Utilizing Queue Management Systems to Drive New Business
In today’s economy, efficiency and experience are vital in appealing to new customers. Surprisingly, the way some emergency rooms market themselves offers a perfect example of this trend.
You likely have seen billboards advertising hospitals that feature the current wait in their ERs, displayed in real time. In a business notorious for frustratingly long wait times, this marketing strategy gives consumers updated information that can make their lives easier.
Granted, if you are suffering from a fresh head wound, instead of pondering the extra minutes you might or might not wait at an ER, you likely will simply go to the nearest hospital (hopefully, with someone else driving …). The billboards serve the purpose of showing consumers that the hospital cares about their well-being and values efficiency, so that when they are considering a healthcare system, they think of that hospital first.
Virtual queue management systems offer a more focused opportunity to drive new business, both from existing and unexpected sources—and in the COVID-19 era, every opportunity counts. Here are some ways queue management can boost the bottom line while also boosting the customer experience.
Most consumers generally accept that they might have to wait in line at a business, even if they aren’t happy about it. At some point, however, long queues cut into customer satisfaction. The challenge becomes determining exactly how long is too long and at what point customers move beyond acceptance to annoyance.
Satisfied customers tend to become repeat customers and are willing to visit your business more often—and spend more when they do. In terms of queue management, the key is creating an experience in which customers think to themselves, “That was easy! I’m definitely coming back.”
Because of this positive experience, the potential to bring in new business increases even more. Favorable online reviews—particularly ones that don’t say, “I was stuck in a long line”—attract new customers who feel confident they’ll be treated well at your business. Also, word of mouth remains powerful as customers share their positive experiences (and their short waits) with friends, family, and colleagues.
Perhaps nothing is more frustrating for a business than a customer who is ready to purchase a product or service from you but changes their mind and leaves, possibly never to return. The sight of a long queue can cause this reversal. The customer may not have time to wait, but even worse, they might wonder if the purchase is worth the wait. If the person leaves the store, the potential sale isn’t just delayed—it might not happen at all.
A virtual queue management system can help counter abandonment because customers won’t be intimidated by the sight of a long line. Furthermore, even if the queue is lengthy, the wait won’t feel as daunting if customers are free to do whatever they want before their turn comes up—and this also contributes to a positive experience that can increase sales opportunities in the long term.
Impulse Purchases and Targeted Offers
Although impulse purchases within a queue have been a retail strategy for a while, they are typically limited to a small variety of items that can be easily displayed. That’s fine for a bottle of soda or a package of batteries, but not so great for more expensive, bigger-ticket items. Plus, picking up something that costs, say, $50 right before they are ready to check out is too expensive a decision for most customers to make in the spur of the moment.
With a virtual queue management system, customers aren’t tethered to a physical line, which opens up the entire store to impulse purchases. People can take their time to browse and, if they see something that catches their eye, take a little time to consider buying it while waiting to be notified that their turn in the queue has come up.
The possibilities for increased sales don’t stop at random browsing. If the solution you use includes personal wait screens and/or robust text notification options, targeted offers can be sent directly to customers’ phones. In this way, you’re helping direct the impulse purchase and can even encourage it by sending a digital coupon to customers while they wait.
Better Store Flow
Efficient queues, whether they are virtual or physical, lessen the chaos created when a barely organized crowd of customers is waiting to be served. Such a crowd may impede other customers, who might not attempt to navigate around a queue—especially with a cart or with children—because it looks too busy or even unsafe.
Defined physical queues can help by keeping line-goers somewhat organized, but other customers still might have to make a long detour to get to the other side. A virtual queue takes most of the crowd out of the equation, which greatly improves traffic flow. When customers aren’t intimidated by a mass of people, they will be more likely to browse adjacent areas of the store and shop for longer—thus expanding opportunities for more sales. Even if they don’t buy anything else or the business isn’t retail, the experience of not feeling anxious about a crowded queue might be enough for customers to come away with a good impression of the organization and want to return.
Queue management systems do more than just improve the customer experience—they also boost efficiency, reduce employee stress, and save businesses money. More efficiency means more customers can be served in the same amount of time. Happier employees go the extra mile for customers, thus improving the customer experience.
The benefits of a queue management system tend to build upon each other, which not only saves money in the long run but also frees up resources for other sales strategies. You might not have taken a risk on an additional line of business—or had the manpower to give it a try—but if your queues are humming along, the prospect of expanding your operation may not seem so difficult.
Among the many advantages of virtual queuing, the system recognizes the value of customers’ time. Quality solutions not only give time back to users but also let people take control of how they spend their time waiting. Virtual appointment scheduling takes this idea to the next level.
Customers who aren’t physically in your store may not be immediately considering visiting as they go about their days. They could think of your business at any time—and when they do, the ability to schedule an appointment gets them into a queue hours or even days in advance.
In this way, a virtual queue management system allows customers to maximize their convenience. Instead of visiting your business and hoping the line isn’t long, they can schedule a time and be confident they will receive efficient—and possibly even customized—service. Knowing that flexibility exists can be the difference between a customer choosing your business and that person waffling on a purchase decision.
A constant among all these benefits of virtual queuing is that consumers are uniquely prioritized. The changes businesses attempt in order to manage queues may seem small, but they can make a big difference to customers, who in turn might feel more confident to spend their money on your brand. To learn more about the relationship between queues and consumer habits, check out our guide Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More.