Live venues are great for bringing people together. Event goers love connecting with the roaring crowd around them, which makes the experience more satisfying than watching something at home. Yet even this fun can be compromised by operational frustrations, the most common of which being long waiting times. Whether the wait is for tickets, food or drinks, long lines disappoint customers and can be the cause of an overall negative experience. 

While we wait for futuristic virtual queues to replace all waiting lines, here's how you can improve your customer's waiting experience:

1. Use digital signage and screens

Not all waiting experiences have to be terrible for customers. Engaging digital displays can make the line seem shorter, or even more memorable if you use them right. Your audience can wait in line while enjoying cartoons, TV shows, advertisements, or updates on upcoming events shown on large screens. Since there are many ways to incorporate these types of screens, you can mix and match your content to suit your audience.

To take this further, consider using this opportunity to display live customer content posted from your venue. This works like a charm to divert visitors’ attention to the memories being showed, while encouraging them to share more authentic content during the wait. If you can get your customers to engage with you, then you have succeeded in fostering a relationship with them, resulting in an improved waiting line experience.

2. Have in-queue merchandising

A survey of U.S adults found that over 90% of millennials admitted to making impulse purchases. Think about it: your customers are looking for ways to spend their unoccupied time while waiting in line. This opens a great opportunity for any last-minute impulse buying decisions.

Consider placing high-value or interesting items to entice your customers. Instead of looking at their phone or the back of the person in front of them, customers can draw their attention to small convenience items that benefit them in an aisle within sight. Having in-queue merchandising is a win-win for both sides: it increases your sales while enhancing the audience's waiting experience. Remember that even if your customers are not ready to make the purchase, they will still enjoy the “window shopping" experience you provide them.

3. Ask them for feedback

Your customer's satisfaction can make or break your business. A great way to understand your audience and improve their waiting line experience is through real-time feedback. For example, if you are informed in real-time about the length of the wait, you might be able to reallocate staff or open an additional register to expedite things. Thanks to new technologies, you can now integrate active listening tools into your venue systems to enhance your operations on the spot.

What does this look like for your customers? A possible solution might be placing QR codes on display screens or boards visible to customers waiting in line. Customers can respond to prompts through their phones to directly voice their specific concerns, for example, if a line is taking too long. Live venues are then able to use this intelligence to adjust staff and line configurations accordingly, making customers feel like their experience is valued.

Ultimately, improving your customers' waiting experience can make a huge difference in their level of satisfaction. By recognizing the distinct psychology of customers, you can mitigate some of the feelings of impatience and frustration to make their live venue experience more positive and increase the likelihood that they will return.