As business owners, a line of customers out the door seems like the Holy Grail.
But, when that moment finally comes, it’s often not as wonderful as it would seem.
Here’s what happens…
You work hard for months (or years) creating products and services people want.
You market and get out there and shout from the rooftops about what you’ve built.
The customers start to come.
And, they keep coming.
And, things are great.
Until you fill up.
Appointment slots are full.
There are no seats left.
The line extends out the door, and instead of getting immediate assistance, customers are now waiting on you.
At that moment, you’re maxed out, sold out, full to the brim.
You take a long look at that line out the door, the line you worked so hard to build, and suddenly you imagine them all walking out, going elsewhere, leaving because they hate the line.
You rationalize that if you hustle and hurry and get them out of that line and into a seat fast enough they will be happy and come back.
You imagine that your hustle shows your dedication and commitment to your customers.
After all, nobody likes waiting in line right?
So, you tell yourself that the kind thing to do (the “responsible” thing to do) is to get them out of that line as quickly as possible.
But, all the hustling causes you to rush, make mistakes, get flustered, and miss important steps.
Service suffers, corners are cut, and employees burn out – all in the spirit of giving the customer what she wants.
But the truth is… people don’t really mind waiting in line (within reason).
And, hustling and pushing isn’t the way to respond to the line.
Waiting in line isn’t what people hate, it’s waiting in an uncomfortable environment, bored and without a clue when the waiting will end.
They hate being lied to, or being left in the dark, or witnessing panicked employees who are making mistakes and don’t seem to have things under control.
That’s what makes them uneasy.
Not the waiting itself.
You don’t actually have to eliminate the line. You simply have to keep the folks in line informed. Tell them what they can expect. Be honest and straightforward. Entertain them a little, and they’ll be happy.
Most of all, don’t panic.
Laugh a little.
Marvel at the line of folks waiting to get what you’ve created.
And most of all, trust them.
Trust that they’ll stick around.
Trust that they like your stuff enough to wait for it.
Or if they happen to leave the line and go elsewhere, trust that they’ll come back.
The customers in line are full of anticipation and eagerness. Don’t let your panic and your worried energy sour that excitement.
The line is what you hustled for.
The hard work is done.
Trust the line. Enjoy it.
There is a time to hustle and a time to reap the rewards.