in line says a lot about what or whom that business values. Case in point is my recent experience at a store, buying one simple Xbox game for my son during lunch. I literally went from the front door, to the game section, then finally to the checkout line in less than three minutes. I knew what I wanted, where it was, and was ready to complete the experience.

One female customer was in front of me in line, and no employee was at a register. They were all empty. About one minute later an employee came to a register to help the woman. However, the employee then went through a pitch about joining the rewards program, which the woman accepted. The process of registering the woman for the program took eight minutes! No other employees opened another register.

Then the employee offered for the woman to participate in another part of the program, which involved scanning a QR code at the register. She accepted, but didn’t have a cell phone – so she borrowed the employee’s phone. By this time, two more customers filled in line behind me, with the one immediately behind me complaining to me about the delay. To top it all of – the only screen with content to distract us from the wait time was oriented wrong (see above: the screen should have been mounted vertically, or the screen should have had horizontal content).

Over ten minutes after getting in line, more than 3x the amount of time I spent actually shopping, I finally reached the register where the employee asked if I wanted to enroll in their rewards program …

Getting customer to enroll in a loyalty program is terrific. Offering additional services to customers upon checkout is important for business, and is vital in the automotive services industry where getting recommended work done can save thousands of dollars and potentially someone’s life. But make sure you have enough personnel to respectfully handle the other customers with whom you are not currently speaking.

Don’t have enough personnel, or finding it hard to get well-spoken help? Then use digital tools to expand your capabilities with a virtual sales staff. Your CSI scores and retention rate will go up, and so too will your additional sales. Just make sure your screens are turned the right way.

Sean Whiffen is Vice President and Co-Founder of AutoNetTV.  AutoNetTV’s digital signage products deliver entertaining and educational TV programming to the lobbies of automotive service and repair businesses as well as digital menu boards and automotive website video content.