Is queuing healthy for brands?

An article appeared in the Daily Mail last week that highlighted research by Chicago University into the value that we place on things we wait for.

The results made for interesting reading, as the university found that queuing for something makes people place a higher value on what they get at the end. The idea is that, as we mentioned in one of our recent blogs about Apple iPhone launches, queues can create an extra desirability for certain products.

However, although the article raises some valid points, our many years of experience tell us that there’s more caution to be had when trying to build an atmosphere.

Whilst seeing a large number of people clambering for a product makes us feel that we’d otherwise be missing out, having to wait for a long time risks us turning and walking away. And once we’ve made that decision that it’s not worth the time, the damage to the brand has been permanently done.

The difference between the two is whether we will feel that either our expectations are being mismanaged, or that they are being made to wait ‘artificially’, rather than as a result of demand.

The answer is that, for the illusion to work, customers need to still feel a sense of progress rather than a standstill. To achieve this, an efficient queue management system is essential – creating the buzz of demand but matching customers’ expectations of actually getting what they want in the end.

If the article is to be believed, then the combination of a busy atmosphere but with efficient service is perfect for customers to return time and again.

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