Improve Member Retention Through Decreased Wait Times

Studies have shown that average wait time is closely linked with that member or customer’s perception of your business and their ultimate satisfaction with the service received. Long wait times can cause frustration and impatience that can negatively impact member/customer loyalty, reduce return visits and ultimately cause the size of your member/customer base to suffer. Studies have shown that not only is actual wait time important in a member’s/customer’s’s experience, but also perceived wait time; time seems to stretch out when a member/customer is waiting to be served.

In a study titledManaging Service Quality”, published in the Journal of Service Theory and Practice, waiting time was shown to be not only a service satisfaction determinant, but it also impacts customer loyalty. In addition, the service they received after waiting did not moderate the negative impact of the long wait time; being satisfied with the service received was insufficient for the customers to remain loyal.

What does this mean for your financial institution? Simply this: If the majority of your financial transactions are agent-assisted, you are forcing a wait time on your clients. If you have a limited number of agents or your lobby fills up with members or customers, the wait time is longer which reduces member/customer satisfaction. As your business grows, it becomes more of a problem; to meet increased demand you will need to hire more staff, which means increased labor costs.

How can you reduce wait times? One method is to automate routine payment collection tasks through a payment processor. Simple and routine payment collections that are currently handled by agents can be automated so that the client can make a payment at home, thereby skipping the wait time at your office. A good payment processor provides services such as payment portals, gateways, an interactive voice response (IVR) system, virtual terminals and mobile payment solutions. Each can give the member/customer control over how and when they pay, so they make their payments without any wait time at all. As we have seen from research, lack of wait time means increased member/customer satisfaction which can mean increased member/customer loyalty.