North Melbourne’s AFL pain providing the foundation for a brighter future

Football rebuilds are notoriously painful and sometimes seemingly never ending, as Carlton fans would attest.

In times of decline, supporters of clubs are desperately looking for glimpses of a more promising future. That glimmer of hope. The type of glimpses Essendon has given its fans this season as the young Bombers have looked to emerge again, more than 16 years after the club’s last finals victory.

As in daily life, expectation management plays a key part in shaping the supporter experience.

Carlton has long sold the “we’re coming” narrative. Until recently, Collingwood was projecting a confidence it could still play finals, while Hawthorn refused to acknowledge it needed to bottom out, with Hawks fans, so accustomed to success, in for less profitable times.

It’s a delicate balance between selling hope and reality.

To commit to memberships, fans need to feel they are either investing in something successful or something that’s entering a growth phase. There’s nothing less palatable than being somewhere stuck in the middle.

Essendon has been honest with its supporters, following a policy of under-promise and over-deliver. Bombers fans now feel like they’re embarking on an exciting journey, a feeling further fuelled by Sunday’s thrilling win over Freo.

North Melbourne is hoping to provide a similar ride for its supporters.

The Kangaroos came close to breaking their winless run before finally doing it on Saturday.(

AAP: James Ross


In recent times there are few examples of a club in a more dire state than the Kangaroos when David Noble took over.

The previous coach, Rhyce Shaw, had resigned after a period of absence from the club to deal with personal issues, North had won only three games in the 2020 season – one of its last 15 – and conducted a brutal list overhaul. Noble had seemingly inherited a basket case.

Highly experienced in a range of football roles across several clubs, Noble brought an immediate sense of calm and, most importantly, direction.

Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs provided a torrid introduction to senior coaching, but North showed steady signs of improvement, culminating in a 54th birthday the coach will long remember in his home state on Saturday.

The winless Roos stormed from 32 points down to end their 16-game losing streak with a seven-point win over Hawthorn at York Park in Launceston. It was a huge result for a playing list and supporter base desperately seeking the affirmation and nourishment only victory can fully provide.

Noble was recently criticised for his assertion that nailing down process and game style was more important than winning for his developing side. Process would lead to outcome he said, and so it did.

You could sense North’s first win since round nine last season was coming. If not for some costly skill errors, the Roos would have beaten Collingwood the week before, and they were also very competitive against undefeated Melbourne in round seven, Adelaide in round four and Geelong in round five.

A group of North Melbourne AFL players walk off the field after losing to Geelong.
There is always pain for clubs in a rebuilding phase.(

AAP: Rob Prezioso


Like all the good North Melbourne teams of the past, Noble’s Kangas play with heart and physical presence. As former Essendon premiership player Adam Ramanauskas said on Grandstand, their intent is obvious.

“You look at passages of play from North Melbourne, you can see the system developing, you can see the process of what they’re trying to do,” he said.

“There’s no doubt [what] they’re going to be, when the final product is developed … it’s a high-pressure team that wants to get up in the face of the opposition, turn the ball over and then go offensively with speed.”

To compare their weekly playing list with that of the opposition can paint a grim picture, especially given the absence of key players like Robbie Tarrant, Luke McDonald, Jed Anderson and Aidan Corr. Jared Polec is also missing and, while an expensive acquisition given his relatively moderate output, he is one of the side’s few elite ball users.

But just as process and adherence to team principles lead to outcomes, they can also help bridge a gap in talent.

Richmond has won three of the past four premierships with, at best, a handful of players you could categorise as stars of the competition. The Tigers’ success has been built on the sum of all parts.

That’s not to suggest North Melbourne is talentless.

Jy Simpkin has now served a significant apprenticeship and is flourishing in the midfield. His 38-possession game was a career high and he complemented veteran Ben Cunnington – 37 possessions – superbly.

Luke Davies-Uniacke, the fourth pick in the 2017 draft, is starting to arrive as a player with his strength, step and clean finishing catching the eye, and Tarryn Thomas shows glimpses of his immense natural ability.

Cam Zurhaar played his best game for the season with four goals, while Lachie Young’s late contest back with the flight was a moment that epitomised North’s commitment. Charlie Lazzaro, Tom Powell and Will Phillips are all gaining valuable exposure to the top level.

To borrow from football’s extensive bank of cliches, the Roos are playing for one another and they’re also playing for their coach.

While North Melbourne won’t be imminently contending for premierships, they are taking significant steps towards becoming a highly competitive side again.

Nobly laying the foundations for many more happy returns.

Thank you for dropping in and seeing this post involving Australian Sports and related news updates published as “North Melbourne’s AFL pain providing the foundation for a brighter future”. This news release is brought to you by My Local Pages Australia as part of our national news services.

#North #Melbournes #AFL #pain #providing #foundation #brighter #future

Source link

The recording studio providing free recording time for Indigenous musicians

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Thanks for dropping by and checking this news update about current Australian Capital Territory News named “The recording studio providing free recording time for Indigenous musicians”. This news update is posted by MyLocalPages as part of our local and national news services.

#recording #studio #providing #free #recording #time #Indigenous #musicians

Source link

Demand for Adelaide charity providing essentials for children rising week after week

A single mother of three boys, Donna knows what it’s like to need a helping hand in tough times.

Finding herself unexpectedly pregnant in her early 40s while grieving the deaths of family members, including her father, left her feeling overwhelmed.

“It was a surprise pregnancy, and then dealing with grief at the time I found out I was pregnant made it a bit hard to get everything organised like I did for my other children,” she said.

Adelaide-based charity Treasure Boxes delivered an array of essential items for her new baby, including a cot, clothes, toys and nappies.

The charity supports families facing hardship like poverty or homelessness, often as a result of fleeing domestic violence.

Its founder and CEO, Rikki Cooke, said demand for the services was increasing every week.

“We’re seeing an increase in demand on the street, domestic violence and homelessness rates are rising,” she said.

“Last year we saw an 88 per cent increase in domestic violence referrals through to us here at Treasure Boxes, we saw a 46 per cent rise in homelessness, and they do tend to correlate with each other.

“We’re finding the demand is just rising week after week after week, which is devastating when you think about how many families in South Australia really need some support.

“We know there are about 23,500 children living under the poverty line, but on the other hand, it’s fantastic that we’re recognising these families and we can do something about it.”

Donna and her children when the goods from Treasure Box arrived. (



Donations of essential supplies ‘priceless’

For recipients like Donna, the donations can be a lifeline.

“Everything’s so costly, and yeah, I think everyone’s struggling a bit, no matter where you are, so I think having services like this does really help a lot,” Donna said.

“You never know when you could be in that situation. So make sure you keep supporting organisations like Treasure Boxes, because I think if we didn’t have those, a lot of people and kids would miss out.

The volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation is currently seeking donations of big items like cots and change tables.

“We always receive enough donations of things like clothing, linen, toys, nappies, which is fantastic because they’re the really high-demand items,” Ms Cooke said.

“But things that are also in demand that we don’t receive enough of are cots, and we’ll pass out between 10 and 20 cots a week, which means that there’s 10 to 20 newborns a week that don’t have a safe place to sleep.

“So things like cots, bassinets, baby capsules, change tables, we really need those all the time.”

A woman holding a wooden toy plane
Treasure Boxes founder and CEO Rikki Cooke.(

Facebook: Treasure Boxes


Another charity, The Hospital Research Foundation, provided a funding lifeline to Treasure Boxes when the COVID pandemic hit last year.

It has now provided a $65,000 grant to help the organisation meet demand.

“We’ve provided a grant in two parts, one is a partnership grant to ensure the business can thrive going forward and grow to meet its requirements in the community, the other is a new-start grant that helps young families, young mums particularly, who have nothing when their baby arrives,” the foundation’s CEO Paul Flynn said.

“There are organisations like Treasure Boxes that our community supporters like to see us getting involved with to ensure that we collectively make the biggest impact in the community that we can.”

Calls to pay it forward and donate

Donna is urging others doing it tough to seek support.

“Reach out, ask people for help, there’s no shame in asking for help, it’s more of a shame if you don’t,” she said.

Donna said the Treasure Box CEO dropped the items off at her house, because she does not drive.

The mother of three plans on paying it forward.

“I’ll be donating my stuff back when I’ve finished with it, I’ve already got bags of it, so we can donate back to them or pay it forward because that’s previously what I would have always done, pay it forward and donate my stuff.

“I have no hesitation in giving it back. I think other people should go, check out your sheds, and give back to Treasure Boxes and give it to the people, the kids that need it.”

Thanks for dropping by and seeing this post regarding South Australian news called “Demand for Adelaide charity providing essentials for children rising week after week”. This news update was shared by MyLocalPages as part of our local news services.

#Demand #Adelaide #charity #providing #essentials #children #rising #week #week

Source link

Melbourne Star Observation Wheel Attraction in Docklands providing panoramic views of Melbourne. Family and kids Entertainment Go

Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Attraction in Docklands providing panoramic views of Melbourne.

Live at the Bowl

Spend summer days and nights revelling in Australia’s best acts.


An annual free festival held along the banks of the Yarra River.

Free Movies at Fed Square

Enjoy classic 80s films screening outdoors on the big screen at Fed Square.

MPavilion Parkade

Revered architecture and design event MPavilion occupies the Parkade car park.

Worlds Immersive Learning Lab

Art and science collide with mesmerising imagery and soundscapes in this 5-minute film.

11 iconic Melbourne experiences

Waterside views, free garden tours, floating bars and amazing exhibitions.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The award-winning production playing exclusively in Melbourne.


An interactive dreamlike landscape where imagination meets futuristic play.

Summertime at the Ballet

The Australian Ballet treats Melbourne to an arena spectacular.

Me and UooUoo: The RCH150 Anniversary Art Trail

One hundred sculptures form walking trails across Melbourne.

Melbourne for free

Discover free things to do in Melbourne, including galleries, museums, events and festivals.

The Story of the Moving Image

An ongoing exhibition that journeys through the past, present and future of the moving image.

Pop-up and outdoor cinemas in Melbourne

Find the best rooftop cinema, pop-up theatres and free movies.

Melbourne’s Lunar New Year Festival events

Featuring lion dances, dragon boat racing, delicious street food and weekend pop-ups.


Museum dedicated to the moving image through events, film screenings and exhibitions.


Watch some of the world’s best basketballers and enjoy a fun family night out at the NBL Cup.

La Mama for Kids Online: Super Jenny!

Super Jenny delivers preschool children’s entertainment that is engaging, fun and educational.

O’Brien Icehouse

Ice arena for public skating and ice sports events, located in Docklands.

City CX

CX is a boisterous cyclocross event, the likes of which have never been seen before in Melbourne.

Thank you for stopping by to visit My Local Pages and seeing this news update about “What’s On in the City of Melbourne called ”

Melbourne Star Observation Wheel

Attraction in Docklands providing panoramic views of Melbourne.

Family and kids


“. This news update was shared by MyLocalPages as part of our local and national events & what’s on news services.

#Melbourne #Star #Observation #Wheel #Attraction #Docklands #providing #panoramic #views #Melbourne #Family #kids #Entertainment

Source link

Lumumba slams Collingwood for not providing access to racial discrimination report

Heritier Lumumba has accused Collingwood of attempting to brush aside their internal review into racial discrimination during his time at the club.

The former Magpies defender has alleged he was the victim of racial abuse during his stint with the club and launched a claim with the Supreme Court against Collingwood for “failing to protect him from racism”.

Collingwood in June revealed they would investigate the allegations internally.

Eddie McGuire last week announced he would step down as club president following the 2021 season, but vowed to continue promoting programs to combat racism.

Lumumba however believes McGuire’s decision to stand down was associated with the investigation and slammed the club for not giving him a copy of the findings.

Source link

Richmond Tigers providing ‘behind the scenes support’ to imprisoned Tiger Sydney Stack

The manager of imprisoned Richmond player Sydney Stack says the Tigers have been privately supporting the troubled West Australian defender as he faces the prospect of seeing in the new year behind bars.

Stack, 20, is serving a 14-day quarantine period in an isolation cell at Perth’s Hakea Prison over an alleged quarantine breach.

Sydney Stack, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith and Marlion Pickett with the VFL premiership cup in 2019.Credit:Getty Images

His agent, former West Coast and Brisbane Bears player Paul Peos, said the Tigers had been supportive of Stack despite the player himself acknowledging that his career hung in the balance.

“Can’t say much at this point, but I can say Richmond have been providing considerable behind the scenes support for Syd’s welfare,” Peos said on Tuesday.

Source link

What One Health System Learned About Providing Digital Services in the Pandemic

During the Covid-19 pandemic the importance of technology in our health care system’s capacity to care for people has been essential. The benefits are indisputable, the advancements vast, and the connection to scientific knowledge continually growing.

Intermountain Healthcare, where I serve as CEO, has a range of digital health services, including a virtual hospital, a far-reaching telemedicine program, and a popular consumer-facing app. Here are seven lessons we’ve learned as we’ve used them.

Lesson 1: Telehealth has expanded access to better and faster care.

Intermountain had a head start on telehealth. Before the pandemic began, we’d set up 24-7-365 digital medical and behavioral health networks and were approaching a million telemedicine consults. The pandemic hit us hard, but we were ready; we took our existing network and put it on steroids.

Intermountain’s telemedicine service had 830,000 total patient interactions from 2015 to 2019, an average of 454 per day. So far in 2020, we’ve had 1.3 million interactions, or 4,300 per day. In addition, our online AI-based Covid-19 symptom checker is getting 1,800 clicks a day.

Insight Center

Telehealth has increased access to care in three ways: First, consumers and patients can get the care they need at their convenience in their home or community. Second, highly trained specialists — including neurologists, intensivists, neonatologists, and oncologists who previously never would have been able to treat patients in remote areas — are now only a couple of clicks away. Local primary care providers are treating seriously ill or injured patients in local hospitals with highly trained, board-certified specialists standing virtually right next to them.

And third, instead of transporting more patients to an intensive care unit (ICU) in a referral center in a big city, the patients can stay in their local hospital — which is incredibly important during the pandemic since it is helping us free up as many of our ICU beds as we can for Covid-19 patients.

Lesson 2: Digital care is safer during the pandemic.

A patient who’s tested positive for Covid doesn’t have to go see her doctor or go into an urgent care clinic to discuss her symptoms. Doctors and other caregivers who are providing virtual care for hospitalized Covid patients don’t face increased risk of exposure. They also don’t have to put on personal protective equipment, step into the patient’s room, then step outside and take off their PPE. We need those supplies, and telehealth helps us preserve it.

Intermountain Healthcare’s virtual hospital is especially well-suited for Covid patients. It works like this: In a regular hospital, you come into the ER, and we check you out and think you’re probably going to be okay, but you’re sick enough that we want to monitor you. So, we admit you.

With our virtual hospital — which uses a combination of telemedicine, home health, and remote patient monitoring — we send you home with a technology kit that allows us to check how you’re doing. You’ll be cared for by a virtual team, including a hospitalist who monitors your vital signs around the clock and home health nurses who do routine rounding. That’s working really well: Our clinical outcomes are excellent, our satisfaction scores are through the roof, and it’s less expensive. Plus, it frees up the hospital beds and staff we need to treat our sickest Covid patients.

Lesson 3: Telehealth’s clinical quality is excellent.

We’re one of the nation’s leaders in providing evidence-based care. Our clinicians use detailed protocols that show how care for over 100 common conditions should be provided, then we track the results so our processes and outcomes can be continually improved. The result: We’re better able to deliver excellent outcomes without the variation and waste that reduce quality and drive up costs.

Our telehealth service uses the same protocols as our hospitals. If you have a stroke and need a clot-busting drug to open a clogged artery, you can be in a 25-bed hospital in a rural town in southern Idaho or our 510-bed Level 1 trauma center in Salt Lake City, and your caregivers will follow the same steps to get the drug to you faster than the nationally recommended time. Other examples of telehealth’s clinical benefits:

  • In an internal review of seven community hospitals, Intermountain’s tele-critical care program was associated with 36.5% reduction in mortality in one year, which means approximately 125 fewer deaths.
  • Intermountain’s rates of appropriate antibiotic use are as good in our telehealth service as they are in our brick-and-mortar clinics.
  • A study of 481 people with increased likelihood of colorectal cancer showed that 35.4% of those who had a risk assessment via telehealth with a certified genetic counselor completed a colonoscopy within nine months, compared to 15.7% in the control group.

Lesson 4: Digital tools support the direction health care is headed.

Telehealth supports value-based care, in which hospitals and other care providers are paid based on the health outcomes of their patients, not on the amount of care they provide. The result is a greater emphasis on preventive care — which reduces unsustainable health care costs.

Intermountain serves a large population of at-risk, pre-paid consumers, and the more they use telehealth, the easier it is for them to stay healthy — which reduces costs for them and for us. The pandemic has forced payment systems, including the government’s, to keep up by expanding reimbursements for telehealth services.

This is worth emphasizing: If we can deliver care in lower-cost settings, we can reduce the cost of care. Some examples:

  • The average cost of a virtual encounter at Intermountain is $367 less than the cost of a visit to an urgent care clinic, physician’s office, or emergency department (ED).
  • Our virtual newborn ICU has helped us reduce the number of transports to our large hospitals by 65 a year since 2015. Not counting the clinical and personal benefits, that’s saved $350,000 per year in transportation costs.
  • Our internal study of 150 patients in one rural Utah town showed each patient saved an average of $2,000 in driving expenses and lost wages over a year’s time because he or she was able to receive telehealth care close to home. We also avoided pumping 106,460 kilograms of CO2 into the environment — and (per the following point) the town’s 24-bed hospital earned $1.6 million that otherwise would have shifted to a larger hospital in a bigger town.
  • By keeping local patients in their community and rural hospitals, we help those hospitals and their communities stay vibrant, which is especially important because those hospitals are often the largest employers in their communities.
  • Our behavioral-health crisis-management telehealth service costs $230 for a patient’s first visit and $150 for a follow-up visit, which compares to an average cost of $2,000 for a behavioral health ED visit. That’s important, because the ED is where a lot of people who are experiencing a mental health crisis — especially those who are uninsured or homeless — end up.

Lesson 5: Many doctors tried telehealth and liked it.

When I asked our leader of telehealth to describe how our physicians have responded to the new technologies we’ve used during the pandemic, he responded: “There’s been very, very, very little screaming.” That’s a major victory given that we’ve trained 3,000 providers in how to do video visits.

About 30% of our medical staff uses telehealth on a regular basis. That number is increasing, but we don’t expect everyone to use it, either in primary care or our medical specialties. But the technology sells itself. One of our surgeons talked about doing his post-op follow-ups virtually, and he said the care is better because he can see patients where they live. If there’s a concern about a patient’s diet, he can say: “Can you show me what’s in your cupboards and your fridge?”

Our physicians also understand how much their patients like it: During the pandemic our satisfaction scores have averaged 4.5 on a 5-point scale. One of our oncologists said, “I was the biggest skeptic in the world, but telehealth works in a very complex discipline like oncology. It’s much more rewarding than you can possibly imagine. The patient satisfaction scores we get from these patients who are being able to stay in their own hometown, not having to travel, is just off the charts. It’s a real service you don’t really get to capture unless you try it.”

Lesson 6: Security, privacy, and fixing technical flaws are ongoing priorities.

When will upgrades not be a part of technology? Probably never. We’ve worked hard to install the highest security standards. To keep our platforms safe and secure, we’ve standardized a single consumer identity (username and password) all patients can use to access services like patient records and telehealth, increased our firewall capacity to support increased telehealth volumes, and added training and guidelines to support remote work configurations.

Lesson 7: Technology should be kept simple but should be comprehensive.

When we set up our video visits at the start of the pandemic, we were proud of ourselves because our platform worked better than what we saw in other health systems. But that was the wrong standard. Some people were struggling with it; they had to create an account, log in, enter their password, re-enter their password, wait in a virtual waiting room, etc. We should have compared ourselves to Google or a weather app. People wanted the same experience they had when they FaceTimed their grandkids. We redesigned our process and made it much simpler, and now, about 90% of our visits require only one click from our patients and our providers. Patients get a text saying their doctor is ready to see them, they click the link, and they’re in.

Well before the pandemic began, we took that approach in creating an easy-to-use “digital front door” to help consumers access our services. Our vision at Intermountain was broader; we wanted to meet our consumers where they start their health care journey and support them throughout their entire experience.

We launched a personalized digital experience, called My Health+, that helps consumers use a simple app to manage their health — whether they’re finding the care they need, scheduling virtual or in-person appointments, managing their care, or paying for care. My Health+ extends to Covid: It helps people understand their symptoms, get tested, get their test results, and know how to follow up.

Since we launched My Health+ in July, it has had more than 207,000 users and is the top-ranked medical app offered by a health system in the Apple App Store. My Health+ also reminds people about preventive care check-ups;helps them manage their prescriptions, monitor their blood pressure, and other key health measures; and allows them to track their deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. It’s like a personal medical clinic right there in your phone.

One family’s experience shows the impact of the lessons we’re learning. A young mother of four I’ll call Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer at the beginning of April. As she considered how her treatment would compromise her immune system, she was threatened not just by cancer, but by Covid. “Our family was absolutely terrified,” Jenny’s husband told me. “We were locked down the best we could, but how could she get the care she needed without increasing her risk of exposure to Covid?”

Jenny needed chemotherapy, which was delivered in traditional appointments at the hospital, but most of her other care was delivered virtually. She had regular appointments with a genomic counselor, a dietitian, and a palliative care physician, all online. “We’ve had lots of follow-up visits, and it’s been great to stay out of the clinic,” her husband said. “We felt cared for, and we felt safe. If Jenny had to actually go in for all of her ancillary appointments, I think she would have said, ‘No thanks, I’m good.’ The quality of her care was better because so much of her care was provided through telemedicine. We’re passionate about how well it works.”

That’s the bottom line about how technology enhances health care. People like Jenny are doing better because of it.

Source link

When Providing Wait Times, It Pays to Underpromise and Overdeliver

Executive Summary

Virtual queues, or systems that allow you to hold your place without physically standing in line, have become commonplace in restaurants, call centers, and many other businesses — and how you build those systems can have a major impact on the customer’s experience. In this piece, the author shares key takeaways from over a decade’s worth of research on how companies can optimize their virtual queuing systems. Specifically, she suggests that providing wait time estimates can reduce customers’ average wait time, and that providing pessimistic estimates (i.e., telling customers they will have to wait longer than they actually will) can improve the customer experience. In addition, the research shows that providing more frequent progress updates also improves the customer experience, and that customers who wait for longer than expected will take longer when their turn finally arrives (suggesting that pessimistic estimates can also help businesses to increase throughput).

bortonia/Getty Images

In 1999, Disneyland became a pioneer of the virtual queue. That’s the year the company introduced its FastPass system, which allowed customers to hold their place in line virtually while enjoying attractions elsewhere in the park. Virtual queues have since become common in restaurants, call centers, rideshare platforms, and other businesses — and the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend. But not all virtual queues are created equal. What can businesses do to optimize the customer experience when implementing a virtual queuing system?

Decreasing wait times by increasing capacity is the simplest solution, of course, but that’s often prohibitively expensive. Luckily, it’s possible to reduce wait times without increasing capacity, and to improve the customer experience without actually changing wait times.

Over the past decade, I have conducted extensive research on the impact of providing estimated wait times on the customer experience in virtual queues, and I’ve made four findings in that work that represent tactical takeaways for businesses:

Finding 1: Providing wait-time estimates reduces customers’ average wait time.

Our first finding may not be surprising, but it carries significant implications for any business operating a virtual queue. In a study looking at banking call centers, conducted with Gad Allon, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Achal Bassamboo, of Northwestern University, we found that providing wait-time estimates led to lower average wait times for all customers. This is because every time someone decided to give up their spot in line, it shortened the wait time for everyone else. Providing wait-time estimates prompted some customers to abandon the line when wait times were very long, and made them less likely to abandon during non-peak times, thus reducing the average wait time while keeping the total number of customers served constant. Just by providing these estimates, companies can improve the waiting experience for everyone.

In addition, for rideshare apps and call centers, where congestion is high during peak hours, this research, along with another study of ours, suggests that it may be beneficial to provide a pessimistic wait-time estimate, because this can weed out less-patient customers who are likely to abandon their spot in line eventually anyway. If capacity limitations mean that you won’t be able to serve all customers, then more-pessimistic estimates upfront will quickly eliminate the customers with less tolerance for waiting, speeding up the queue and improving the experience for everyone.

Finding 2: Pessimistic estimates are better than optimistic ones.

In our call-center study, we examined the impact of providing an initial wait-time estimate not only on wait times but also the customer experience. We analyzed over 100,000 calls, which were divided into three test conditions. In the first group, customers were not provided with an estimated wait time; in the second group, they were provided with an inaccurate estimate, either optimistic or pessimistic; and in the third group, they were provided with an accurate estimate. We used caller abandonment (for example, when callers hang up before reaching their turn) as a proxy for customer experience, inferring that higher levels of boredom and stress led customers to abandon at greater rates.

Waits that were shorter than expected, we found, had a small positive impact on the customer experience, but waits than wer longer than expected had a significant negative impact. The penalty for under-delivery, in fact, was up to seven times larger than the reward for over-delivery.

This suggests that companies offering virtual queues should generally avoid providing optimistic wait-time estimates. Although an optimistic estimate may reduce upfront abandonment rates, that boost isn’t worth the negative experience customers will have when they end up waiting longer than expected. If the estimate is just slightly pessimistic, it’s unlikely to increase the abandonment rate, and the pleasant surprise when their wait is faster than expected will have a significant positive impact on the overall customer experience.

Finding 3: More frequent progress updates improve customer experience.

In the call-center study described above, customers were provided with a wait-time estimate upon their arrival but were not given subsequent updates about their remaining wait time. To explore the impact of providing progress updates, I worked with Yiming Zhang and Yong-Pin Zhou, of the University of Washington, to conduct a study that explored how the combination of the initial estimate and updates along the way affected customers’ experience. We collaborated with a major ridesharing platform to analyze data from 1.4 million rides, which were randomly assigned to provide a neutral, optimistic, or pessimistic wait-time estimate with real-time updates. We made sure to control for all factors other than estimated wait time and associated frequency of updates, including the actual time customers waited before being matched with a driver.

Because customers who received a more-pessimistic initial estimate would by definition receive more frequent updates (for a given wait length), we found that these customers experienced faster perceived progress and so canceled their rides at a lower rate. As long as the initial estimate is not too pessimistic, the positive impact of more frequent updates offsets the any increase in immediate abandonment that occurs as a result of the longer initial estimate. Just as in the call-center study, this suggests that slightly pessimistic wait-time estimates are better than optimistic ones — although if wait-time estimates are too pessimistic, the net abandonment rate may rise.

Based on these insights, we helped the platform redesign their virtual-queue system. This helped them achieve significant improvement in their customer-experience metrics: It reduced by 80% the percentage of customers who had to wait longer than their initial estimate and who experienced delays near the end of their wait. The overall abandonment rate, meanwhile, stayed constant.

Finding 4: Customers who wait for longer than expected will take longer when their turn finally arrives.

In a study we conducted with Eric Webb, of the University of Cincinnati, and Kurt Bretthauer, of Indiana University, we found that the wait experience not only impacts customers’ behavior while in line but also their behavior once their turn arrives. My colleagues and I analyzed over 50,000 calls to a bank call center to explore the impact of wait time on their behavior once they were connected with a representative. We found that customers who waited longer than the expected wait time ended up also spending longer on the call once they were connected. This may be because customers who were forced to wait longer than expected spent more time complaining, or felt the need to ask for additional services in order to justify the extra time spent waiting.

This suggests that providing pessimistic wait-time estimates can help companies to serve customers faster, thus increasing the number of customers that they can serve in a fixed amount of time. For example, if a restaurant provides more pessimistic estimates, their customers are likely to finish their meals more quickly, increasing the restaurant’s total throughput.

Of course, all of these improvement hinge on a company’s ability to make accurate wait-time estimates. Improving your ability to estimate actual wait times is therefore a worthwhile investment. And when inherent uncertainty is high (such as for rideshare services, where both supply and demand can fluctuate wildly), it may be best to acknowledge this limited accuracy by providing the estimate in the form of an interval (as in, “Your estimated wait time is 5 to 10 minutes.” Another strategy, employed by the leading Chinese ridesharing platform Didi Chuxing, is to provide not just an estimated wait time interval but also the probability that the customer will be served within that interval (as in, “There is a 90% chance that you will be matched with a driver in 5 to 10 minutes”). This provides an additional level of transparency, which has been shown to increase trust and thus improve the customer experience.


American spend roughly 37 billion hours each year waiting in line. A recent survey reported that wait-related issues are the number-one reason that retailers lose customers — and the rapid shift to online operations hasn’t made the problem go away. As queues go virtual, optimizing how you provide wait-time estimates is an inexpensive yet effective tool to significantly improve your customers’ experience.

Source link

UK ‘providing training for repressive regimes’, claims campaign group

Image copyright

Image caption

The group says sniper training was provided to Bahrain (file image)

The UK has been providing military training for “some of the world’s most repressive regimes”, according to a campaign group.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has published a list of 17 countries listed by the Foreign Office as “human rights priorities” which have all received some form of British military training.

It includes training on fast jets and in amphibious warfare.

Neither the Ministry of Defence nor the Foreign Office has disputed the list.

The list of countries published by CAAT includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Uzbekistan.

The data stems from a parliamentary question which revealed that from 2018-2020, the UK has been providing military training to more than half of the 30 countries defined by the Foreign Office as being places where the government is “particularly concerned about human rights issues”.

Specific examples of the training include:

  • Infantry sniper training for Bahrain
  • Electronic warfare, fast jet, tactical and weapons training for Saudi Arabia
  • Amphibious warfare and commando training for Egypt
  • Initial officer training for China
  • Advanced officer’s staff course for Belarus
  • Light weapons training for Turkey.

All of these countries have been heavily criticised by human rights groups.

In its latest report on Saudi Arabia, the human rights group Amnesty International says “the authorities escalated repression of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly”.

In Belarus, the authorities have drawn international condemnation this month for their brutal treatment of pro-democracy protesters, while in China “the human rights situation continued to be marked by a systematic crackdown on dissent”, according to Amnesty International.

Asked for comment, an MoD spokesperson told the BBC: “Every defence relationship is taken on a case-by-case basis.

“Any defence engagement is designed to educate where necessary on best practice and compliance with international humanitarian law’.

The Foreign Office declined to comment.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Both the Saudi-led air campaign and the Houthi rebels have been accused of war crimes in Yemen

Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “By training and collaborating with despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers, the UK risks making itself complicit in the abuses that are being inflicted.”

He said that the case that stood out the most was that of Saudi Arabia where UK and US-supplied arms have been used in the war in Yemen, at times leading to civilian casualties.

In Yemen’s disastrous six-year civil war, both the Saudi-led air campaign and the Houthi rebels have been accused of war crimes.

“The fact is that the UK has a close military relationship with a lot of undemocratic and abusive regimes,” Mr Smith added.

Mr Smith said he is not calling for an end to all engagement with these countries but rather a parliamentary review into the nature of the assistance Britain gives them.

‘Undemocratic and abusive’

The Parliamentary Defence Select Committee chairman, MP Tobias Ellwood, defended the practice of working with countries on the list.

“The aim is to nudge these countries towards the same standards that we uphold,” he said.

“If we backed away from supporting them then who would fill the vacuum? We are denying space for Russia and China to advance their footprint (in these countries).”

Mr Ellwood conceded that the UK government faced something of a dilemma over the issue, however. He told the BBC that urging countries to move towards what the UK considered to be best practice was “a long journey – a marathon, in fact.”

Source link