Transforming waiting time into an experience

Long wait times frustrate me. In fact, I am willing to bet that it’s the same for most customers. While most companies have solved this with shorter wait times, there are some cases where long wait times are unavoidable.  

But what if companies look at this long wait time as an opportunity to engage and delight their customers?

Let’s take a look at how some leading companies have taken a boring & frustrating wait time to an engaging exceptional experience”

1. Reimagining the airline experience with Changi Airport

Playing into the 5 senses of the customer, Changi Airport redefines how airports can be more than just a logistical destination. Case in point – Jewel’s ‘Rain Vortex’ is the tallest indoor waterfall in the world. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and picturesque scenery, Changi Airport transforms into a noteworthy destination for travellers.

Then there’s the Changi Experience Studio, a one-of-a-kind virtual wonderland that offers interactive games, immersive shows, and amazing projection experiences. The place allows visitors to play and become a part of simulating airport functions through realistic games.

(Image: Changi Airport Group)

From its design philosophy to fun and interactive activities, Changi Airport’s decision to prioritise the experience game represents a unique take on the conventional airline experience, serving as a key benchmark in the aviation industry.  

2. Today at Apple: Learn while you wait  

Central to Apple’s ethos of innovation is the culture of continual learning. Launched in 2017, ‘Today at Apple’ is the tech giant’s efforts to extend its ethos to the customer. In essence, it is a series of free store programs ranging from photography, videography, music, coding and art design.  

Since then, ‘Today at Apple’ has only continued to grow in its availability of store programs, further encouraging customers of all skill levels to begin their learning journeys. Learn how to take and create stunning photos on your iPhone with Photo Walks. Or, if you want, pick up a quick 5-minute tutorial on the basics of coding through Swift Playgrounds.

So, why not take a quick peek at ‘Today at Apple’ the next time you’re waiting for an appointment? You could come off learning something entirely new!

3. From painful to delightful, revamping healthcare wait times with entertainment and comfort  

Gone are the days when a visit to the healthcare facility was a dreaded affair - a cocktail of pain and boredom. Today, innovative approaches are revolutionising patient experiences in healthcare settings by infusing waiting periods with entertainment and relaxation.

With VR headsets, iPads and other gadgets, patients can immerse themselves in peaceful landscapes, catch up on their favourite movies, or play games. This turns potential downtime into an enjoyable experience, giving customers greater engagement throughout their journey.

The Arquer Institute in Barcelona exemplifies this shift perfectly. By redesigning their waiting room with plush seating, soothing colours, and engaging visual content, the Arquer Institute excels at depicting serene-like atmospheres.  

The result? A 37% decrease in perceived wait times. Patients are more engaged with their environment due to the various interactions available, leading to a calmer state during appointments.

A group of images of different landscapesDescription automatically generated
(Image: “Nature in Motion” collection by Babak Tafreshi, Sample of the content displayed at the Arquer Institute from WindowSight)

From learning a new skill to passing the time with various entertainment amenities, these brands prove that waiting can be more than a way to pass the time. While it may appear minuscule initially, these little moments can add up quickly, constructing a positive brand image in the long run. Hence, brands should learn how to fine-tune engagement at every possible level, turning even the most unproductive waiting hours into memorable customer experiences.