Not All Queue Management Software is Alike: Carrier Enterprise Switches to Qtrac for a Complete Solution
Carrier Enterprise, part of the largest HVAC distributor network in North America, sells HVAC units, parts, supplies and installation tools from their sales centers across the continent. Their sales centers in Florida are particularly busy, with residential and commercial contractors coming in daily, year-round. Though the stores are laid out for browsing, the average Carrier customer enters the sales center for a pre-determined reason, such as picking up an HVAC unit, purchasing replacement parts or tools, and requesting repairs from a technician. Consequently, there was often a long line of contractors near the help desk, waiting to be serviced by associates on a first-come, first-served basis. Afraid to lose their spot online, few customers would take the time to browse the sales center’s showroom. This led to long lines, frustrated customers and missed sales opportunities for Carrier.
Carrier piloted a queue management software from a tech start-up in the Florida stores, but were disappointed by the provider’s lack of training, limited features, and the inability to reach customer support reps when issues arose. What’s more, the centers were still seeing long lines, and Carrier was not gaining any useful insights that could help their business operations run more efficiently. Unsatisfied with the lack of flexibility and support from their provider, Carrier Enterprise reached out to Lavi Industries. Lavi replaced the software-only system with a robust and comprehensive queue management system, Qtrac, leading to better experiences for customers and increased sales for Carrier.
The Service Challenge
Each of Carrier’s five Central Florida sales centers serves about 200 customers per day, with a total staff of around 33 employees covering roles such as technician, customer service associate and sales manager. Each sales center has a storefront with a help desk and a warehouse where the large HVAC units are kept and repairs are performed.
Customers are generally helped on a first-come, first-served basis, but some services or tasks take longer to perform than others or can only be completed by specific, trained employees. If there is a long wait for a particular service, customers have to watch people who came in after them with other requests receive service first. Sometimes, the situations became so frustrating that customers would fight each other or try to cut the lines.
Carrier saw that their long lines were due in part to internal staffing issues: if only one HVAC repair technician was scheduled for a day when many customers were coming to the store seeking repairs, those customers had to wait longer – or go to a competing distributor where there might be a shorter wait. Carrier’s ideal queue management system would not only solve the physical queue issue, it would also provide valuable business insights on how to staff their centers to avoid service back-ups.
The Virtual Queue: Measuring Success
In selecting a solution, Carrier Enterprise identified four key areas that would need to be resolved.
Customer wait time transparency
With a lack of visibility into wait times, customers had no idea when they would be seen by an associate once they had joined the physical line in-store. This frustrated customers, many of whom work as contractors or repair technicians and serve multiple clients a day; more time spent waiting in the store meant less time generating project revenue. Carrier sought a virtual solution that would clear the physical lines from their help desk area and relieve customers’ anxiety about the wait.
Increasing in-store sales
To avoid losing their spot on line, customers had to physically remain near the help desk – there was no opportunity to browse the sales center. Carrier recognized that by removing the physical queue in their stores and switching to a virtual system customers would be free to walk around the showroom or browse racks of tools and supplies knowing that their place in line remains intact. In addition, by seeing the breadth of services and products listed on the registration page, customers would realize the full extent to which Carrier could fulfill their needs.
Prior to using a queue management system, Carrier associates did not know what services their customers were waiting on line for until they reached the front and were able to speak directly with them. Sometimes, the customer was unaware they were waiting on the wrong line at the store in the first place; that is, they were waiting in-store when they should have gone to the warehouse. And if the sales center wasn’t properly staffed for customers’ service requests, wait times increased.
Recognition of high-value customers
In the long-term, Carrier envisions using the data from their queue management software to identify high-profile, high-volume customers and tailor their sales center experience. By prioritizing their top customers with VIP treatment, Carrier could ensure their continued patronage and even increase sales.
What We Did
“Qtrac is a godsend. At our distribution centers, Qtrac has been really great and the team is outstanding. This is the most seamless in follow-up and response times,“
— Carrier Enterprise Wholesale Area Operations Manager- Florida, Melissa Silva.
The Qtrac Total Queuing Solution: Software + Signage + Service
Qtrac set up all five locations with a robust, full-complement queue management system supported by a professional help desk. With just 4 weeks of training at each location, Carrier’s associates were using the new Qtrac system with ease and customers began to adopt the new system – and immediately enjoy the benefits.
With the option to scan a QR code, or enter info into the iPad at the Qtrac Kiosk, customers of varying technical ability could comfortably and confidently use Qtrac when visiting Carrier sales centers.
Three major elements contributed to the successful launch and adoption of the Qtrac queueing system:
Quick hardware installation
As a business that mainly serves contractors and other construction professionals, Carrier was concerned the hardware installation process would be difficult or time-consuming – especially since the sales centers needed to stay open and serve customers during installation. With decades of experience in queue management solutions and installations in high-traffic locations, the Lavi team put Carrier’s anxieties at ease by quickly and seamlessly installing the Qtrac software, as well as a Kiosk, TV monitor and QR signage in all five locations.
As the front line of the sales centers, Carrier’s associates needed comprehensive training to feel confident using all of Qtrac’s features. If they couldn’t understand Qtrac, it would be hard to get customers to adopt it. Qtrac provided training sessions to all sales center associates, which included live instruction and recorded webinar training sessions for each location, screen walk-throughs, and role-playing, as well as the support of Qtrac’s help desk. Associates took to the training quickly despite their different levels of technical expertise.
Detailed business insights
Shortly after launching Qtrac, Carrier began to analyze the data to improve staffing and sales center operations. Using Qtrac’s insights, Carrier could identify which services were most in-demand and when. Knowing their peak traffic per hour, day, week, and month means Carrier can more effectively staff their centers.
Though some of Carrier’s customers are not technically savvy, with Lavi’s training, store associates are well-prepared to assist them and encourage adoption. Regular customers have the system down pat and new ones require minimal assistance.
“Qtrac is simple and easy to use for both associates and customers. Functions and visibility on screens is a lot more user friendly. Lavi’s attention to detail and prompt responses were perfect and a breath of fresh air. I’ve been in many collaborations in my time, and this project has been the best. The standards in place at Lavi Industries are extraordinary.”
— Carrier Enterprise Wholesale Area Operations Manager- Florida, Melissa Silva.
Not only did Qtrac reduce the physical queue by 70%, it also helped Carrier realize higher in-store sales and more efficient staffing. While still serving up to 200 customers a day, disagreements inside the store and instances of line-cutting are a thing of the past. Now that Carrier staff and customers can view the list of registrants, there are no disputes over who is next in line. Moreover, customers who need services provided only in the warehouse can be redirected there instead of waiting in the store.
Why did Qtrac succeed where Carrier’s first queue management software failed? Because a true queue management solution cannot depend on software alone. When businesses partner with Qtrac by Lavi Industries, they get state-of-the-art software and Lavi’s expertise in the industry. Instead of delivering a one-size-fits-all program, Qtrac provides tailored software, consultations and training from a team of queue management experts, and easy access to ongoing customer support. From the placement of signage to installation of hardware, Lavi leverages a heritage of physical queue management to inform virtual queue solutions, resulting in a seamless, holistic system.
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