Evaluating the Take-a-Number System
People hate waiting in line, especially long ones that snake around seemingly without any organization. Not only do customers lack any real understanding of how long their wait might be, but they know once they reach the front of the line, they’ll have to explain what they need.
The first-come-first-served queue seems fair, and the take-a-number system is marginally better. However, in both scenarios, if the person at the front of the line has a more complicated issue, everyone waiting behind them continues waiting grudgingly—or abandons the line altogether.
Benefits of the Take-a-Number System
The take-a-number system was a big improvement on just standing in a queue. Customers are served in order of arrival and have a vague idea of when they’ll be served based on what number they pull. But because there’s no way to gauge how long each interaction will take to complete, people were left to just … wait.
Take-a-number is a step up from just waiting in a queue, but just barely. Customers still had to worry if they wandered too far they might miss hearing their number called and have to start all over again.
It wasn’t all bad, though. Because they had a number, they weren’t necessarily tethered to a physical queue. They were sort of free to wander around the store and possibly make impulse purchases, which remains a sales strategy that drives revenue for most retailers. In 2018, individuals spent an average of almost $6,000 on impulse buys.
Virtual Queuing Improves Customer and Employee Experiences
Virtual queuing is the take-a-number system but so much better for both customers and your business. Here’s how:
Better understand your customers.
We live in a data-driven world, and a virtual queue management system delivers a veritable treasure trove of information about the people who buy from you.
When customers check into the software, they answer questions that determine what they need so they’re directed to the correct department and the right people to help them. You can see the most popular times people visit your location and the service(s) they require most often.
Based on how they interact with the software, you can send them promos and offers for the products and services they already have or use, or let them know about new offerings they might want or need. And, because they’re already in your system, you can communicate with them after they complete their transaction. Customer satisfaction surveys, quizzes that keep them engaged, interactive video content … there are myriad ways to continue nurturing brand loyalty and validating buyers’ decision to do business with you.
Better prepare your staff.
Imagine greeting customers by name when they arrive at your location or your workers knowing ahead of time what an individual needs before that person is standing in front of them. A virtual queue management system makes that possible.
Not only do employees feel empowered by being prepared, but they also become more productive—even during the busiest seasons. Because virtual queue solutions decrease crowds in lobbies and waiting areas, your staff can better focus on the person in front of them instead of worrying about the crush of people who still need help.
All of this adds up to workers who deliver great customer service with every interaction. Customers benefit from friendly and efficient service, and your buyers will feel more loyalty toward your brand.
When your buyers aren’t stuck standing in a physical queue, they’re free to wander the store freely. This is an opportunity to increase their average order value by positioning products in strategic locations that encourage them to act on their impulse to buy things they wouldn’t otherwise consider.
There is science behind impulse buying. You’ve most likely told an employee once or twice that you’re just looking but ended up taking home a few items that weren’t on your list. Your decision to purchase was based on certain things that made you feel good in the moment or related to something with emotional value. Give your customers the opportunity to indulge those emotions!
How Does Virtual Queuing Work?
There are numerous features and benefits associated with a virtual queue management system that have a positive impact on how customers experience your business.
When customers need a service, they check in remotely from their smartphone, tablet, or computer. They immediately receive estimates for how long their wait will be and when they should expect to report to the physical location.
Customers can check in from anywhere and wait wherever they want—at home, running other errands, grabbing a bite to eat, and so on. While they wait anywhere, they receive real-time updates about their place in line and can even move themselves back if they need to.
A good virtual queuing solution will have an online appointment scheduling component. Customers can look at available service times and reserve the time that best fits their schedule. They also receive real-time updates about their appointment such as if there is a delay or if an earlier time has become available.
Your virtual queue management can help improve operations at the same time it makes life easier for your customers.
A central dashboard puts historical and real-time insights at your fingertips because you can log into the software from any device. You’ll staff more appropriately for peak traffic periods, and you can move workers around on the fly to serve customers if one area needs more attention than another.
Reporting helps you retain your competitive edge by listing:
- Average wait times
- The number of people in a queue at any given time
- How long it takes for employees to complete transactions
- Queue abandonment rate
No one system can do it all, so your virtual queuing solution should integrate seamlessly with the platforms you’re already using. You shouldn’t have to worry about the extra expense of replacing systems that work for you. Qtrac’s virtual queue management system is fully customizable to fit your business needs now and as you grow and scale.
Many organizations across a variety of industries are already experiencing the benefits of a virtual queue system.
Pet parents who visit large veterinary hospitals’ clinics check in remotely for both routine care and emergency office visits. This allows clinic and hospital staff to triage patients so the most urgent cases receive attention first. If one location is at capacity, staff can place the patient in a central queue that directs them to another office where they can be seen.
Many bank customers still like to conduct their financial business in person. Appointment scheduling and virtual queuing help keep lobby crowds to a minimum while people wait elsewhere to talk with a wealth management specialist, a loan officer, or a personal banker.
Virtual queuing and appointment scheduling mean the end of students waiting online for hours to register for classes, administrators feeling crushed by the demand for help, and professors losing control of their day. Instead, students check in remotely for the services they need and report to the appropriate location, even a virtual one. Administrators can prepare necessary documents and packets applicable to individuals’ needs and have them ready when they arrive, and faculty can foster better relationships with students and stay organized.
Not all business for telecommunications services is conducted online. Customers often still need to visit the store. With virtual queuing and appointment scheduling, the days when users just hung around until an associate was free are long gone. Now, they can check in remotely or schedule a visit to address device upgrades, billing, service, and more.
Can you imagine a day when you actually look forward to a visit to the DMV or the post office? Virtual queue management in Department of Motor Vehicles locations keeps crowds at a minimum, increases efficiency, and makes customers happier overall because they get to avoid a seemingly interminable wait.
Are You Ready to Level up with a Virtual Queue Management System?
Not all virtual queue solutions are created equal. To avoid spending too much on yours, download our free guide, How to Avoid the Hidden Costs of Queue Management Systems.
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