4 Things Google and Zappos Can Teach Us About Queuing

January 23, 2015Perry Kuklin

When you are looking for new ideas or inspiration for your business, sometimes it is best to look beyond your own industry. That is why today, we are going to look at one of the largest tech companies in the world, Google, and one of the largest online retailers, Zappos, to see what they can teach us about queuing.

single line queue

“Keep people happy and healthy over the long haul.”1

Both Google and Zappos place customer satisfaction and employee retention at the top of their list. They know that happy employees and happy customers make for good business.

We’ve seen from years of research, studies, and our own experiences that people do not like to wait. If a customer is kept waiting more than they personally think is reasonable, it creates a negative experience. Having a well-functioning queue is integral to this experience. Displaying wait times, using in-queue entertainment, or adding in-queue merchandising are all ways that you can reduce the perceived wait time if your service agents are already fully utilized. Keeping customers happy will prolong customer retention, encourage repeat business, and prompt positive recommendations of your business.

projected-wait-times

“Transparency: Leaders are present on a weekly basis to employees, receiving questions and asking them in turn.”2

At Google, founders Larry and Sergey make themselves available on a weekly basis to update employees on projects and to ask and receive questions. This act of leadership having face-to-face time with employees shows that they care about their employees and their opinions. Being transparent with your queue wait times could be one of the most beneficial changes you could make. By displaying estimated wait times for the customer to see before they enter the queue puts the power of the decision in their hands and creates the perception of a shorter wait time. If you are honest and upfront with the customer they will be more satisfied and more likely to return with their business in the future.

mobile virtual queuing system

“Google oozes with creativity.”2

Have you ever seen a Google April Fools joke, or seen the inside of the offices at Zappos? Then you may already know that both of these companies are full of creative people that can’t wait to express their ideas with the world. How can you put a smile on your patrons’ faces? How can you let the personality of your brand shine through at a time when people are waiting with little else to do? With both static and digital signage you can show your own creativity. Depending on your audience, try a saying that will get them to laugh, think hard, or smile as a response. The possibilities are almost endless with digital signage and you are able to truly entertain your customers while they wait. Or, why not try something drastic — get rid of the line altogether! Virtual queuing will free your customer from the line, allowing them to spend their waiting time in their own creative way.

merchandising analytics

"Knowing what clients want and developing ways to meet those needs is the basis of creating tangible opportunities that exceed their expectations.”3

Zappos decided early on to spend their time observing and tracking customer behavior with the on-going goal of creating more personal emotional connections with its customers. They put this dedication to customer service before any major marketing campaigns and it proved successful. Like Zappos, within your own queue, you can have the power to observe and track your customer’s behavior with queue analytics. Queue analytics technology can help determine how long is too long for customers to wait with measurements such as queue length, wait time, service rate and more. Additionally, if you have in-queue merchandising you have the opportunity to know how your customers shop and optimize your merchandising mix accordingly. Happy customers, happy employees, transparency, creativity, and meaningful analytics are just a few ways that major tech companies or retailers like Google and Zappos lead their industry. As you can see, taking a look outside of your industry to discover what others are doing successfully can be very beneficial to your own queue management.  

  1. "What Google’s Cafeterias Can Teach Us About School Lunches" – FastCoDesign.com, Apr 9, 2013.
  2. "What a Day at Google can Teach You About Business" – The Tennessean, Oct 5, 2014.
  3. "What Zappos Taught Us About Creating The Ultimate Client Experience" – Forbes.com, May 13, 2013

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