6 Ways Queue Management will Change in 2016

January 04, 2016Perry Kuklin

As 2015 wraps up, the future of queuing is upon us. This year, queue management strategies furthered the customer experience, facilitated data collection, and allowed for overall better management of the queue. Looking ahead, we expect to see even more improvements. Here are 6 ways we believe queue management will change in 2016:

1. It will become more intelligent

Queue management technology will work smarter to help businesses better predict and respond to customer flow in two parts:

  • Real-time monitoring will facilitate timely responses to changes in the queue on a day-to-day, even hour-to-hour, basis
  • The collection of relevant data points will support accurate predictions of wait times and service loads for any given day, week, month or season

2. It will become more customer-focused

Retailers and service providers realize the customer experience does not end until the individual completes his or her transaction and exits the store. As every aspect of the customer experience comes into focus, the queue will get reevaluated. It is no longer a mere logistical exercise or simple business necessity. A customer-focused approach to queue building will include:

  • Unexpected additions that promote entertainment and a joyful atmosphere including music, digital displays, text-based wait time updates, and virtual queuing
  • Customer satisfaction will be assessed through various feedback mechanisms
  • Evaluating the waiting line’s overall success will be weighted heavily on the customer experience

3. It will become mobilized

Queuing in the palm of your hand – customers will control their queue via their held hand devices. Businesses will look for ways to help customers reserve a place in line, change their request if they need more time, and gain the ability to wait for service where they desire instead of being forced into an unescapable line.

4. It will become more transparent

In 2016, a greater number of queue managers will gain access to affordable technology used to accurately track and predict wait times. Publishing these estimated wait times in the queue is where their true value will be realized. By communicating with the customer, businesses will set expectations, build trust and foster an easier waiting period. Customers not only appreciate being in the know, but these known waits can actually feel shorter.

5. It will become more unexpected

Customers expect to wait in line for service. However, businesses will be entertaining options that create something new out of the typical stand-and-wait approach to queuing. Disorderly points of service, such as fitting rooms, seem to be an afterthought in favor of checkout lines and customer service desks, but these points of service are prime spaces to implement the unexpected. Look for powerhouse queue management tactics such as digital signage to broadcast entertaining and informational videos and the elimination of the waiting line altogether with a virtual queue that allows shoppers to continue browsing the nearby sales racks.

6. It will become more integrated

The queue is not a standalone process. It must seamlessly work alongside and with other business channels and processes. As this concept is recognized you will see:

  • Cross-channel integration such as expanded online ordering options with in-store pick-up, returns and exchanges
  • Business intelligence integration. For example, airlines will use weather and flight arrival information to more accurately predict passenger service loads and wait times at targeted points of service
  • Process integration to collect more accurate data points. Store entrance and exit statistics can be compared to POS data and queue metrics to deliver more precise conversion and abandonment rates

As queuing continues to evolve and is viewed more and more as an integral part of the customer experience, you will find enriched technologies and updated strategies that foster stimulating ways to entertain your waiting customers while improving your bottom line. How will you use improved queue management in 2016?

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