We are doing some work on measuring customer churn, and so I am doing some studies on people abandoning a queue.
Studies show that most people abandon the queue behaviors before joining the queue. They see a line and walk out.
These people are divided into three groups.
1) Too big
Many give up when they see the queue as too big. In Northern Europe, surveys show this behavior occurs significantly when in the queue has more than seven people, in America it starts occurring significantly at about five people and I suppose Australia being in between it would be six.
Still I would suggest people be conservative and if the queue is say five people its time to act.
If a queue is seen as too slow people tend to avoid that queue. If they are waiting a long time they will abandon the queue. Slow EFTpos are probably costing you money.
According to a British study, a quarter will wait a maximum of two minutes, 59 per cent said they would wait no longer than four minutes, and 73 per cent of shoppers say they would abandon their purchase if they had to queue for more than five minutes. An American study showed that 5 to 10 minutes is the maximum acceptable amount of time that they are prepared to wait in a queue.
It is suggested that if it starts getting too slow make a faster Express lane, maybe with all its problems consider an honesty box.
3) They see it as long.
This is a tough one and its not quite the same as (1) above.
If you look into the shop and see a long queue, some people tend to leave even though the queue is not long.
It is primarily considered to be a result of a faulty shop fit. A useful exercise is to look at your shop and try to picture what the queue would look like to a potential customer if it has six people in a queue. Maybe take some photos to review. Now do something to hid the queue size say put a shelf up to block the view.
Another example is say you have an ATM, it has a long queue, people tend to see its queue as your shop queue, and they leave.
I hope this helps.