6 Queue Management Goals Worth Pursuing

April 08, 2016Perry Kuklin

Studies show that customers are won and lost in the queue. The quality and duration of time spent waiting sends signals to your customers about the efficiency of your business operations and the level of respect and concern you have for their time.
The resources you spend to create a more efficient and effective queuing experience can benefit both your customers and your business. It’s important, though, to carefully consider which goals are worth pursuing.
Here are six queue management goals that can improve the efficiency of your queues, the productivity of your employees, and the happiness of your customers.

1. Make your queue more intelligent

If only you could predict the future and know exactly when your queue is going to get longer or busier so you could proactively manage the ebb and flow. Turns out, technology in the form of footfall and queue analytics can provide the answer to your “if only.” Data collected throughout the customer journey to and through your queue results in accurate wait time predictions and service loads for any day, week, month, or season. And real-time monitoring makes it possible to respond to shifts within the queue on a daily and even hourly basis.

2. Get focused on the customer

If your approach to queue management is not customer-focused, it should be. After all, the customer experience reaches its apex, not its ending, when a person enters the queue. Customer service should continue to be excellent – even at its very best – in the waiting line. The queue isn’t a means to an end, it’s also a means to retaining customers and making new long-term customers. Entertaining queue additions like digital displays and music make the wait more enjoyable. Text-based wait time updates and virtual queuing respond to the customer’s desire for convenience and a respect for their time. Every queueing addition should have the power to make a customer happier and more relaxed.

3. Mobilize your queue

Rather than asking your customers to wait in a physical line where they can easily feel stuck, give them control over their waiting. Through their handheld devices, customers can reserve a place in line or take themselves out of the line and schedule a later time to queue up. Instead of imprisoning customers in the queue, you’re freeing them – and that shift will help you create happier and more devoted customers.

4. Make the wait more transparent

If you’re using technology to track and predict wait times, don’t just keep this information to yourself – use your knowledge to keep customers informed. It’s not the kiss of death to tell customers that they’ll be waiting 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or longer – on the contrary, being upfront about the wait will encourage more customers to stay put. They trust that you’re providing accurate wait time information (just make sure that you aren’t inflating or deflating numbers to appease) and allowing them to control their own queue destiny. Customers appreciate knowing what’s going on with their wait and, believe it or not, known waits can actually feel shorter than unknown waits.

5. Do something unexpected!

For plenty of businesses, customers expect to wait in line. They expect to have to stand there and mark time, shuffling along in anticipation of being served. Surprise your customers! Implement a virtual queue that eliminates the physical line entirely and allows customers to continue shopping or wait however and wherever they please until their turn is called (perhaps conveniently, by text message). And think about waiting lines beyond just the checkout line – points of service, like fitting rooms, are important too. And every line can be an opportunity to use powerful queue management tools like digital signage that broadcast how-to videos, commercials, or promotional stills.

6. Integrate, integrate, integrate

The queue is not a solitary thing. Make your waiting lines work seamlessly with other areas of your business with thoughtful upgrades. Through cross-channel integration you can, for example, expand online ordering options by offering in-store pick-ups and returns. With business intelligence integration, you can more accurately predict higher service loads or wait times at certain service points by looking at other important data, like weather and flight times at an airport. And through process integration you can compare entrance and exit stats with POS data and queue metrics to more accurately understand and analyze conversion and abandonment rates.
Queuing continues to evolve, and it is finally being realized as an incredibly important piece of the customer experience. Speak with a Lavi expert about the best goals to reach for in your place of business so you can have a better and smoother queue and, of course, happier customers.

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