The Hopeful Wait Principle

waitOne of the most well-known verses of scripture in the old testament is the line from Psalm 27: “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage…” It was the scripture passage for the sermon at my church. But, I learned a unique fact. The imperative verb translated “wait” is the Hebrew word kavveh that literally means, “look for with anticipation” or “hope.” “Be of good courage” (chazak) is often translated as andridzou or “like a man” or “like a strong person.”

Since the world of customer service dominates my brain, sometimes even during a Sunday morning sermon, I wondered what makes for a “strong wait” rather than a “long wait.” Service providers around the globe deal with wait time. Service cannot always be exactly when we want it. So, how could you help customers “look for with anticipation” instead of dread? When wait is not something that can be curtailed, how do you lend strength to the impatient customer?

I attended a ballgame in a large stadium and had to wait in line for a ticket. Some of the players were playing the wait line signing autographs and warmly greeting patrons. Later, the cheerleaders threw giant beach balls into the crowd that were then batted around the entire stadium as people waited for the game to begin.

Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant in Atlanta has a tortilla making machine kids adore watching through the glass rather than wait for their meals at their table. When an entree takes a bit longer than expected at the fine restaurant in a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, the waiter often presents a small, extra appetizer “compliments of the chef.” It literally restarts the guest’s wait clock.

How can you couple strength and wait when wait is unavoidable? How can you blend positive hope into the wait experience?


photo credit: takomabibelot via Flickr

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Dr. Chip R. Bell is a world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and innovative service. Global Gurus ranked him in 2018 the #2 keynote speaker in the world on customer service; #1 in North America. He also is the author of numerous national and international best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, Magnetic Service, The 9½ Principles of Innovative Service and Customers as Partners. His books have been translated into over a dozen languages.

His newest customer service book is the award-winning, best-selling book Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles.

Dr. Bell has appeared live on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, CNN, Fox Business, ABC, CBS, NPR Marketplace and his work has been featured in Fortune, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Forbes, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Fast Company.


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