Queue management has evolved to account for the high premium placed on an exceptional customer experience throughout the entire customer journey. Today’s customers have come to expect shorter, faster, and more enjoyable waiting lines. The processes to deliver this have become quite sophisticated. And in the next five years, we expect to see a surge in the use of technology to take the queuing experience even further. We expect to see technology play a role across many areas of queuing:
Queue monitoring has come a long way from manual people counting. Companies will increasingly turn to technology to accurately measure the length of the queue, average wait times, fluctuations in the queue over time, and other KPIs for improved decision-making capabilities. Data will be delivered in real-time to managers through rich dashboards and mobile alerts to allow managers to quickly solve problems in the queue before they negatively impact the customer experience. Predicting wait times and customer flow will help businesses fine tune operational challenges such as service allocation and load balancing, and will have a big impact on the customer experience.
Merchandising in the retail queue is an accepted strategy to increase sales per square foot while keeping waiting customers occupied. However, its effectiveness can be dramatically increased through the use of technology. The near future is likely to see an increased usage of digital signage for optimal placement of advertising and promotions to highlight product features, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive impulse sales by capitalizing on the customers’ “I want that product” feeling on the spot.
Ultimately, we believe the increased use of technology in the queue will translate into improved customer satisfaction for the growing base of sophisticated consumers. Many businesses are already adopting mobile technology such as smartphone applications to transform the brick-and-mortar experience. From personalized recommendations based on previous purchases and shopping lists to providing easily accessible advice or important notifications, businesses are putting the power of information directly into their consumers’ hands. Informed decisions are being made on the spot with the ability to scan bar codes, compare prices, or check flight times without leaving the business. These same mobile applications are integrating into the queuing process. More and more businesses will continue to increase their communication with customers and provide them an optimal queuing experience complete with estimated wait times, a system to reserve places in line before physically approaching the queue, the ability to reschedule a service if more time is needed, and of course a virtually endless supply of entertainment options to keep your waiting customers occupied. Whether you choose to increase the value of your queue with digital displays or incorporate handheld entertainment and efficiency via mobile application, technology will prove to increase consumer flexibility, power, and gratification across all facets of the queuing experience. How will you capitalize on the developing technology trends in queuing over the next five years?