Interaction that helps reduce waiting anxiety

Recently I noticed the customers in McDonald’s no longer need to lineup in a usual way, by the help of a digital screen and self-checks they are able to order quickly and efficiently. Once you make the order, you just need to look at the screen above so that you know your order are under processing. It is a great improvement since a digital queuing system makes waiting simple and comfortable, for you can sit far away while keep watching the screen.

However, when there are many numbers on the screen and some people come late but get ordered food sooner than yours, you will feel anxious and want to complain since your number appears earlier than them. Naturally, different orders take different amounts of time, but such a lineup with plain contexts will not be helpful to make some customers happy in waiting. Therefore, I consider some small changes can be made to reduce customer anxiety:

  1. warn the customer in advance by adding a label for each order the estimated time according to your orders. It will not be hard to implement since small fries, or cokes, burgers are easy to estimate the time in a fast-food restaurant.
  2. update the customer of progress by adding instant notices like “baking” “preparing steaks” “preparing cokes” that will let them know you are working on behalf on them even if they are supposed to wait a bit longer than others.
  3. provide enough comfort: there is a small soft cushion for customers to lean on, but they can provide more like handrails. Or even a small screen playing ads or animations.

Bibliography: http://www.jeffmowatt.com/article/yes-i-mind-waiting/

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