What Is a Customer Queue Management System? Here’s What You Need to Know.
Waiting in line for anything—at the deli counter when you’re grocery shopping, in the drive-thru of a fast food restaurant, to buy gifts for Christmas, on hold to make a doctor’s appointment—means you are part of a customer queue management system. The word queue evolved from cauda, Latin for tail, and it was used sometime in late-15th-century France for the first time to describe a line of people, which is how we most often use it today.
Today, we have physical queues—for example, when you’re going through TSA at the airport—and virtual queues that don’t necessarily require you to be present or standing in a physical line while you wait. For businesses, creating a customer-centric queue management system can have lasting, long-term benefits that include increased retention, larger revenue gains, and even happier, more engaged employees.
What is a customer queue management system?
There is a difference between the basic concept of queue management and a queue management system. Queue management is the tool used to manage customer flow. Any system you put in place to manage both the flow of customers and their experience as they wait for service is a customer queue management system.
When you call your cell phone provider, for example, and the automated voice tells you there are four calls ahead of yours and provides an estimated wait time, you are part of that company’s queue management. A queue management system uses a variety of options such as software, certain equipment, and human interaction to manage a customer’s journey with a business before, during, and after they need service. One is about waiting in general, and the other is about how customers wait.
What is a virtual customer queue management system?
When you implement a virtual customer queue management system into your business operations, you’re providing a level of personalized service that customers will long remember. Because your customers check in remotely and indicate what service they need, your employees can greet them by name. Even better, workers know what’s required of them before customers are standing in front of them. Employees deliver a top-notch experience quickly to complete transactions, so customers can move on with their day.
The benefits offered by a virtual customer queue management system generally fit into a few broad categories:
The coronavirus pandemic has caused labor shortages that affect businesses large and small, and business owners are increasingly leaning into the principle of doing more with less. By understanding what service individuals need before they arrive on site, you can route customers to the right department and staff accordingly. Virtual queue solutions also provide data for customer traffic patterns, giving you more control over managing your workforce to cover busy periods and serve more customers faster.
Great customer experiences with your brand increases the likelihood you’ll retain them and increase sales, too. With a digital customer queue management system, you have multiple opportunities to deliver on your promise of amazing customer service. You can communicate directly with each customer via email or text once they’ve checked into the software by sending them promos and offers for the products and services they need, want, or use already based on their interaction with the system.
Of course, what your customers want to know is how long they’ll actually wait. Virtual queue management systems send real-time updates about their place in line. They’re free to wait in the comfort of their own homes, for example, or at a nearby coffee shop. They might even browse your store, which improves the odds they’ll buy more than what originally brought them to you.
By not tying visitors to a physical location and letting them know on a regular basis when they can expect service, you create the perception of a shorter wait time, even if the actual time they wait doesn’t change. Creating the impression of shorter wait times, engaging customers with custom content, and giving them the option to wait anywhere add up to a great overall experience, repeat customers, and increased sales.
Qtrac’s virtual queue management system improves accessibility for customers of all levels of physical ability by making content generally accessible to and operational by everyone, two of the guiding principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Qtrac supports all users accessing and understanding content on different devices and with assistive software.
The software is also built with multilingual support, so customers with limited English proficiency can use it, too, thereby fulfilling the final WCAG principle of making information and instructions understandable for the people who use the software.
Which industries can benefit from a customer queue management system?
There really isn’t an industry that can’t benefit from using a virtual customer queue management system to consistently improve the overall customer experience. Below are just a few examples.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of digital queue management in the retail industry. Customers shop online and opt for either curbside or in-store pick up. After they receive notice that their purchase is available, shoppers check in when they’re on their way and then again when they arrive. Staff brings their merchandise to them, or the customer heads to the service counter to collect their items, virtually eliminating wait times.
Instead of sitting around their cell phone carrier’s store waiting for an employee to have time for them and then having to explain the reason for their visit, customers check in remotely and indicate the service they need, accelerating the speed at which service is delivered. They can wait anywhere and receive updates about their place in line by email or text.
Money is a serious matter, and people need to feel safe and confident using financial services. Imagine the positive impression you can make on someone by greeting them by name when they visit your bank. Then, instead of waiting for a teller when they need a wealth manager who can help them plan their retirement, they’re directed almost immediately to the right person. Because they’re so impressed that they checked in before arriving and their business was handled so efficiently as soon as they walked in the door, they inquire about additional financial services.
Patients’ ability to schedule their appointments online, access their medical charts, and communicate more directly with their doctor and other medical staff are all components of a virtual queue management system that increases overall satisfaction with the care they receive. Digital queuing also helps ensure individuals receive the care they need by helping medical personnel triage for the most pressing cases first.
Airlines already use remote flight check-in, but with digital queuing, they can do so much more. For example, employees working the counter can better understand which customers need more immediate assistance—such as rebooking a flight when theirs gets canceled or they miss it—and serve them first. For the airport itself, shift changes no longer need to result in long lines. Instead, workers can scan a QR code and report back to security when it’s their turn.
The days of needing an entire day to renew your driver’s license are long gone thanks to virtual queue management solutions. Now, you can check in from home and visit your local DMV at a specific time and know your visit will be fast and efficient, putting control of your calendar back in your hands where it belongs.
Are you ready to implement virtual queuing for your customers?
All of the above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to benefits your organization can realize with a customer queue management system. Learn more about how virtual queuing can boost sales in the eBook “Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More.”
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