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