Quick Guide: Queue Management System Implementation
Once upon a time—really, not that long ago—all toll road drivers had to stop at a booth to get a ticket, throw coins into a basket, or pay their toll to a live person serving them.
Barcode scanners at retail stores seem like they have been around forever, but at some point, businesses switched to the new system from cashiers manually typing prices into a cash register—which, at grocery stores, could take a long time. Self-checkout lanes were also a big shift for retailers and consumers alike.
These technologies have something in common: They needed to be successfully implemented before customers could take full advantage of the convenience they provided. Toll roads needed to be reconfigured, and a system for collecting tolls needed to be established. Barcode scanners needed to be installed in stores, and customers had to get over their apprehension of checking themselves out. Sometimes, the transition was bumpy …
Queue management systems have an edge over these examples in that the technology is already proven. These systems replace physical queues with virtual ones, thus boosting efficiency, the customer experience, and the bottom line. That said, proper and smooth implementation is still important so that organizations can start transforming their operations as soon as possible.
Benefits of Implementing a Queue Management System
The investment in a queue management system is well worth the effort required to implement it. Here are some of the benefits that organizations have enjoyed by going virtual:
Shorter Queues and Wait Times
When physical queues are eliminated or minimized, fewer people are milling around in one spot waiting their turns to be served. Employees can better focus on the patron in front of them instead of the queue, thus delivering a better customer experience in less time.
Advanced Reporting and Analytics
Robust data can report average wait times, peak periods, how customers interacted with the virtual platform, and more. You’re better able to see what’s working and not working with your queue strategy and can adjust operations based on the data.
Streamlined Operations Management
Thanks to shorter queue times, engaged employees, and great data, organizations become more efficient when they take their queues virtual. Businesses can also plan and strategize based on the insights the system gives them, thereby streamlining and enhancing their operations.
Implementing a virtual queue management system is a bold step toward showing customers you want to make their experience the best it can be. While the competition is making people wait in long, possibly stress-inducing lines, your white-labeled application is giving them more control over how they wait for service.
Increased Sales Opportunities
Virtual queues boost sales in a variety of ways, including:
- When patrons have the freedom to browse the store rather than staying tethered to a specific location, the odds increase that they’ll find something they like and make a purchase.
- Happier customers are more likely to be repeat customers, particularly if they know that they won’t be stuck waiting in a long queue when they return.
- The system can be set to send targeted offers and advertising to customers’ smartphones while they wait.
Implementing a queue management system should be worry-free, but businesses might find the process more complex than expected. Going from physical queues to a completely virtual experience can be game-changing, but the potential for chaos if you don’t get it right looms large. Some of the implementation challenges organizations face include:
- Expertise: Well-designed, visually appealing applications don’t automatically translate into a smooth implementation—which can make the system difficult to use when it’s finally in place. The best providers understand the science, psychology, and business cases of queues, then apply that knowledge during the implementation process.
- Flexibility: Every organization’s queuing needs are unique—and sometimes, those needs emerge and evolve during implementation. The system you choose must be able to seamlessly pivot as necessary. A lack of flexibility and customization at this stage doesn’t bode well if you want to adjust strategy later.
- Branding: People using the queuing system might not recognize or trust strange notifications on their smartphones. Incorporating the system into your business’s own brand shows that you’re delivering a valuable service to customers and making their lives better. White-labeling the application is easier as it’s being set up, but if a solution doesn’t easily support this feature, adding your brand will be difficult.
- Pricing: Cost uncertainty, vague fees, and overruns during implementation can prevent organizations from realizing the full potential of a queue management system before it’s even up and running. The best solutions offer transparent pricing models so you can more efficiently budget and not be surprised by hidden costs before, during, or after implementation.
- Scalability: Your business may grow and your needs may change, so you need a virtual queuing platform that can scale as you do. A system with a rigid implementation may be just as rigid later when you need to make major adjustments.
Keys to Successful Queue Management System Implementation
The more effort you put into implementing a queue management solution—and the more due diligence your provider brings to the process—the more likely you are to find success once the system is live and benefiting customers. These five steps are crucial to effective and impactful implementation:
1. Queue Analysis
Take a good look at the issues and problems with your current queue processes. Where and when are bottlenecks happening, and how bad are they? From there, virtual queuing can be aligned during implementation to maximize efficiency once you make the switch. A quality platform will let you make changes later on as needed, but bringing as much intel as possible to the process helps you launch the system from a good place.
2. Process Analysis
Your plans for what you want your queue management to look like will guide how the system is implemented. Some crucial considerations include:
- What service queues you will set up
- What data you’ll collect from customers prior to service
- How often a no-show is put back into the queue
- How many texts are sent to each waiting customer
- What to do when wait times exceed those normally anticipated
- How to handle VIP customers or those with special needs
Experts who understand queue management can guide you through these considerations and others so that the transition to the virtual queue is as seamless as possible.
3. Advertising Wait Times
Virtual queuing can provide a unique brand differentiator for your organization. As you work through the implementation process, think about ways to shout out that advantage to the world. Besides marketing your virtual queue as a customer-friendly service, you might consider advertising updated wait times in real time—maybe online or through interactive signage.
4. Employee Training
Your employees will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of your new queue management system. Therefore, effective training must be part of a successful implementation. Teach your staff how to:
- Leverage the platform
- Take advantage of all of solution’s features
- Interact with customers via the application to provide better service
- Use data to make operational changes, as needed, in real time
The best solutions are easy to use and learn, but they still provide some sort of training so that employees are comfortable and confident using the system on day one.
5. Customer Communication and Training
The switch from a traditional queue to a virtual one can feel strange for your customers, especially if they are not all comfortable with technology. Proper customer-facing signage—and even other marketing options such as emails and announcements on your website—explaining the new system and how to use it will be important in order to help people figure out and embrace the new process.
Although the best solutions are simple for customers to learn and use, your staff can still help them make the adjustment. During slow traffic periods, employees can show customers the basics of the system and answer any questions that might come up. During peak periods right after implementation, an employee can be dedicated to helping customers understand the new process. With either approach, you set up customers for an exceptional experience—in the present and the future.
Proper queue management system implementation is essential not only for customer satisfaction but also to stay within budget and realize ROI. Check out our guide, How to Avoid the Hidden Costs of Purchasing a Queue Management System, to learn more.