A Modern Approach to Telling Customers “Get In Line”
When customers need to visit a business and require service, waiting in line is almost a certainty. But if their time is limited and the line is too long, there is every chance they could take their business elsewhere. They could also tell their family and friends about their poor experience, which might deter others from doing business with that organization.
Telling customers to “get in line” is no longer an acceptable way to treat them. Instead, deliver a great experience in every interaction by utilizing technology that keeps the customer at the center of your brand promise.
What’s Wrong with Just Getting in Line?
We wait in line all the time, including at the grocery store, the post office, and the airport when checking bags and going through TSA. However, there are many problems associated with just “getting in line”:
The sight of a long line that snakes down and around creates the feeling of an interminable wait, which is enough to ruin anyone’s day. Individuals aren’t waited on according to the service they need, so they have to grin (or grimace) and bear it.
Even physical queues that utilize stanchions can feel endless because customers don’t know how long they’ll wait. They depend on the expertise and training of the staff to complete transactions efficiently.
Once a customer reaches the front of the line, the employee has no idea what they need. Individuals have to explain the reason for their visit, and staff has to determine how to best serve them on the fly.
Long lines are often due to inadequate staffing, which is a double whammy for employees. Not only are they rushed and hectic, but customers also may take longer to complete their transactions because they’ve had time to think of other things they need or want to complain about.
What if there was a better way to wait for service?
What Is Virtual Queuing?
Virtual queue systems make waiting easier and less annoying by giving customers more control over how and where they spend their time. When customers are happier, they tend to tell their family and friends about their positive experiences. They also buy more and shop more frequently, boosting the profile and bottom lines of the businesses they patronize.
How It Works
When customers need service, they check in remotely from their phone, tablet, or laptop, wherever they happen to be. When they do, they receive an estimated wait time and real-time updates about their place in line.
Customer interactions with the software after check-in creates targeted marketing opportunities. They have options about where they wait, vastly improving their wait experience.
How customers interact with the software after check-in creates targeted marketing opportunities. Instead of generic content, businesses can deliver promos and offers for the products and services customers already have, use, want, or need.
Once their transaction is complete, they remain in the system. Keep them engaged with surveys about how they feel about their purchase(s), the service they received, and gamified content (e.g., quizzes) about their interests.
The Case for Virtual Queuing
Virtual queuing can be utilized in the private and public sectors, albeit in different ways:
Colleges and Universities
A virtual queue system and intelligent appointment scheduling can improve operations and reduce the stress associated with the start of a semester on college and university campuses.
Online appointment scheduling helps faculty stay on top of their schedules without compromising relationships with students. When an undergrad, for example, reserves time with one of their professors, the system asks questions about the reason for their visit. Faculty can be more prepared for those meetings and stay organized because the scheduling tool is based on their class schedule and posted office hours.
Campus departments are no different from those in the “real” world. Managers make data-driven decisions about staffing based on peak student traffic, the services they need the most and when, and how long it takes employees to complete interactions.
A centralized dashboard accessible from any device includes reporting tools that provide historical and real-time insights. By understanding the seasonality of student needs and how to best address them, operations run more efficiently.
Veterinary Offices and Animal Hospitals
When a pet is ill or injured, the last thing pet parents want is to sit in a crowded lobby while they wait to be seen by a doctor. Virtual queue systems allow veterinary offices to triage patients based on their level of need.
Humans check in remotely and let the office staff know the reason for their visit. They can list their pet’s symptoms if there’s a problem or indicate if the animal needs more routine care.
For veterinary office and hospital networks, Qtrac’s virtual queuing solution creates a seamless referral system so animals can be seen at other locations. Office staff members have access to a queue dashboard where they can see if their location can treat the pet patient. If not, they can place the pet into the referral queue, and the software sends a message to the referring location indicating whether the referral has been accepted.
There is also something to be said for point-of-service sales. In 2021, American pet owners spent about $124 billion on their pets. Practices can increase revenue by delivering targeted offers to owners based on their interactions with the software for things they already buy, such as dog shampoo, food, treats, grooming services, toys, and seasonal items like Halloween costumes.
Some local, state, and federal government agencies are putting the power of virtual queuing to work for improved efficiency and customer service. And, let’s face it, quick service at the DMV or the post office isn’t exactly what most people experience, but that is changing.
A supervisor with one state’s DMV said virtual queuing has improved efficiency and the overall customer experience.
“Our customers are happy (and) are not stuck in our office waiting. (They) are less stressed … and HAPPY. We couldn’t ask for more,” they wrote.
Just imagine how much more pleasant your visit to the post office could be. Picture it around the holidays, when you want to buy seasonal stamps to mail cards or send gifts. Instead of hoping the line will be short, you could check in remotely and know when to arrive.
Despite the time people spend on their phones taking care of business, shopping, and keeping up with family and friends, many people still prefer banking in person. Opening and closing accounts, securing a safety deposit box, and applying for loans require time with a personal or business banker.
Virtual queuing and intelligent appointment scheduling can work together to create an elevated customer experience. This way, when a customer arrives at the bank to meet with someone, they no longer need to wait for their turn in the lobby.
Customers check in remotely for personal or business banking or same-day service, which alerts staff about the service an individual needs. Staff is prepared for the customer’s arrival, and transactions are completed with a higher level of service.
Why Is Virtual Queuing Better Than Getting in Line?
When businesses utilize virtual queuing solutions, they improve the customer experience and the employee experience. Virtual queuing also increases operational effectiveness and efficiency.
Qtrac’s virtual queue system can be configured to fit the unique needs of a business. It also has room to grow, so as requirements change—adding locations, for example—the software adapts instead of you having to adjust processes and procedures to fit the software.
Managers can better manage staffing needs and interact with customers through Qtrac’s centralized dashboard. Because it’s available from any device, the information needed to run your business is at your fingertips, regardless of if you’re across the sales floor or in another city altogether.
There is a treasure trove of customer data in queuing software, including how, when, and why people wait. Real-time insights empower managers to shift workers as needed to respond to customer demand. Statistics from daily operations become historical data that informs staff allocation, hours of operation, employee performance, training, and more.
Qtrac’s virtual queuing software integrates into the platforms and software businesses already use. No system can address every administrative task, and you shouldn’t have to rip and replace systems that already work for you.
Ready to Create a Positive Queue Experience?
Virtual queuing is a great solution if you’re ready to improve the customer experience. To learn more about how Qtrac’s virtual queue management system can increase customer satisfaction and positively impact your bottom line, download our e-book, Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More.
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