How Virtual Queues Positively Impact Customer Behavior
Most customer-facing organizations design their operations to maximize positive customer behavior. Floor layouts may emphasize comfort and maneuverability so that customers want to move about the business. Sales and marketing strategies are developed to encourage customers to buy more. Employees are trained to value the customer experience—and customers ideally respond by treating staff, merchandise, facilities, and each other with respect.
Despite your best efforts, keeping customers happy and positive requires a delicate balance. When customers become annoyed, they buy less, complain more, and can get downright rude. Long lines can and often do contribute to that annoyance, leaving customers wondering why they should deal with the inconvenience they’re encountering at your business.
Virtual queue management systems offer a way to eliminate physical lines and turn a negative experience into positive customer behavior. Here are some ways how:
Customers Staying, Not Leaving
The sight of a long physical queue—even one that’s well organized—can scare some customers into abandoning their visit or not even bothering to join the line. If people don’t have time or energy to wait for your customer service when they need it, they may think twice before relying on your business again. And if they discover a more convenient way to purchase items your brick-and-mortar store sells, they may take that path instead and deny you sales.
At its base level, a virtual queue that eliminates a physical one provides a better optical—customers aren’t frightened off after seeing a crowd of people waiting. Businesses can use that space for other needs and allow people to traverse the area more freely.
Virtual queue technology also helps reassure customers that their wait will be worthwhile. After entering the queue, they receive notifications on their phones on estimated wait times, and even if the length is too long for them, at least they’re making a decision to stay or leave based on real data instead of their best guess.
More Shopping, More Sales
A virtual queue in a retail environment allows customers to wait on their own terms and do what they want instead of being confined to a certain area until their turn comes up. They may go for a stroll, get a cup of coffee, or choose to wait in their cars—but quite often, customers browse the store and make additional purchases. Sometimes, if they know they’ll be virtually queued, people plan shopping around their waits. Other times, customers make impulse buys. Either way, these are sales that wouldn’t have occurred if customers were stuck in a physical line.
The simple fact that customers are given freedom to spend their waits any way they want leads to increased basket size. Long lines stress many people out—perhaps even more so in the aftermath of COVID-19. Customers forced to wait for a while focus on getting out rather than buying more. By creating a better customer experience with a virtual queue system, you put patrons in a better frame of mind to want to buy more. In this way, the queue becomes an opportunity instead of an obstacle.
Businesses can push the opportunity further by actively marketing to customers while they wait. People in the queue already are receiving real-time notifications on their phones about estimated wait times—this provides a great way to also send them promotional offers, coupons, and other marketing messages while they wait.
For example, you can encourage a customer to head to a section of the store where a sale is in progress (and give directions on how to get there). Or you can give them a dollar-off digital coupon for a drink at your in-store coffee counter.
Businesses outside of brick-and-mortar stores can benefit from this feature—banks can inform customers about low interest rates, salons can offer a special on a service or accessory, and so on. The possibilities are unlimited for you to turn what would have been wasted time into profit potential. Moreover, customers will perceive value in your offer and appreciate your brand even more.
Better Customers at the Point of Service
If you’re stuck in a line for a long time, you might be antsy to receive service and get out as fast as possible once your time arrives. However, research doesn’t support that idea; one study of call-center data showed that for every extra minute spent in the queue beyond a certain time, a customer spends as many as 21 additional seconds being served. Whether customers aren’t as cheerful, focused, or cooperative at the point of service, a long wait ultimately can cut into an organization’s operational efficiency.
Therefore, decreasing wait times can improve efficiency and create more helpful, less irritable customers. A virtual queue contributes to this goal by >collecting information before customers reach the front of the line. The system can ask, via the customer’s smartphone, why they came to the business today, what they need help with, and if they have any special requirements. Then, at the point of service, employees will be ready to accommodate customers’ needs and provide an efficient, quality experience.
Also, because a virtual queue is preferable to standing close to dozens of other people as you wait (especially with COVID-19 still on everyone’s minds), customers are more likely to be in a better mood when their turn arrives. They are more patient with your employees, who in turn are more willing to go the extra mile for them.
Poor service and an unsatisfactory customer experience tend to linger in customers’ minds. That’s unfortunate, given that your business and your employees might bend over backward to provide an exceptional experience but be derailed by one long, annoying wait. However, it also provides incentive to minimize long lines and cement your reputation as an organization that values customers’ time.
A virtual queue greatly increases the possibility of customers enjoying a good experience. Those customers are then more likely to return, leave positive online reviews, and recommend you to others. Furthermore, the prospect of having to wait doesn’t seem so bad because these customers know that you offer a queue system that prioritizes their needs. Abandonment decreases, and again, customers come away from the experience in a more positive mood.
If you’re ready to learn even more about queue management systems and how they boost top-of-line sales and bottom-line profits, check out our guide, Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More.