When Physical Queuing Goes Digital
What does your checkout process look like? Do your customers currently wait in a physical line? If so, it may be time to upgrade to digital queuing, also known as virtual queuing. Removing the waiting line from the customer experience is shown to boost sales as well as customer satisfaction. Digital queuing can give your customers many ways to enter a service queue, including from their mobile phone, on your company’s app, and at in-store kiosks.
Here are 4 key benefits of a digital queuing system:
1. DISPERSE WAITING CROWDS.
Businesses across a number of industries are finding that waiting in a physical line isn’t the only way to go. The shift to digital queuing is beneficial in more ways than one. The most obvious is crowd management. Rather than lining up in person, customers can simply get “in line” virtually and return to the checkout counter only when it’s their turn to pay. This can effectively disperse crowds. The immediate result is happier customers and employees: long lines can be unsightly to customers and overwhelming to your employees.
In certain industries, such as healthcare, waiting in line can prove to be challenging and chaotic. At a hospital, for example, standing in line may be physically uncomfortable or simply unpleasant for a patient. But it can also be an intrusion of patient privacy and even dangerous to have people crowded around a waiting area. With a virtual queuing system, a walk-in patient is able to register for service via a kiosk and automatically receive an estimated wait time. They can also opt-in to receive text messages that alert them when it’s almost time for their service. This allows them to sit and wait wherever it is most comfortable for them. This is also beneficial from a management standpoint as virtual queuing relieves the line of people standing around the check-in desk and allows people to be called forward based on their particular needs.
2. FACILITATE IMPULSE SALES.
Impulse buying is another benefit of virtually waiting in line. For industries such as retail, digital queuing can encourage customers to stay in your store and continue to browse while they wait. This presents a huge opportunity to a business. It’s found that a captive audience under these circumstances contributes to a spike in sales, primarily as customers tend to add more items to their cart when given extra time to browse.
Consider a busy retail environment. Rather than waiting in line for ten minutes to try on clothes, a customer saves their spot in line for the fitting room using a digital queue. In the ten minutes it takes for a room to free up, they’ve already added three more items to try on, and potentially purchase.
3. BETTER MANAGE CUSTOMER QUEUES.
Customers are not the only ones to benefit from digital queue management. A digital queuing platform allows you and your staff to track and stay on top of customer queues. Now, you can monitor real-time dashboards and alerts that enable you and your team to become more proactive. The data captured by a digital queue can hold the potential to bring your customer experience to the next level by allowing you to open new service stations when wait times exceed thresholds, direct customers to underutilized queues, and monitor service rates across queues or service areas.
As passenger traffic continues to grow, airports and airlines are faced with the continuous need to find innovative solutions to keep up with demand. A digital queuing solution combined with people counting can count and track passengers as they move in, through, and out of the queue and into the service area. It automatically calls passengers to the next available agent, alerting the operations team in real-time when passenger wait times or service rates exceed preset thresholds.
4. EFFECTIVELY MANAGE CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS.
Managing expectations is another powerful yet less often discussed benefit to queue management. It’s proven that knowing how long your actual wait time will be makes the perceived wait time seem shorter. For example, imagine you are waiting in a typical physical line with no indication as to how long the actual wait will be. When that’s the case, a 15 minute wait can feel forever. However, if a customer is informed right away that their wait time is 15 minutes, it’s a lot easier to cope with. The difference boils down to expectations.
When you give a customer an idea of what to expect, you help make the waiting process much more bearable. To achieve this, you’ll need to ensure your estimates are accurate. A digital queue management tool can make this accuracy possible, automatically.
Restaurants can take advantage of digital queue management to effectively manage customer expectations. With minimal effort, a restaurant manager can combine walk-in customer bookings with reservations made ahead of time to provide exceptional customer service. With a digital queue management service, customers can pre-schedule their arrival time to allow restaurants to plan ahead. In addition, the system can automatically turn this data around to provide accurate wait time estimates, thus managing expectations and providing a positive customer experience from the get-go.
CAN DIGITAL QUEUING HELP YOUR BUSINESS?
In deciding whether digital queuing can help you and your business, closely examine your current customer experience. Do your customers wait in line? Do you track key data points, such as how long they wait, particularly during peak hours? How can you make that process more enjoyable? Chances are, a digital queue management system can help transform your good customer journey into an exceptional one – with your company reaping the benefits.