8 Trends That Will Shape Queue Management in 2018

8 Trends That Will Shape Queue Management in 2018

Last updated: January 08, 2018Perry Kuklin

2018 is upon us. Are your queue management strategies keeping pace with the latest trends? As you look ahead to reach your customer satisfaction, productivity, and profitability goals for this year, consider these trends:

1. Mobile queuing adds fuel to the customer experience race.

Companies across industries recognize the importance of delivering a positive mobile customer experience and are seeing that mobile can effectively integrate throughout the customer journey--including in the waiting line. From pre-scheduled waits to real-time status updates, notifications, and two-way texting, mobile queuing functionality can cut wait times and improve service efficiency for everything from retail fitting rooms to medical emergency rooms. We expect to see a continued rise in the adoption of mobile queuing in 2018.

2. Queues for self service kiosks are getting the attention they need.

The age of self-service is officially upon us as businesses across industries turn to kiosks to facilitate customer order-taking, ticketing, check-ins, check-outs, and an increasing array of other transactions. But the surprising reality is that self-serve kiosks don’t eliminate the waiting line; it simply changes where the line forms. Businesses are turning to tried and true queue management practices and automation to eliminate the ‘chaos in front of the kiosks’ in order to realize the full benefit of the self-service model.

3. Businesses are becoming more comfortable with ‘transparent queues.’

Transparency is a concept that has received much attention among customer service theorists. The idea is to be open and honest with customers about the things that impact their experience. Whether it’s down time with an internet service provider or a backlog of orders in a restaurant kitchen, customers want to know what’s going on, what happened, and how soon their issue will be resolved. In queuing, this is no different and today, businesses have the capability to give customers accurate, real-time information about the status of their wait. Letting them know how long they’ll be expected to wait or what is causing the delay empowers customers and helps them feel more satisfied with the level of service. And now, it can all be done automatically.

4. Customer feedback is becoming a more integrated part of queue management.

Numerous studies have found that how people feel when they wait in line matters far more than the actual duration of time they spent waiting. For this reason, companies are becoming more interested in the waiting line experience and finding ways to make it more enjoyable. Tapping into customer feedback directly in the queuing environment can give companies real-time feedback on the ‘mood of the queue.’ Are customers getting frustrated about the wait? If so, it might be time to open another service station or send personnel into the queue to problem-solve. Companies are looking for ways to integrate this feedback into their queue management strategies and we expect the trend to continue in 2018.

5. Automation drives operational efficiencies in the queue.

‘Doing more with less’ is the mantra of modern business. As today’s queuing technology continues to evolve to automate key processes such as call-forwarding, managerial alerts, and re-queuing, the resulting efficiency gains are drawing more businesses to explore their options.

6. Companies recognize not all queues are created equal.

Businesses are recognizing that queuing technologies and approaches should be integrated but also responsive to specific environments. Take an airport, for example, where we have security queues, queues for customer service, queues for food service, boarding, check-in… Each situation requires a different type of queue arrangement and supporting technology. Airports may opt for virtual queuing for customer service and mobile queuing for ticketing. No more one size fits all approach.

7. Customer journey mapping includes the queue.

Customer journey mapping is a common and important exercise companies go through to proactively guide customers through the process of buying or interacting with a brand. Today’s consumers flow in and out of the digital and real-world, interacting with a company in the ‘instant gratification’ world of online buying to the sometimes arduous world of in-person purchases or transactions. Waiting lines have to be accounted for. How do your queues help facilitate the customer journey? This important question will continue to drive customer experiences across industries.

8. The agent and associate experience matches the customer experience in importance.

Customer experience has been the name of the game for quite some time. "It's all about the customer experience!" has been the battle cry of businesses across a wide spectrum of industries. Today, businesses recognize that the customer experience is also about the associate or agent experience. When service employees are empowered with the information and tools they need to be more efficient, productive, and engaging with customers, the impact on the customer experience is immediate and positive. Today’s queuing technologies are leveraging this trend and giving associates visibility into customer traffic, wait times, information, and preferences and automating queuing-related functions to free associates up to spend more time helping customers. 

Make this your year to take your queue management strategies to the next level. Let these 8 trends help prioritize your efforts and reap the rewards of greater customer satisfaction, higher productivity, and greater profits.

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