'RENEGING' OCCURS WHEN A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER EXITS A QUEUE LINE, OFTEN BECAUSE THE LINE IS PERCEIVED TO BE TOO SLOW, OR UNFAIR.
Most people are used to experiencing some amount of waiting for the things they want. However, when the wait is unexpectedly long, or when the wait is perceived to be unfair, customers may 'renege' on their willingness to stand in line. When a customer exits a line, the business loses not only the immediate opportunity to make a sale, but leaves a negative impression on the customer--that the establishment isn't prepared for their business.
WHAT IS 'RENEGING', AND WHY DOES IT OCCUR?
In queue theory, the study of waiting in line (yes, that's a real thing), 'reneging' is when a potential customer enters a waiting line, but after some period of time, decides to exit. 'Reneging' is related to the concept of 'balking' (when a customer sees a line and decides not to enter), in that businesses lose the opportunity to make an immediate sale, and leave the visitor with the impression that the establishment isn't ready for their business. When customers leave unhappy or frustrated, especially after waiting for a period of time in a slow-moving queue, studies have shown that they are less likely to give the establishment another shot for their business in the future, no matter how good or valuable the underlying services or goods may be. Thus, reducing the number of potential customers that give up on waiting is important for building sales and long-term customer retention.
WHAT IS A 'NO-SHOW', AND WHY ARE THEY BAD FOR BUSINESS?
In the restaurant, bar, and nightclub industries, a 'no-show' is when a customer 'reneges' on their commitment to wait for your services, and does not return to the host when they are paged. No-shows in the restaurant are bad for business for three important reasons: 1) they represent money left on the table from guests you were unable to serve; 2) in most cases, they leave the guest with a poor impression of your venue, that you were not prepared to serve them; and 3) it takes the host and door staff time to "count" a party as a no-show, and this time increases the overall wait for everyone, becoming a vicious loop. Thus, implementing policies and procedures that serve to reduce no-shows can effectively increase revenue, strengthen brand image, increase customer retention, and reduce overall wait times. The benefits are enormous.
WHY DO PEOPLE 'RENEGE' ON WAITING AT THE RESTAURANT, BAR, OR NIGHTCLUB?
Studies have shown (perhaps not surprisingly) that the most sited reason visitors renege on waiting is that the wait 'took too long.' For this reason alone, managers should prioritize effective waitlist management techniques aimed at reducing the overall time their visitors need to wait. However, as it turns out, there are even more subtler factors, other than the time spent waiting, that contribute to a positive or negative overall guest experience, including ideas of fairness, the management of expectations (giving accurate quote times), and the subjective (and often inaccurate) way in which humans perceive the passage of time. In this way, it's often the way in which people 'feel' about their time in line that is more important than the total time actually spent waiting.
Two powerful tools that have been used effectively to influence the perception of waiting customers are the use of distraction (engaging the customer in an alternate activity so the wait seems faster), and the effective management of expectations (providing the customer with information about how long they will be waiting). Indeed, adding distractive fixtures, like televisions in the lobby, or posters in queue lines, can be simple yet effective ways to make the wait 'feel' shorter. In addition, effective staff training in the 'art of quoting wait times' can go a long way to improving the overall guest experience. However, hardware installations, and extensive training, can be complex, expensive, and risky. In addition, when queue lines or waits get very long, guests are known to 'balk' at joining the line in the first place.
If you've worked the host stand in a restaurant, you know that feeling when you call a party's name, and no-one responds. All too often, when the wait is too long or inefficient, customers get frustrated, give up, and go somewhere else. Not only did you lose their business that day, if your wait seemed unduly long or unfair, you've also jeopardized the chances that the customer will return. This is why efficient crowd control solutions are crucial for effective restaurant management. Implementing a guest-focused waitlist solution like WAIT'N can reduce the overall wait time, and increase guest satisfaction, effectively driving repeat business.
WAIT'N changes the way guests feel about waiting by engaging them with an interactive web-app, accessible from a link sent via SMS when they join your waitlist. Unlike other solutions that burden the guest to download an app to even monitor their place in line, WAIT'N works on any phone, and on any browser in a matter of seconds, without the wasted time of downloading something new. From the customer dashboard, guests can discover more of your venue's services, see local attractions, modify their party information, cancel their reservation, and a whole lot more. Of the 85% of total guests that view their place in line, 95% have more than 4 interactions with the app per visit.
In addition, WAIT'N uses AI heuristics to learn your venue's customer flow in order to effectively determine the anticipated wait for each party, and displays this information prominently. This information is relayed to the customer dashboard in real-time, along with the customer's spot in line, how many parties and guests are ahead of them, and how many people are waiting in total. With all of this information, the customer is always informed about how long they should expect to wait for service, how fast the line is moving, and why the wait is so long. In addition, this information is also relayed to the staff dashboard so that hosts and door persons can inform guests of wait times before they choose to get on the wait list.
Unlike other waitlist apps, WAIT'N calculates a "no-show likelihood" metric for each guest party, and displays this information to staff. The metric consists of geo-location data and interaction data collected whenever a guest checks their place in line. With geo-location and interaction data we are able to predict with high accuracy the probability that a party will return to the venue when they are paged. When you're at capacity, getting through the waitlist quickly is immensely important, and wasting time waiting for parties that aren't going to show up is costly and inefficient. WAIT'N gives door persons the confidence to page parties earlier than normal, in order to remove them from from the list when their likelihood to no-show is high.
This has the effect of reducing overall wait times, and is an effective way to prevent other guests from 'reneging' on their wait. At the same time, because the line that does exist (to check ID's or get added to the waitlist) appears relatively short and fast moving, most visitors are willing to add themselves to the digital waitlist, effectively reducing 'balking' to almost zero.