What Makes a Smart Queue Management System ‘Smart’?
For hundreds of years after the word queue entered the lexicon, not much changed about the way we wait in line. We arrived at our location for service and took our place in the queue and advanced forward until we reached the front of the line to explain what we needed.
The introduction of virtual queues in the late 1990s was a breath of fresh air. Instead of just standing in an endless, unorganized line, we experienced something entirely new. Smart queue management—virtual queuing—turned frowns upside down by giving customers control over how we wait.
What Is Smart Queue Management?
A truly smart queue management platform enhances both the customer and the employee experience by putting the power of technology to work for your business.
If you aren’t already familiar with the idea of queuing theory, it’s a branch of mathematics that is used to identify and correct points of congestion in a wide range of processes. Queuing theory examines every component of waiting in line, including the arrival and service processes, the number of staff members, the number of system locations, and the number of customers.
That’s a lot to analyze! And it’s just one of the things that makes a smart queue management system, well, “smart.” Not only can it collect all the essential data that your business needs, but it can also provide actionable insights for improving the service experience in the moment, when the need is high and the impact is greatest.
Basically, smart queue management makes queuing easier for your customers, staff, and leadership.
Virtual queue systems are designed with customers in mind. Instead of planning a day of errands with a hope and a prayer that any lines will be mercifully short, customers can check in for service from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop or even at an on-site kiosk.
They receive an estimated time they should report to the location and then get real-time updates via SMS messaging or email about their place in line. Should a customer need a more convenient time for their changing schedule, they can move their place in line.
And if that wasn’t already pretty great, smart queue management also gives customers the freedom to wait anywhere they want. They can relax at home, go see a movie, or enjoy a bite to eat.
If someone is awaiting service at a retail location and doesn’t have to stand in line, they might decide to browse the store while they wait. This increases the likelihood of impulse purchases, which adds to your business’s bottom line.
Long lines don’t just frustrate the people waiting in them. Your staff members get stressed out by endless rows of customers and crowded lobbies. They also aren’t aware of what customers need until the person is standing in front of them, which can make a bad day worse.
Smart queue management, in contrast, empowers workers by giving them the information they need to deliver exceptional customer service during every interaction. The same software customers use to check in for service informs employees about what they need.
If they know what people need when they arrive for service, employees will know what to expect during their shift, making them feel more in control of their day. They can prepare the information and products to move customers through their transactions quickly and efficiently. Employees can also make any necessary accommodations if they know a customer with a disability is expected.
All this foresight creates a more comfortable experience for each individual and helps workers feel productive instead of frantic, even on the busiest days.
Smart queue management delivers real-time insights through a centralized dashboard so you can respond to customers’ changing needs and adjust to whatever situation is at hand. The dashboard can be accessed from any device, giving managers a bird’s-eye view of operations no matter if they’re in an office upstairs or across town.
Robust reporting provides real-time data that adds up to historical insights for more accurate forecasting to match staffing with customer demand. If there’s an uptick in traffic or a higher number of walk-ins than usual, supervisors can move employees on the fly to cover busier queues.
A fully customizable virtual queuing system fits your business needs instead of the other way around. It adapts to your operations now and in the future as you add locations, change your offerings, or add employees.
The best virtual queuing solutions also fully integrate into the systems you already use. There isn’t any software to install, and you won’t need to rip out and replace any platforms that already work for you.
How Do Businesses Benefit from Smart Queue Management?
Which businesses, agencies, and organizations can benefit from virtual queue management? The short answer: almost all of them!
Animal Hospitals and Veterinary Clinics
Virtual queue systems are key when triaging patients at veterinary offices based on their level of need. Humans check in remotely and let office staff know the reason for their visit. They can list pet symptoms if there’s an immediate problem or note if the visit is for routine care.
For veterinary offices and animal hospital networks, virtual queuing solutions create a seamless referral system so animals can be seen at other locations. Using a queue dashboard, front desk workers can quickly determine if their location can treat the pet. If not, they can be placed in the referral queue. If the animal is accepted at a different facility, the software sends a message that the referral has been accepted.
The beginning of each semester on college campuses can be stressful for students, administrators, and faculty.
By using online appointment scheduling, faculty members can stay on top of their schedules and cultivate meaningful relationships with students. When an individual reserves a spot on a professor’s calendar, the system asks questions about the reason for their visit. Instructors are more prepared for meetings and stay organized because the tool is based on their class schedule and posted office hours.
Operations also run similarly to how they do in the “real” world. A centralized management dashboard accessible from any device helps administrators make data-driven decisions about staffing based on peak student traffic, the services they need the most and when, and how long it takes employees to complete interactions.
We conduct most of our personal business on our phones, but one area of our life we are likely to continue using in-person services is banking. When we need to open or close an account, secure a safety deposit box, or apply for a loan, we require time with a personal or business banker.
Customers check in remotely for personal or business banking, which alerts staff about the service an individual needs. Staff is then prepared for the person’s arrival, and transactions are completed with a higher level of service.
Virtual queuing and intelligent appointment scheduling work together for an elevated, more personalized customer experience. When a customer arrives at the bank, they are greeted by name and no longer need to wait for their turn in the lobby.
Visits to some government offices that used to fill us with dread have become fast and efficient thanks to the power of virtual queuing. State DMV offices, labor departments, and County agencies have implemented smart queue management to decrease service times and improve customer service.
Ready to Queue Smarter?
Smart queue management isn’t just “smart” in the ways it can handle data—it’s a smart choice for your business, too. Check out our guide Why Virtually Queued Customers Buy More to learn more about how the improved customer experiences with a smart queue management system can lead to increased revenue for your business.
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