How the Convergence of Digital and Physical Retail Impacts Your Queuing Strategy
Today’s standard is on-demand products and services – whenever and wherever. We rely heavily on the convenience and efficiency of our digital solutions, including online shopping and mobile communications. As consumers we also continue to expect excellence and a highly personalized experience.
There is and has been a convergence happening between two worlds – the physical and the digital. For businesses this junction represents an important moving target that demands attention and tending. Even the heartiest brick and mortar businesses now have branded websites, online stores, and customer relations via email and text. Alternatively, many businesses that have been primarily e-commerce are realizing the need to create a touch-and-feel environment for their customers to enjoy a personal, hands-on experience of their products. These historically separate retail worlds are indeed merging.
When considering customers at any point along the continuum of retail, digital or physical, customer experience remains the name of the game. While there may be more complexities to consider as far as devices and channels, the basics of quality service, attention, responsiveness, convenience, delight and satisfaction all still apply. The customer experience of your queue remains an important part of their experience, and is one that can make or break the relationship whether physical or digital.
It’s not just understanding the technology, it’s also about meeting customers where their expectations are highest. For example, a TimeTrade survey found retailers consider call centers a low priority channel while customers in the survey reported it as a top service complaint. This kind of disconnect can cost more than just lost customers. How can you ensure your queue experience keeps pace with this convergence and your business remains relevant in a fast-changing environment?
Here’s one idea:
LET CUSTOMERS SKIP THE “WAITING” PART OF THE QUEUE
As customers become more accustomed to the “whenever” aspect of service, they expect shorter (or no) waiting time. Queuing technology today allows for an entirely virtual waiting experience, removing the need for customers to physically wait in a line.
- Let customers schedule appointments for service, or to view or purchase products rather than making them wait in line. This is an opportunity to connect with customers where they are – on their mobile device – and build a more ‘familiar’ and trusted relationship.
- Virtually “call” the next customer via text message and/or inform them when their turn is near.
- Add information such as marketing, promotion, and personalization into your mobile queue customer communications. Having an engaged experience can greatly reduce perceived wait time.
Are you staying relevant? If not now, when?