Waiting – part two.

So earlier today, I waited. I had to go to some meeting/seminar, which was fine. I was told to arrive at 10:50 AM and that the seminar would start at 11:00 AM. I arrived at 10:50, took my seat, and waited. There were about 50 people in the room and about 5 or so staff members also waiting.

I went through my email on my phone and after 15 minutes or so, I had finished that and started getting a bit impatient. I kept on waiting and it was 11:15 AM by now. I asked the person sitting next to me if he knew anything and he said he didn’t. Finally, at 11:20 AM the people who were supposed to talk came in. No hello or anything – they just went to back and came out one by one a few minutes later. After an annoying 45 minutes, at 11:35 AM, the meeting/seminar started. It ran until 12:30 (a half hour later than it should have) and everyone was fairly mad.

So, what did these guys do right? Nothing. Is it possible to make this situation into at least an acceptable one? Yes!

  • Plan. The people who were running this do meetings like this fairly often. They have an idea of how long it takes to get setup, what’s involved, who’s involved, and so on. They should have planned their schedule so that they were an hour early. That would have given them plenty of time to get all setup and adjusted.
  • Update. Keeping customers in the loop is so important. There were no shortage of staff members there – they should have been providing updates. One guy or girl going up on the stage and saying “We’re running a bit late. Everything should be starting in about 5 minutes. We apologize for the inconveniences!” would have been very helpful.
  • Update again. Once the people actually made it, the staff members should have provided another update.
  • Something to do. People like to be entertained. Playing a brief, informative video or someone asking some questions to engage the audience all would be helpful to avoiding aggravations.
  • Lots of apologies. There was no apology about everything running so late. There should have been and if you find yourself in a situation where you are running late, apologize – several times.
    • For bonus points, when you send out the thank you cards (which you do, of course) – include an additional apology. Something like “P. S. Sorry that we ran late!”
  • Bride ’em. I’m not usually opposed to bribing customers. So, give them a coupon to something, a gift certificate, a little gadget, or just something to help apologize for the inconvenience.

If you do these things, it will at least make the experience of having to wait a tolerable one. Running late is terrible and it is hard customer service experience to recover from. However, you can still try to make the best out of it.

Have a great weekend!

One Response to “Waiting – part two.”

  1. Glenn Ross said:

    Mar 02, 07 at 9:54 pm

    Doug,

    If American Airlines had followed your advice on Monday, they wouldn’t have lost me as a customer. See my Thursday post.

    Regards,

    Glenn