Want to surprise and delight your waiting customers? Break the queuing rules.

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If your business goes into overdrive around the festive season, your customer facing staff could turn into robots. Most customers loathe having to queue and if staff are only concentrating on speed, this will quickly see them forget to be bright and friendly and before you know it, you have grumpy customers and grumpy staff. 

So, do your staff and your customers a favour and get creative this year with how to manage those queues. Consider these 3 ideas:

1. Stop staff saying "Next Please" over and over again. Instead of that boring and quite frankly tired way of treating your waiting customers, how about asking your staff to come up with a range of greetings and allow them to mix it up. When staff use their own words (and words they like), their tone will be more friendly. Of course, you have final say on what is appropriate and professional but stop the repeating of the same greeting. 

2. If your customers have to queue, give them something to do. Get a game of Pass the Parcel going. Start at the top of the line and let the customers pass it up and down until the music stops. That lucky customer gets to open and keep a small gift. 1 gift every hour will create laughter and smiles and who doesn't love a freebie. 

3. Get involved. Nothing delights staff and customers more than seeing the boss on the line. Spare 10 minutes here and there to help out. Don't be too busy to miss the opportunity to show your customers that you value them and your staff.

Customers who are time poor do appreciate speedy service but it doesn't take any more time to provide a service that is still focused on quality. Chapter Q is all about this in my book "The A - Z of Service Excellence".

November is a great time to start this conversation with your team. Put this topic on your next team meeting agenda, text your staff this question or simply ask them face to face "What could we do to make our queues a positive experience and not a negative part of doing business with us?" 

Go on...break the queuing rules.  I know, Pass the Parcel is possibly not the best idea but greatness often starts out as a crazy idea. Empower your staff to get creative and you might just find your customers tell everyone about your fabulous queues. That would be un-heard of so if you achieve this let me know what your team did and I will shout it from the roof tops - well, write about it anyway.

Warning: Be careful - one thing that will annoy waiting customers is having staff spending time entertaining them in the queue when there are empty checkout or serving spaces. Keep those payment or processing stations staffed because in a customers eyes, an empty check out or processing spot + a wandering employee = rage.