4 Reasons Why You Should Construct Your Own Queuing System
Today’s customer wants to be treated like more than just a customer by the brands they frequent. Personalization matters more than ever. A survey by Salesforce found that two-thirds of customers expect companies to “understand their unique needs and expectations”—but two-thirds say that they’re “generally treated like numbers.”https://www.salesforce.com/resources/articles/customer-expectations
The way customers wait for service often feels impersonal, but it offers an opportunity for businesses to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. Virtual queuing transforms the waiting experience for customers and delivers benefits for the organizations that use the technology as well.
That said, the platform you build must work for you—and not against you. We’ve come up with four reasons you should construct and customize your own virtual queuing system.
The Virtual Queuing System, Explained
The concept of virtual queue management is simple: You’re replacing a physical queue, in which people are standing in line or milling about in a waiting area, with a digital system that keeps track of users’ place in the queue. Although the configurations and features of virtual queues may differ, they generally work as follows:
- When customers arrive, they scan a QR code, enter information at a kiosk, or send a text message to check into the queuing system.
- The system sends alerts and notifications to customers’ smartphones while they wait. These messages can include the customer’s place in line, an estimated waiting time, a request for more information, and promotional offers and digital coupons.
- Because the queue is virtual, it doesn’t require customers to wait in a line or designated area. They are free to browse other parts of the store, get a latte, go for a walk, or anything else they want to do with their time “waiting.”
- When a customer’s turn is imminent, the system sends them an alert to return to the service counter or front desk.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a virtual queuing system is how it enhances the customer experience. But this digital approach also makes life easier for employees, frees up floor space, and delivers key analytics that drive operational strategy.
The Benefits of Customizing Your Own Queuing System
Creating a queuing system on your own, from scratch, coding and all, is a massive undertaking. Many businesses that try this end up with a glitchy app that customers have to download onto their devices to use.
That’s too much work, for you and your customers. Top-notch virtual queuing systems are available that don’t require massive technical expertise or a separate app—the platform seamlessly works through text messages and web browsers on the customer’s smartphone. These best-of-breed solutions still provide rich customization that allows you to build the system you need and want—and you might be able to white-label it if you choose. Here are four reasons to take the customization route:
1. Your Business Is Unique
No two businesses are truly alike. Although the services, customer demographics (more on this next), employee skills, and physical layout might be similar in some ways, each organization and each of its locations brings unique characteristics to its operations—including its queuing needs. What works for another business might not work for you. For example, the floor layout at one store might lend itself well to a large waiting area near the customer service counter, whereas the layout at another store in the same chain might be too cramped for even just a few people in line.
With the myriad of considerations that go into your queuing strategy, you should configure your virtual queuing system to address all those factors. By customizing the platform, you can create and optimize a process that delivers results.
Some ways to customize according to your unique needs include:
- Queuing parameters: For example, how many customers waiting would constitute a busy queue? How many would trigger an alert telling you to bring extra staffing to the department to handle the rush? By setting parameters on this and other real-time metrics, you’re correctly gauging the queue instead of just eyeballing it.
- Customer notifications: Define how many notifications you want to send customers as they wait, what you want the notifications to say, and which events (e.g., an unexpected delay) will trigger an additional alert to be sent.
- Analytics: The data a queuing system generates not only helps you analyze the queue but also can provide insight into your entire operation. Configure the system to determine the metrics you want to track, then use the data to make adjustments and improvements.
- Check-in procedures: How do you want customers to check into the system? And what information will you ask for as they check in? Analytics help show which methods are giving you the best results.
2. Your Customers Are Unique
No matter what consultants and conventional wisdom might say, you know your customers best. Not every customer may want to browse the store, and the threshold for when a person abandons a virtual queue can vary based on demographics, time of day, service needed, and so on.
Therefore, constructing your queuing system to meet the needs and preferences of your customers is essential. A custom approach allows you to tailor the experience to your clientele. If Fridays tend to be busier than other days, set the system to send additional notifications to people as they wait to let them know you haven’t forgotten about them. If your typical customers are unsure of what they need to do when they reach the counter, send them instructions and tips via text.
The possibilities to create a customer-centric queuing system are practically endless. Data that the system generates will also drive these decisions—and give you hard numbers to see how those decisions are working.
3. Custom Promotions and Offers
The best commercial virtual queuing solutions allow you to create digital coupons, promotions, or other kinds of on-screen advertising to send to customers as they wait. Some ways to use this feature include:
- A digital ad to check out a new service or product in another department while the customer waits
- If the wait looks like it will be a long time, a coupon to get a dollar off the price of a drink at the store’s coffee kiosk
- If a wait at a restaurant is taking longer than expected, an “apology” offer of a free appetizer once the customer’s party is seated
- A reminder ad about special holiday hours, upcoming sales, new product arrivals, or anything else you want to inform customers about
Digital offers also give customers a sense of value. That coupon may only save someone a dollar, but in the person’s mind, they are gaining something—and they gained it from you. In this way, a simple wait in a virtual queue builds customer loyalty.
4. A System That Grows with Your Employees
Any queueing system you choose to adopt and customize should be constructed with your employees in mind. It can be configured to their roles, skill levels, and responsibilities.
Moreover, the system should be straightforward for employees to learn—the faster they can pick it up and the easier it is to use, the more likely they will embrace it. A platform that lets you choose the features you need also allows you to not use the features you don’t need. As your operational and customer requirements evolve, features can be turned back on and your employees trained to use those features. Alternately, if you find there’s something you aren’t using or that is creating confusion, it can be simply turned off.
Customization Equals Versatility
When adopting a virtual queuing platform, versatility is key. You want a solution that is user-friendly—for customers and employees alike—and that gives you plenty of options to build a system that proves an ROI and distinguishes your brand. Qtrac offers such a system. Our platform is fully customizable, is easy to teach and learn, and comes with an intuitive user interface. We also offer strong analytics and reporting capabilities that guide strategy.
The Qtrac platform also can improve your top and bottom line. Check out our guide Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More to learn how.