How to Create Customer Joy with a Virtual Queue

November 01, 2012Perry Kuklin

virtual queuing system

Philosopher and social critic Bertrand Russell once said, “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” However, let’s face it, no one likes to feel as though they’re wasting precious time by waiting in line. In fact, a highly regarded British paper from the International Journal of Service Industry Management examined how best to manage perceptions of waiting times in service queues, and found that over 70 percent of all service customers were clearly concerned about waiting times. But spending time in a queue is inevitable. Since the people who have to stand in line can’t do much about altering their experience, you as a business owner can influence their perception and their reality. Customer satisfaction (and business reputation) can be easily tarnished during the downtime of waiting in a queue. It’s incredibly important to find ways to make those minutes happier for your customers. A virtual queue – in which a waiting line is eliminated altogether – can reduce actual wait times and change the perception of the waiting experience. Chances are good that this queue configuration can be a successful choice for your business.

The Reality of Waiting in Line

Improving service efficiency is a sure way to reduce the actual time customers spend waiting. There are many ways to accomplish this, but virtual queuing is one of the most powerful methods. A virtual queuing system maximizes customer flow and manages agent efficiency. The wait in a virtual queue creates a sense of equality – there is no worrying that the line next to yours is moving faster, or that one service agent is more efficient than another, or that you’ve chosen the “wrong” line in which to stand. Everyone is on the same playing field, and a virtual queue ensures that the next person in the virtual queue is served promptly when the service agent calls them to their station directly.

The Perception of Waiting in Line

Study after study has proven that an individual’s perception of a product or service matters more than its reality (e.g., Is Jif really better than generic peanut butter?). In fact, each person's “perception” is their “reality.” Those in charge of managing the queuing experience are wise to focus attention on those factors that influence perception. In the same British study, it was reported that people overestimate the time they actually spend waiting by 25 percent. A virtual queuing system frees customers from the actual act of waiting in a line, thereby influencing the perception of the wait. Giving people the opportunity to shop more (which increases impulse purchases), sit and relax, or get other things done while they wait their turn dramatically reduces perceived wait times. While the virtual queue option disperses waiting crowds, it also creates a pleasant environment through effective digital signage. Persuasive promotional stills, informative videos, or just plain entertainment all keep customers busy, distracted, and feeling like their wait is shorter than it actually is. Solo waiting feels longer than group waiting. In a virtual situation, everyone is in it together. Need help figuring out if your enterprise could benefit from a virtual queue? Contact a Lavi expert for more information.

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