How businesses can manipulate time to gain bigger profits

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Washington, Feb 5 (ANI): Israeli researchers have found that time can be manipulated to gain bigger profits and make customers happy.

Prof. Dan Zakay of the Department of Psychology at Tel Aviv University said: "Billions of dollars are at stake when customers are waiting, be it on the phone, at an Internet e-commerce site, or in a department store.

"If people feel they're waiting too long, they'll hang up or walk away and spend their money elsewhere."

His study, which has appeared in the journal NeuroQuantology, suggests that businesses can retain these customers by using a few simple strategies.

For his research, Prof. Zakay asked his subjects to estimate and subjectively describe intervals of time. In the first group, 50 participants were taken to a waiting room and had nothing to do there, while in another room subjects were allowed to watch cartoons and TV as they waited for the same time. Those in the second group said they had a much shorter wait (nearly 50percent less) than those who had nothing to do.

Prof. Zakay explained: "When people are waiting in line, they have already committed to buying something, but because they don't like to wait, that commitment can change.

"The value of waiting, so to speak, is worth billions of dollars. Clients are easy to lose and hard to keep, especially when customers call in to buy something."

How consumers "feel" time is very important to making the initial sale and turning them into repeat customers, according to Prof. Zakay.

Some methods of his methods are: at amusement parks, lines for rides and activities should never be straight; they should always be fragmented into different segments. The idea is to divide the line so that no one can see the whole length of the line, since seeing a long waiting queue is frustrating compared to seeing a short waiting segment. Of course in each segment other methods for distracting attention from time should be used. For instance, characters like Mickey Mouse are important for distracting children with a low threshold for boredom.

The same techniques can be used for more traditional businesses.

Prof. Zakay pointed out: "There are very simple practices that can measurably boost sales.

"For example, telling customers how long they can expect to wait always helps to reduce the feeling of wait time. Giving them coffee or interesting things to do can retain their loyalty as well.

"Essentially people want to feel that their time is valuable and that they're not wasting it in line...When lines are designed well and waiting procedures are more enjoyable, the subjective aiting duration is decreased significantly," turning a long wait into a short one in the eyes of the customer. (ANI)

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