There is little question that a point-of-sale system can help a business with efficiency in terms of inventory tracking, sales reports and overall productivity of cashiers and other staff. But it also can help reduce long lines.

While there has been a belief that long waits in line can adversely affect us in business – think of the adage, “time is money” – do you really know what constitutes a “long” wait in line?

Believe it or not, it seems the magic number is 10. As in minutes.

There have been several surveys of customers of various retail stores and chains, and the general consensus among those customers is that long wait line is the No. 2 complaint of businesses behind “rude staff,” and that customers are generally OK with wait times of five to 10 minutes.

Beyond that, though, your business may be in trouble. About half of customers who typically wait 10 minutes or longer say that they perceive the business to be poorly run, and at least more than half of those long-waiters have said they would take their business elsewhere if they found themselves waiting too long.

When you think about that – if you have 10 customers in line, and the five in the back take their business somewhere else because they are waiting too long, can you business afford to lose that business, possibly forever? Remember, the saying goes that a negative experience with a business will make the rounds 10 to 20 times faster than positive experience will.

And when you think about the average transaction for your business, and you potentially could lose half your customers with long waits, getting a handle on long lines could mean the survival of your business.

Time is money. If you take too much time, you will not get enough money.