636780116349987354636780116349987354636780116349987354636780116349987354 Your Queue Management Strategy: A Self-Assessment

Your Queue Management Strategy: A Self-Assessment

June 07, 2018Perry Kuklin

An effective queue management strategy is proven to increase revenue, boost customer satisfaction, and influence worker productivity. Is your company reaping the rewards of a solid strategy? Or could it use some improvement?

To find out, here are 9 critical questions to ask yourself:

1. Can you accurately predict your busiest hours, days, and seasons?

At its most basic level, smart queue management goes back to the old adage, 'what is measured gets managed.' Luckily today affordable people counting solutions exist to capture all sorts of data about the number of customers entering and exiting your queues, wait times through the day, service allocation, and more. These numbers can be automatically analyzed and presented in ways that can help managers anticipate future trends, respond to the present, and just be smarter about their queuing strategies.

Which brings us to our next question:

2. At any given moment, do you have the right level of staffing to meet the needs of your customers?

Crowd volumes are almost always in flux. When you know the time of day and even the seasons when you can expect more foot traffic, you can plan accordingly. It is inefficient, for example, to have too many agents on the clock. Equally, not having enough agents can lead to a poor customer experience as customers struggle to get the help they need to make a purchase or receive a service. 

After identifying trends with footfall analytics, you can take it a step further to understand how best to allocate your workers and save resources while still delivering a great customer experience.

3. Do you know how your customers feel right now about your queues and service?

The best way to know how customers feel about your waiting experience is to ask them directly. Even better, is to be able to capture this information in real-time, analyze it in real-time, and send it to managers who can quickly address problems early-on. 

Capture customer feedback at kiosks or tablets right within the queue itself using real-time feedback mechanisms, such as digital surveys. A simple one-question survey is all you need to know if your customers are happy or dissatisfied with their waiting experience. Managers can be alerted and respond quickly if feedback turns negative.

4. Is there lag time between services?

Customers aren’t always attentive while in line, which can lead your employees to wave and holler while trying to get the attention of the next customer in line. Not only can this be embarrassing for your customers to discover they have been drifting off in thought while others are waiting, it also causes a costly and unnecessary lag in productivity. Call forward queuing and automated call forward systems can help you serve more people and reduce wait times by directing customers to an open station as soon as it becomes available. 

5. Are your queues being utilized evenly?

Do you have agents or cashiers in one part of your facility sitting idle while other queues are overflowing? If so, you probably should revisit your queuing approach to improve customer flow and utilization. Footfall analytics with integrated digital signage can automatically redirect customers to underutilized queues. 

6. Can customers shop while they wait?

Are you making the most of your customer’s time in store by allowing them to shop even while they wait? If you use a virtual queue, customers are able to shop until they’re called for service. 

If you do have a physical line, do you use in-queue merchandising for customers to continue to browse? Not only can in-queue merchandising keep customers engaged, it also can encourage impulse buying to drive sales.

7. Would you benefit from pre-scheduling services?

Does your company sell a personalized service that requires one-on-one attention? If so, waiting in line is not an ideal way to manage service appointments. Instead, let customers pre-schedule services to arrive just in time for their service. This can disperse crowds and enhance the customer experience by removing the wait and letting employees focus on giving each customer the attention they deserve.

There are many use cases for pre-scheduling, including for a personalized cosmetic service, the DMV, or university counselor appointments.

8. Can you deliver accurate wait times?

Customers like to know how long a wait will be. An accurate wait time is shown to make the queue experience more bearable. Are you able to provide accurate wait times to your customers? If not, consider integrating an intelligent queue analytics solution into your queue management strategy to accurately predict wait times.

9. Is agent productivity equal?

Does your queue layout feature several service stations? Is it important to you that agent productivity is evenly distributed? With queue analytics, you can track productivity across all stations and take action when needed. 

Looking at the data allows you to identify trends and pinpoint gaps that could be slowing down service. For example, it may be that agents at stations positioned furthest from a supervisor may be less productive due to lack of motivation or other reasons. Or, perhaps customers are not noticing that certain agents are available due to poor station visibility.

How does your company stack up? See the latest queue management solutions to make your queue strategy profitable, productive, and pleasant for your customers.

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