The #1 Customer Experience Killer in Your Queue (And How to Beat It)

March 16, 2016Perry Kuklin

Poor customer experiences contribute significantly to lost sales. And for many businesses, the queue can be the single most important aspect of the overall customer experience. When it comes to the queue, long wait times are a top customer experience killer. But what constitutes a long wait might surprise you. The answer requires you to answer a series of questions: do your customers feel like the wait is fair? Is it longer than they expected? Are you showing that you respect their time? Do they believe you are proactive in addressing longer-than-expected wait times? If they answer yes to these questions, your wait times might not be too long, no matter how long they actually are. But what if their answers are no? Suddenly every second seems to slowly tick by. Beat the “wait time” customer experience killer by taking measures to make sure the wait seems shorter, and actually is shorter. Here are some tips you can use:

Manage expectations

DFW-Case-StudyConsider this: known waits feel shorter than unknown waits. If you are trying to manage customer feelings towards waiting, one of the simplest things you can do is let them know how long they can expect to wait. Disney does this well with signage throughout the queue giving customers expected wait times along the way. The key to success here is predicting accurate wait time approximations. This can be done for any queue with technology that counts and tracks people as they enter, move through, and eventually exit the waiting line. Managing expectations requires accurate information to begin with.

Go with a single line queue

Research has proven that a single line, multi-server waiting system is faster than a multi-line approach. Actual average wait times decrease as the system facilitates faster service. In a single line, multi-server waiting system, if a slow-mover holds up a single point-of-transaction, the line continues to flow to the other service agents. No one individual will be affected directly by the hang up. A single line queue makes sense. It improves service efficiency, reduces actual average wait times, and contributes to an overall greater customer satisfaction rating.

Use a call-forward system

Electronic-Queuing-SolutionsStreamline your customer flow and increase service efficiency with a call-forward system. This simple automated technology is designed to work with your single line, multi-server strategy. When a customer approaches the front of the queue he does not necessarily know which of your service agents will be available next. With an electronic queuing call-forward system, visual displays and audible alerts assist your service agents in signaling this customer. It’s easy for customers to understand and allows agents to stay focused on providing service and making more efficient use of their time on the clock, instead of trying to flag down a confused guest.

Go virtual

The physical act of waiting wreaks havoc on perceived wait times which makes a strong case for doing away with standing in line altogether. This is done with virtual queuing. Customers are virtually placed in a queue and signaled when it’s their time for service via digital display, text messaging, or other mobile service. During the waiting period, customers are now free to wait where they want, not where they have to. Virtual queuing solves several challenges in the battle against the customer experience killer. It solves the challenge of efficiency by maximizing agent productivity and improving customer flow. It solves the challenge of customer satisfaction by enhancing the customer’s wait-time experience and also by reducing the perceived and actual time spent waiting. Are you ready to beat the #1 customer experience killer in your queue?

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