How long are customers willing to wait for service in a retail store before they walk out? Not very long. Almost all (94 percent) customers think waiting 5 to 10 minutes or less is reasonable.
In fact, waiting too long is the No.2 complaint consumers have about retailers (The first? "Rude staff.") Keeping customers waiting more than 10 minutes may seem a trivial complaint, but waiting has it's cost. If a customer waits too long., 48 percent assume the business is poorly run, and 52 percent take their business elsewhere.
The National Wholesale Liquidators store in Yonkers is an example of good bargains and bad wait time. Located in the Yonkers Cross County Mall, it is conveniently situated with plenty of parking. Customers are allowed to transport shopping carts to their vehicles and unload merchandise. Bargains abound with $6.00 rose bushes, and cut rate toiletries. However, the benefits end at the check out line.
The lack of cashiers compounds the poor service. The bank of unmanned registers combined against the backdrop of long, extensive lines presents a bleak picture for the customer. It is not uncommon to see customers leave merchandise and walk out due to the frustration of the wait. On one occasion, a shopper was observed at the checkout being told that he qualified for a free $10 purchase due to his check out amount. He was delighted. However, his glee quickly faded when the manager added that when he retrieved his item of choice, he would have to reenter the line and wait again. He left cursing the manager and the store.
On Memorial Day, National Wholesale Liquidators bustled with activity. Bargains beckoned the wise shopper. Carts were full and navigating through the maze resembled a bumper car ride in the amusement park. The novelty came to a halt at the checkout counter where lines resembled human statues. Nothing moved. The wait time in the express lane was one half hour causing one customer to pump his fists in the air once he completed check out. He had truly crossed the finish line.