Yes, you read that right.
And that’s usually the case… until it isn’t.
You see, there’s a time when slow loading websites CRUSH fast loading websites.
And today, I’ll tell you all about it.
Think People Hate Waiting? Think Again…
“Good things come to those who wait.”
Yes, that’s the Guinness beer slogan.
“Wait, what? Beer? What’s this have to do with websites?”
Nothing… but the strategy has EVERYTHING to do with them.
Look: it takes a long time to pour a full glass of Guinness.
And while people appreciate that now, as Martin Lindstrom points out in Buyology (aff), it wasn’t always like that.
During the early 1990s, people actually hated it, but that’s when genius struck. Guinness rolled out ads that said “good things come to those who wait” and “it takes 119.53 seconds to pour the perfect pint.”
Guess what happened…
Everything changed! The slow pouring process of Guinness beer became cherished. It was no longer an objection, it was now a unique selling proposition.
Why People Happily Wait For Beer, Websites, and More
There’s obviously a fine line here. On one hand people hate waiting, and on the other hand, people love it.
What’s the difference? And how does this apply directly to the web?
That’s where these two smart researchers Ryan W. Buell and Michael I. Norton (both from Harvard Business school) come in.
Ryan and Michael put together an experiment where they asked people to search for a flight on a simulated travel website.
There were two groups of people. One group saw the same-ole boring progress bar before they were delivered their desired flights. The other group saw a detailed progress bar that showed each airline being checked for tickets.
Which service received higher ratings?
The latter one… obviously. But here’s the kicker:
The people who used the second service had to wait almost a full minute for their results.
Yes, 60 seconds, and the service got higher ratings.
To quote Ryan and Michael from the Harvard Business Review, “customers find waiting more tolerable when they can see the work being done on their behalf—and they tend to value the service more.”
That’s The Ticket… People Love To Be Pampered
Makes sense, right? Who doesn’t like the VIP treatment?
People enjoyed the long-pour with Guinness and the long wait with the travel site because it was done for them, not against them.
How does this work in the web world?
Imagine a travel site that wanted to compete with Kayak.
Instead of returning the results instantly, like Kayak, they could show a nice progress bar that said something like “we’ve found the best flights, but we’re checking once more to ensure we didn’t miss the good ones.”
And then, when people saw their search results, instead of seeing a list of the cheapest flight first, there could be a highlighted little box that says “we believe this is the best flight for you.”
And how would they determine “the best flight?”
They could look at transactions from that one user, or a group of similar users. They can create a whole algorithm and compete against Kayak with the slogan “we find you the best flights.”
Think they’d have a shot?
How Can You Take Advantage The Pamper Treatment?
Remember, the takeaway is this:
People don’t mind waiting when it’s in their own best interest. And not only do they not mind, they actually prefer it (as shown by higher ratings).
Now to demonstrate how this may apply directly two you, I have two examples:
Example 1: The New Product Release
Are you about to release a new product?
People may not have been waiting on it outright, but given this new research, you should describe — in complete detail — the time, love, and care that went into your product’s development.
If it took a year, say that. And then explain why it took year, going into full detail the love and care you gave your product, and why that matters to your customer.
Simply mentioning time implies that your customer was waiting, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the higher satisfaction that comes with the wait.
Just remember, when you set expectations, small little tweaks can lead to massive results (like increasing your prices by 71%).
Example 2: The Explanation of Service
You likely already make your customers wait. Everyone does at some point.
In those instances, do you explain why they must wait, or do you just ask them to wait?
In my experience, companies often quickly ask people to wait, but never give a reason. That creates frustration.
However, if you make that slight change, and tell people why they’re waiting, you’ll potentially make your customers happy for the wait.
(Note, don’t create BS reasons. People can spot that too, and it will backfire).
As a real life example, you’ve heard about my “what are you struggling with question.”
Well, sometimes it takes me a week to respond, but when I do, I simply explain why it took so long, and almost always, people are just happy that I made the time to answer them.
The Bottom Line
It’s true. People are are impatient, and it’s getting worse each day.
But in this fast-paced world, you can continue to try and get faster… or you can simply slow down.
You see, people have come to expect fast, and when that’s their expectation, slow can become your winning difference when executed properly.
One More Thing…
Now here’s what I want you to do…
As you know, I spend a ton of time writing articles like this for you.
If you could help me out by sharing this on Twitter or Facebook, it would be greatly appreciated.
Also, have you had any experiences with longer wait times? What made it “okay” in your book? Leave a comment.
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