Form an orderly line.

Most people underestimate the importance of an orderly line. If an event is being run or conducted and there is no orderly line, the result is generally havoc and mass confusion.

A line helps to make things smoother and more organized. It keeps people “in order” per say and lets customers be far less aggressive. A massive group of people makes it so customers have to jostle each other and have uncomfortable conversations about who is next and who needs to go versus who needs to wait. Lines obviously aren’t complicated to form, but they can help a lot. Customers like it when things are organized and though it might not seem like it, most would rather be in a line than in a giant herd of people waiting to pay or get into an event.

With that in mind, though, the company shouldn’t make the line one that would be more appropriate in a totalitarian state. Chances are your line is being used in a business with customers who are generally pretty reasonable and cooperative, not in a police state with armed rebels. Lines should be nicely seperated with nice dividers. There shouldn’t be people yelling and jostling customers into line. It should be orderly and simple, but it shouldn’t scare customers. If the line is long (think Disney World), then there should be signs placed at regular intervals explaining the average wait time at that point. The line isn’t there to herd people – it’s there to make the process as fast and simple as possible.

And when an employee is ready to help a customer, avoid screaming “Next!” at all costs. Some alternative phrases are, “I’m ready to help the next customer now” or “Thank you for waiting. Next customer, please.” Employees can also make eye contact with the next customer and smile. It usually doesn’t take much. The rule, of course, is just to be polite and always apologize to customers that have been waiting in line for more than a few minutes. They want to hear that you understand they don’t like to wait.