Though I understand the religious zeal behind Harry Potter adoration [despite skimming over the final book], how could thousands of people be willing to wait in the sweltering Florida heat for a two to five minute ride and/or shopping experience?
The magic lies within the experience. Universal Studios focuses as much, if not more, resources on the waiting period as they do to the actual ride. Universal Studios understands that 95% of the customer experience is waiting on line, so they provide not only entertainment, but engaging content; this generates a mounting excitement as the customer progresses through the waiting queue.
And these aren’t bland waiting queues; the entrance is usually a towering structure, either a castle, a cave, or some futuristic steel door that requires “security clearance.” The customer then progresses through a serious of twists and turns that set the atmosphere for the ride to come; for example, an icy cavern or dungeon walls. The enclosed paths open up to several “waiting rooms” filled with content: artifacts, live characters or animatronics, and ambient sounds: all working together to tell a story.
Business and Call Centers can learn fundamental lessons from the Universal Studios experience. Recognizing that waiting on hold is a necessary evil is the first step. Customizing that experience, making it productive, engaging, and informative, is the second step – that is where message on hold programs come in. The secret to successful content is creating a story that befriends the listener that makes them look forward to hearing the on hold program.
The ride doesn’t stop there. Once customers leave the ride they can purchase pictures or souvenirs; memories to bring home. Your message on hold program should continue serving customers after they hang up – by directing them to your company’s website or sponsored events.
As the well-traveled saying goes, life isn’t about arriving – it’s about the journey. But always make the most out of the eventual hold ups.
And if your travels take you to Harry Potter World, make sure to ride the Dragon Challenge - or at least try the butterbeer at the local Tavern.