Customer Waiting

GUEST BLOG: Honor Your Customers’ Time and Their Clock

When you honor people’s time, when their urgency is your urgency, worry and concern is replaced with peace of mind. The shoulders relax, the dialing and the texting and the not knowing doesn’t begin.

Would you give your mom a four-hour window in which you might show up to visit her? No, of course not, but building in that four-hour window for companies makes it easier on the organization to schedule, but it says to your customer, “Our time and our priorities matter more than yours.”


According to a survey conducted by CNN Money, 58% of all Americans said that they have waited for in-home appointments for the cable guy and other in-home service workers an average of 4.5 hours. That’s what happened to Mary, a healthcare worker, at a Minneapolis hospital. See if this sounds familiar:

When her refrigerator went on the fritz, she got a four-hour window for when the refrigerator guy would show up. Okay. “He’ll show up within the first hour with any luck,” she thought to herself. Well, no dice and no luck.

Seeking to get a closer timeframe and when she could get back to work, she called the 800 number, and then she waited on hold for 15 minutes and then finally was told that they wouldn’t be able to tell her exactly when her repairman would show up, but they would text her guy for her and he’d text her back. Hope!

Well, her hope was dashed when she didn’t receive a text and the waiting began again. Her repairman finally showed up in the final 20 minutes of the four-hour window, and when Mary said, “You were supposed to show up and finish the work within those four hours,” his response to her was, “Nope, that’s just when we promise to be there to start the work on your refrigerator”


Keep customer time. Make their clock your clock. In these times, actions, not promises, equal the measure of integrity and respect. Honoring customers’ time will earn their rave. Customers will remember you for the service delivered and not the energy it took to receive it. The impact of making people wait, especially for in-home services, has consequences that go beyond an unfortunate memory shared on social media.

 “In these times, actions, not promises, equal the measure of integrity and respect.” – Jeanne Bliss

CNN research also revealed that many of the people who waited for in-home appointments lost wages waiting, and half of the respondents had to use a sick day or a vacation day to wait for service providers.

And the waiting game continues beyond the cable guy to customers in nearly every industry. In fact, in Israel, in an effort to have repair technicians show respect for customers waiting for them, the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, are actually endeavoring to pass what they call the Technician’s Law. If passed, it will actually impose fees on companies who show up for repair an hour late or more than promised.

Customers all around the world are waiting to be served.


The “Make Mom Proud” companies wrap their operation around respecting customers’ time. They don’t ever want customers’ lives to revolve around their schedule. In fact, Amazon Prime leader, Stephenie Landry, says that they focus their entire customer experience around answering two questions: do you have what I want and can you get it to me when I need it?

What we know is many companies, including cable companies, are now endeavoring to honor customers’ time. Let’s see if that sticks for all of us.

Jeanne Bliss is the Founder of CustomerBliss, Jeanne also the author of the groundbreaking book, “Chief Customer Officer” and bestseller “Would You Do That to Your Mother” She is a highly sought after speaker, keynoting high profile conferences and corporate events.

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Customer Service Institute of America