5 Things to Keep in Mind When Switching to a Virtual Queue
More and more organizations are turning to virtual queues to better manage the wait for service in an increasingly digital world. From restaurants and retail stores to DMVs and emergency rooms, traditional waiting lines are being replaced with virtual ones through the use of technology. Virtual queuing systems allow customers to check in, maintain their place in line, and be notified when it’s their turn for service.
Virtual queuing can be quite easy and affordable to set up but there are some things you need to think about before you take the plunge.
1. YOUR CUSTOMERS MIGHT STILL NEED A PLACE TO WAIT.
A common oversight for companies when deciding to get rid of a standard waiting line is neglecting to consider what that means for patrons who still wish to wait near the service area. Now that they’re not standing, consider adding comfortable seating or encourage customers to explore nearby areas while they wait.
2. USE THE CHECK-IN PROCESS TO IMPROVE YOUR SERVICE.
The virtual queuing process adds a potentially valuable touch point in the customer journey. When your customer checks into your virtual queue, don’t miss the opportunity to learn something more about their wants or needs. Why are they coming into your store or place of business? What specific needs do they have? Are they a VIP customer? Finding out something about them BEFORE they get to a service agent can allow you to better personalize your service or route them to the appropriate representative.
3. CUSTOMERS STILL WANT TO KNOW THEIR PLACE IN LINE.
Key principles of queue management still apply to a virtual queue. One of these crucial principles is the need to manage customer expectations. When customers know how long they’ll be expected to wait, their wait time feels shorter and they are more satisfied. With a physical waiting line customers can not only see how long the line is, they also clearly know their place in line and when their turn is coming. When you’re planning your virtual queue, be sure to choose a solution that gives customers visibility into their estimated wait time and place in line. This information can be delivered via digital screens in the waiting area or via mobile.
4. YOUR ASSOCIATES SHOULD REMAIN EMPOWERED.
When waiting lines go virtual, there is a common fear among cashiers, agents, and associates that they will lose control of the customer service experience. Virtual queuing adds an element of automation that can make agents feel as if their job is less personal. On the flip side, a good virtual queuing system will empower associates with information to do their jobs better by knowing when a customer has been waiting too long, being able to identify customers whose needs can be met by the associate’s specialized knowledge, and much more. Make sure you consider the strengths of your staff and choose a virtual queuing system that will empower them to serve your customers in the best ways possible.
5. YOUR CUSTOMERS MIGHT NEED TRAINING, TOO.
Making the switch from a standard queue to a virtual one causes the immediate need to train your staff on how the system will work. But it also means your customers will have to adjust to a new way of being served by your organization. Consider that your customers will need training and time to adapt to the new process. Plan for extra staff to assist customers in the check-in process and guide them to a comfortable place to wait. Show customers how to use their mobile phones to see their place in line. Retailers, encourage customers to continue shopping while they wait. A virtual queue can create a more pleasant waiting experience, but change is always difficult. Help your customers through the process for a faster, more satisfying transition.
Virtual queuing offers customers a better way to wait and can empower your associates to be more efficient and effective. But before you get started, be sure to keep these five considerations in mind.