Understaffed Businesses? 4 Ways Virtual Queue Management Solutions Can Help
The struggles understaffed businesses face often result in a vicious cycle. Current employees feel crunched because there are not enough people to fill the operation’s needs. If the stress becomes too much, employees might quit, putting even more pressure on those who remain.
In a tight labor market, escaping this cycle is difficult. Businesses are competing for the same pool of talent, and you could be doing everything correctly and still be understaffed. Although you shouldn’t give up on attracting and hiring new employees, you should consider how to get the most out of your current employees—without working them harder.
Virtual queue management solutions can help businesses deal with long customer lines and support employees tasked with delivering great customer service. Here are four reasons why a digital queue can be a lifesaver for an understaffed business and frazzled employees:
1. Fewer—and Smaller—Crowds to Manage
A crowded physical queue generally requires more employees to handle the volume, manage the line, or both. When your business is understaffed, you might be forced to pull workers from other departments and responsibilities—and the productivity of those areas may suffer. And if you can’t swing employees to help with the long line, the customer experience and your bottom line can take a big hit.
A virtual queue management system all but eliminates the need for an employee to manage a physical line. Signage and kiosks help most customers figure out how to use the system, and because those customers aren’t tethered to a queue or waiting area, your staff won’t worry about managing crowds or asking, “Who’s next?” Furthermore, the system can inform you when you might need more help—a benefit we’ll explore later in this article.
2. Efficient Service
The math is simple: If, for example, an employee needs an average of four minutes to help someone instead of five, that worker can serve more customers in the same amount of time or work on other tasks sooner. For an understaffed business, any extra minutes you can save add up.
By optimizing customer flow, a virtual queue improves service when a customer reaches the counter, meaning you might not need as many employees to serve the same volume of people. The system achieves this by:
- Gathering customers’ information when they check in and while they wait so that staff knows what they need to do when someone reaches the front of the line
- Keeping employees focused on the customer at hand instead of the gathering of people in the line or waiting area
- Creating a better customer experience that results in people being more focused on what they need at the point of service
Moreover, after customers successfully navigate virtual waiting the first time, they’re better prepared for it the next time they visit your business. This adds to the efficiency that will benefit your understaffed operation.
3. Improved Employee Morale
Employees at any organization have good days and bad days—that’s just life. However, if workers continually feel swamped in their responsibilities and mistreated by customers, they will, at best, become less productive, and at worst, quit, leaving you even more understaffed.
A virtual queuing platform doesn’t just make life easier for customers; it also eases the burden of employees using the system and empowers them. Customers who aren’t forced to wait as long and are free to roam are generally happier and less likely to take out their frustrations on employees at the point of service. Workers who can provide better service and get a genuine “thank you” from customers feel better about their jobs and less stressed. In turn, these employees are less likely to quit out of frustration, thus saving you the headache and expense of finding and training their replacements.
For all the customer experience benefits a virtual queuing solution offers, perhaps its greatest potential for an understaffed business lies in the data the system produces. Among the reports you can view:
- Average wait times
- Average time to serve a customer
- Peak customer periods
- Which employee specialists are most in demand
- Which employees are most or least efficient
- How often customers abandoned the virtual queue
- How often customers interacted with the system or clicked on special offers sent to their smartphones
Queue management data is obviously great for strategic planning: how many more employees you should hire, how many you should have on a given shift, when you are overstaffed, and so on.
But the real-time analytics virtual queuing provides are just as impactful. Managers may become so busy they don’t see when the queue is filling up or that people are leaving the store or that employees are overwhelmed. The system can alert staff when these conditions occur so that workers can be moved to where they’re most needed, when they’re most needed.
Understaffed businesses must work harder to preserve the customer experience. When employees deliver better service, sales can increase—and virtual queuing can help. Check out our guide Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More to learn about this benefit.