Waiting is inevitable. But how your customers experience the wait can make a big difference in how your brand is perceived. Satisfaction is critical for conversion: a company is 14 times more likely to sell to a satisfied returning customer than to a new customer. Service and loyalty are also closely linked. It’s found that customer service influences brand loyalty in 97% of customers.
Customers select for good experiences. And one key factor that has proven to influence customer satisfaction is the experience of waiting in line. In creating its “Checkout Promise,” in which a new checkout line is opened any time there is more than one person waiting, leading UK grocery store, Morrisons, cited a study that found 64% of customers would prefer to just walk out the door than spend a long time waiting in line. To outperform your competitors, make it your goal to improve the waiting experience with better queue management. Here are some ways to achieve this:
Traditional multi-server, single-line queuing can inadvertently increase average wait times by requiring your agents to verbally or physically hail a customer before every service, needlessly wasting time. This extra time spent trying to get the attention of the next customer can affect the experience of customers and agents alike. A call-forward queuing system allows agents to hail the next customer with the push of a button on a wireless remote. With this, agents can instantly alert the next waiting customer and effortlessly guide them to an open service position using audio and visuals from strategically-placed digital displays and station lights. In addition to reducing service lag time, a call-forward queuing system can drive impulse sales by delivering marketing and advertising messages on the same digital screens used to direct customers to the next available service station.
How can you take your service to the next level to satisfy your customers? Understanding traffic trends can help you identify your busiest hours, days, and seasons to help optimize labor scheduling and allocation. You can also use pattern recognition to take a closer look at customer flow patterns and events, including a long queue, traffic blockage, or customer surges to act responsively. All of these data points can paint a clearer picture as to where your service can be improved to generate higher overall customer satisfaction. Today’s footfall analytics technologies put the power of real-time and historical data into the palm of your hands so you can optimize your service delivery like a pro.
Sometimes the best way to improve your queue is to remove the physical line altogether. Virtual queuing is becoming a widely adopted solution to improve the queuing experience by allowing customers to add themselves to a line using a digital platform such as a mobile phone app, web sign-up, or kiosk. When it’s their turn for service, they’ll receive an alert. This can drive satisfaction by making the wait feel like a more natural part of the customer journey without the pain point of anxiously waiting in line.
Knowing how long the wait will be is shown to make the wait more bearable. Combining queue analytics with a digital signage solution takes the guesswork out of this communication as it can automatically track and predict current and upcoming wait times to keep your customers in-the-know. Furthermore, queue management systems that utilize digital signage can automatically direct customers to underutilized queues, then help keep them entertained or informed while they wait.
When it comes to differentiating your brand, the value of a positive customer experience shouldn’t be underestimated. As a key component of that, an effective queue management strategy leaves so much potential for you to develop a positive relationship between your customers and brand and vicariously outperform your competitors. Armed with this knowledge, take a closer look at queue management solutions your company can integrate into your existing operations.