The start of a new year is a natural time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re headed. At Lavi, we of course turn our thoughts to the world of public guidance – the affirmative term we’ve coined to represent queue management, customer flow, and crowd control. As we strive to help our customers remain ahead of the game in creating safe and positive customer experiences, we anticipate these top 5 public guidance trends (in no particular order) for 2013:
Increasing customer engagement has become a focus of retailers and many other businesses in recent years as it is proven that the presence of a highly engaged customer base delivers measurable business results. Customer engagement will be increasingly important in 2013 as more businesses look for ways other than price-cutting to increase market share. The creation of powerful media messages storewide – not just in the waiting line – can increase impulse sales and maintain happy and calm customers by keeping them busy and engaged, thereby reducing the all-important perceived wait.
Believe it or not, 90 percent of all purchasing decisions still occur in brick-and-mortar stores. But competition for customers’ hearts and wallets is fierce, particularly with online retailers and discounters, so it has never been more important to gain insight into the customer shopping experience. This need for information has resulted in the trend of relying on 3-D video analytics technology to monitor the checkout line experience. Closed loop video installed throughout a store allows businesses to measure, monitor, and predict customers’ in-store behaviors. The resulting data can be used to optimize store operations and resources to meet service level goals, for example, serving 85 percent of customers within two minutes.
Considering the risks of losing customers due to a negative waiting line experience, many companies will opt to get rid of the waiting line altogether. At restaurants, retailers, banks, and just about anywhere customers must wait, there exists an opportunity to replace a physical waiting line with a virtual one. Only now, instead of checking in at a kiosk and waiting in close proximity for their number to be called, customers can check in and venture off around the mall, down the street, to pick up their kids, whatever, and receive a text message when it’s nearing their turn to be served. Freeing people from the “torture” of waiting is a trend that has solidly arrived.
Electronic queuing systems are getting smarter and, as a result, companies who utilize these systems to improve queue management are reaping the benefits of shorter wait times, higher productivity, and happier customers. Electronic queuing solutions facilitate waiting line systems by enforcing fair wait times and efficiently moving people to open service points. Cloud-based software allows for quicker implementation and less need for infrastructure management. Features such as conditional formatting alerts agents to customers waiting longer than expected and other features give agents authority to transfer customers to other services with the touch of a button.
Digital signage is an effective, flexible, and highly customizable means of communication that has been embraced by companies big and small in industries ranging from retail to healthcare. It can be as complex as 3-D and interactive media or as simple as static images displayed on a screen. The increasing fascination with digital signage comes from its inherent ability to capture attention and alter customer behavior. After all, we live in a culture where the presence of a screen is incredibly persuasive and pervasive. People now more than ever are constantly firing on all synapses by talking, texting, or web surfing on their smartphone. Digital signage can be powerful enough to tear customers away from their typical handheld diversions. If you need assistance in determining how these trends could impact your business, and what implementation would be best for your bottom line and customer retention, contact a Lavi expert today.