People by nature are impatient creatures. This is why businesses should do whatever they can to curtail long wait times. This is why retail stores always open another checkout lane whenever any lane in use has more than three people in queue. Of course, some waiting is inevitable, which is why businesses should take active measures to keep their patrons occupied. This way, even if long wait times are unavoidable, the time will fly by more quickly. One way to keep customers occupied is through engagement with digital signage content.

Patiently Waiting is not a Trait People are Typically Good At

The airport industry is one sector where customers are expected to wait for prolonged periods. One airport in Houston, however, incorporated an ingenious idea to reduce traveler dissatisfaction associated with waiting times. The airport was facing numerous complaints regarding the time it took for arriving passengers to retrieve their baggage. The complaints continued even after the average wait time was reduced with the employment of additional baggage handlers.

Here’s where the creative part kicks in. Instead of implementing further measures to cut down on wait times, what it did instead was move the arrival gate further away from the baggage claim area. This meant that by the time passengers made their way on foot to the baggage area, their bags were ready for retrieval or almost ready. The number of complaints dropped drastically.

The interesting part is that the time it took from getting off the flight to getting their baggage remained the same; it just felt shorter because more of the time was spent walking to the baggage claim rather than standing and waiting impatiently at the area.

Digital Signage Serves as an Effective Distraction During Long Wait Periods

The airport example illustrates that long waiting times becomes far less of a problem if people have something to occupy their minds. This is where digital signage comes in. Most industries recognize that their customers’ time is valuable, and they certainly don’t want them to feel like their time is wasted standing in line. This is true whether it’s waiting at a checkout lane, getting on a flight, waiting to be seated at a restaurant, or whatever.

This is why digital signage should be used as a form of mind engagement tool. In addition, it also has a secondary benefit as the content helps to promote your own products, services or offers that may increase brand awareness. In fact, roughly seven in 10 customers have revealed that their buying decisions have been influenced in one way or another by an in-store sign.

Types of Content to Include

First, keep one or more digital signage displays in waiting areas or wherever customers tend to congregate in large numbers. Also keep it at eye level and not overhead where customers will have to strain to tilt their heads up.

As for the content, include industry-related material, and show it in a way that makes it entertaining. Incorporate images, slides and animation. Also consider using kid-friendly visuals if children make up a good portion of your demographic. Other ideas include the use of social media. Put up some past customer posts to show the positive comments other customers had to say about your company.

Whatever content you use, frequently switch it up to keep it fresh. In other words, show an ad for one of your products, then rotate it out with a social media post followed by a promotional feature of your latest loyalty program. Switching out the content in this manner will keep the content fresh and the customers engaged. This part is important because as soon as a customer loses interest in the digital signage content, the mind will return to waiting mode and boredom.

Patience is a virtuous trait but one that many people don’t have a whole lot of. However, as long as there is some sort of external stimuli to keep the mind occupied, the time spent won’t be as heavily regarded as waiting.