Your customer experience (CX) is defined by the entire series of touch points leading up to and following your sales or service encounter. A positive experience can be the difference between raving reviews and repeat visits. When designing your CX, one area that is easy to overlook is the waiting experience. Though inevitable in many cases, waiting in line can be a defining moment as to whether or not customers walk away happy and satisfied.
How can you incorporate queue management into the design of your customer journey to create a positive CX? Here are some ideas.
How you decide to structure your waiting line will shape the customer experience in terms of speed, productivity, and enjoyment. The right structure for each queue--whether a single line queue, a multiple-line queue, or a virtual queue--will differ based on its purpose.
In some cases, such as in a customer service area, a single line queue coupled with a call-forward queuing system might be the best solution for increasing customer throughput. In other cases, such as waiting for a dressing room in a retail store, virtual queuing may be optimal at dispersing crowds yet keeping customers informed about when it is their turn to be served.
How your customers feel about the wait can be more important than the actual wait itself. A heavily-researched area around the psychology of waiting is the difference between known wait time estimates and unknown wait times. It turns out, simply being told how long the wait will be significantly improves the CX for customers and can actually help the wait feel shorter than it is.
One solution to address the psychology of waiting is with a mobile-enable queue. Here, you can use texting or a mobile app to inform customers of their place in line. In doing so, you can communicate the expected wait time and alert the customer when you are ready to serve them.
If you rely on negative customer feedback to learn about an issue, it might already be too late to salvage the situation. Instead, you can adopt a more proactive queue management approach that can help you head off problems before they impact the customer experience.
One way to accomplish this is through real-time queue analytics with alerts. Here, you can identify what length wait time is acceptable and program that threshold into a system that will alert you when you’re at risk of jeopardizing the CX. With these alerts, you can proactively address issues before they impact customers and learn from historical data to stay ahead of customer demands.
Jeff Bezos once remarked, “Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.” How can you use these ideas to up the CX in your queue design?