5 Benefits of Virtual Lines

Introduction

Technology has transformed the world and done things that were previously never imagined to be possible. We've invented the mobile phone, connecting ourselves to other people a world away instantly. We've created rocket ships that transport humans to outer space. Yet there are still problematic aspects of everyday life that we accept without realizing the revolutionary potential technology has for change. One of these aspects is the physical line.

Physical lines are accepted as a necessary part of everyday life. Whether you're at the doctor's office, the grocery store, the DMV, or even a university's academic advisement center, chances are you're in for a wait. According to Logistics at MGEPS, the average person spends six months of their lives standing around waiting for a product or service.

Luckily for consumers and companies, innovation has opened the door to a world where this doesn't have to be the case. A virtual queue management system can eliminate the need for physical lines and transform how people wait to receive products or services. This digital solution can transform the customer experience and empower a service provider to be more flexible.

A virtual queue is an online solution that lets customers check into a line remotely. They can enter a line using their cell phone simply by tapping check-in. From there, they can monitor wait times, communicate with staff, and wait for their appointment from wherever they want. A virtual queuing system creates a positive experience in place of the long, arduous lines customers have become all too familiar with.

A virtual queue can become a gamechanger for businesses. Software like QLess has been shown to reduce wait times by up to 97% and increase loyalty by up to 99%. Let's look at some of the unique benefits that virtual queue software provides.

 

Maximum Customer Convenience

One thing that technology has completely reshaped is consumers' expectations. People aren't just focused on receiving a product or service; they now expect to receive it quickly and in the most convenient way. If customers find that a business doesn't provide a convenient experience, there is an increased likelihood that they will move on and look elsewhere.

The customer experience is king in business right now, and there are several different aspects of that experience that companies need to key in on. One of the biggest is customer convenience. According to PwC, 73% of customers point to experience as an essential factor in their purchasing decision. 43% of consumers would be willing to pay more for a more convenient experience.

If a customer enters your business, whether a restaurant, educational institution, or medical office, and is faced with a long, impersonal line, there's no guarantee they'll stick around to see it through. According to Retail Customer Experience, 86% of US consumers have left a store due to long wait times in the last 12 months. This has cost businesses across the country billions in lost revenue.

What a virtual queue solution can do is make the waiting process drastically more convenient. Rather than make customers stand around in a physical queue, waiting line management software enables customers to enter lines from wherever they are. Customers can remotely check into a line, receive up-to-the-minute updates on the line's progress, and enter the store or office whenever it is time for their appointment. It is as if there is no actual line at all.

Software like QLess are customer service-oriented solutions that create a more convenient, customer-friendly waiting process. Customers wait from wherever they please, in an environment they choose, and don't have to spend time standing aimlessly in a crowd of strangers.

 

Increased Customer Retention

Many businesses are focused on customer acquisition. This is how a business grows and reaches new levels. But for that growth to actually mean something, customer retention is just as necessary. If a company is losing customers at the same rate they are acquiring, they are essentially just treading in place. Employing strategies designed to improve customer retention is crucial.

The data on the importance of customer retention makes it exceedingly clear just how seriously businesses need to take their retention strategies. According to HubSpot, acquiring a new customer is 6-7 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Businesses that increase their retention rates by 5% can see revenue increase between 25-95%.

A survey from Synqera revealed that 73% of customers state that waiting in line for check-out is their least favorite aspect of shopping. Removing something that is the least favorite aspect of shopping for nearly three-quarters of customers is a surefire way to improve your business's customer retention.

Virtual queue software programs have features designed to satisfy customers' demands. One of them is the call-back queuing feature. A call-back queuing feature will allow customers to enter a line virtually and then do whatever they please. The line will be managed by smart queue technology, and when it is the customer's turn, they'll receive a call on their personal phone when it is time for their appointment.

Customer retention is one of the vital components of a successful business in today's world of increased competition. In every industry, you are not your customers' only option. They have a choice; if you aren't implementing products that make their lives easier, they'll look elsewhere. A virtual queue app is a high-value solution with a long list of features designed to make the entire appointment process smooth and efficient.

two women near tables

 

Video Conferencing for Smooth Contact-Free Appointments

There was a time when every appointment would require a face-to-face meeting. This is no longer the case. We live in a world where a significant number of scheduled appointments will not require physical contact. However, even in these situations, a queue may be needed. Obviously, for a virtual appointment, a virtual queue is the answer. Finding a software solution that offers both queue management and video conferencing integration is a must.

Take, for example, the medical industry. According to the Toronto Star, doctor's virtual visits jumped by 5,600% during the pandemic. Even as we adjust to a world where pandemic restrictions have eased up, many doctor appointments remain online. Walk-in clinics, primary care facilities, and specialists all have to juggle a virtual calendar now, which can include quick changes and walk-ins. Virtual waiting room management software is a prime solution.

With software like QLess, people waiting for appointments can check into a virtual queue, receive updates on their wait time, and get sent a link to a video conference through Zoom or Microsoft Teams when their appointment is ready. This has multiple benefits. Customers can have increased clarity on their appointment waits, and businesses can know when customers are in-line and on time for appointments.

This isn't just useful in the medical industry. QLess' video conferencing virtual queue is a solution that will help business owners in a significant variety of industries. Video conferencing is also crucial in the education sector. A virtual queue system is one of the solutions that is improving the student experience for academic meetings at education institutions, where many campuses remain highly COVID-cautious. This can help with advisory meetings or office hours and simplifies student communications to faculty.

Video meetings are not going away in the post-pandemic world. The convenience and simplicity are too valuable to all parties involved. With QLess, there is a solution integrated with the two primary video conferencing platforms that simplifies and organizes a virtual queue.

 

Easily Collect High-Value Data

Improvement is a long-term project for most businesses and is never a straightforward, simple path. It is never easy to identify flaws in an operation that needs addressing because, most of the time, these are hidden and difficult to spot. One of the biggest assets businesses have to address their issues is data. Data allows enterprises to spot flaws in their processes and implement changes that solve them. However, many businesses struggle to collect straightforward and insightful data.

According to Dataprot, companies with CEOs that make data-driven decisions are 77% more likely to succeed than ones that don't. Yet despite this, only 26.5% of enterprises state they've created a data-driven organization. The biggest reason for this is likely that tools that provide useful business intelligence are hard to find. That is where a virtual queue app can be of assistance.

A virtual queue system can offer insights into your business in various areas where collecting data would've been incredibly difficult. QLess has business intelligence features that show businesses data on things like their median wait time, no-show percentage, and transaction time. This data is presented in visual formats like charts and graphs, so it is easy to spot micro-trends. It can also be segmented according to time of day, day of the week, appointment type, and the employee working the appointment.

QLess automatically collects this data and presents it in an easily digestible way. There is a lot of value in this for businesses of every kind. It allows them to spot bottlenecks they may have been unable to see before and implement necessary changes to address them. Many enterprises have built their entire business cultures leveraging data to address key issues. With virtual queue software, you can spot the issues causing long lines or an abundance of appointment no-shows and implement the necessary changes to correct them.

person using MacBook Pro

 

Improve the Employee Experience

Focusing on the customer experience is critical. That's why enterprises worldwide invest so much into initiatives that drive growth in this area. But one thing that also can't be ignored is the value of the employee experience. Employees are incredibly important, and every business invests in their success through training and development. Providing a suboptimal employee experience increases the likelihood of employees leaving and businesses having to invest again.

Engaged and satisfied employees are significantly better assets to the businesses they represent. According to Gallup's research, companies with a highly engaged workforce outperform their peers by 147%. The happier employees are, the likelier they are to stay, and the less businesses will have to spend on training. According to Tech Target, 60% of employees say well-being enhances their retention, and 61% say it improves their productivity.

Implementing tools that will lighten the workload for your employees is critical. A queue management software does this. Virtual lines are organized, can be adjusted, and help employees streamline their workflows. With easy-to-use tools, employees can structure the line into different categories, organizing it according to the appointment type or employee they are meeting with. This saves a lot of work. Employees can also collect information before the start of the appointment to move things along faster.

Another upside of virtual queue management solutions is that it improves the mood of the customers employees are interacting with. After a long line, people tend to be irritated, curt, and moody. Front-line employees are often the ones that have to deal with this. The general mood of customers will significantly improve if they are waiting in a virtual queue rather than a real one.

With a more structured workflow and positive customer interactions, your employees' lives will be much easier. This will increase their job satisfaction and lead to enhanced productivity.

 

Transparency and Communication

For most businesses, customer communications are quite limited. That is because it is incredibly hard to maintain open communication with a large number of individuals. However, the importance of transparency and communication can't be ignored. Part of what is so dissatisfying about being in a line is that it is inherently not a communicative or transparent experience. Customers stand around, waiting their turn, with no clear end in sight.

Communication is one of the most significant parts of good customer service. Whether through phone calls, chat messages, or emails, customers want to have their questions answered and their needs addressed. Providing the channels for them to communicate is crucial. Transparency is similarly vital. Being left in the dark leaves customers feeling disengaged and unwanted. That has a defined impact on retention.

Implementing a virtual queue is a way for businesses to enhance transparency and communication. The transparency aspect is simple. A virtual line provides customers with a defined wait time rather than some unknown wait. There is added clarity on what is going on, as customers can view the line, monitor the wait times, and track how quickly appointments are going. This makes it a much more transparent and open process.

For communication, bi-directional communication features enable businesses to message back and forth via a chat feature on a customer's mobile device. Customers can simply message through the chat feature if they need to add context to their appointment and provide updates. If a customer isn't present at the time of their appointment, employees can check in, learn the ETA of the customer, and adjust the line accordingly. The smooth communication benefits all parties involved.

Every customer wants an easier communication process and more transparency from the businesses they frequent. It adds to the feeling of a personalized experience, which is what the average consumer desires. According to Startup Bonsai, 71% of customers are frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences. A virtual queue solution allows businesses to easily message back and forth with their customers while providing a transparent waiting experience. This creates a more personalized, communicative relationship between enterprise and customer.

 

Reduce Physical Congestion

Long physical queues are agitating and always have been. But in the age of social distancing and airborne contagions, they take on a slightly more ominous feel. While many of the restrictions from the pandemic have been dropped and the world has returned to normal, implementing changes that can cut back on physical congestion is never a bad idea. Not only does removing physical congestion improve the accessibility of your store or office, but it also makes it a safer place to be.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 8.1% of US adults reported anxiety symptoms in 2019, before the pandemic. That number has skyrocketed ever since. According to Statista, as of July 2022, that number is at 28.9%. This is down substantially from the pandemic's peak when rates hit 37%, but it is still an incredibly high rate. Many people are still dealing with the mental toll the pandemic took.

A large crowd in a store or office can be daunting for people with residual pandemic anxiety. Physical congestion is looked at as a cost of doing business by most companies, but virtual queuing is a way to limit the congestion in indoor environments. Businesses will find that by doing this, their customers are more at ease. Reducing congestion will also help businesses appeal to more consumers.

A virtual queue makes it so customers don't need to enter your establishment to wait for a product or service. Rather than standing around in a tightly bunched group of fellow customers, they can simply enter the line from their cell phone, monitor the wait in real time, and enter the building when it is their turn for an appointment. The physical component of the line is eliminated.

Anxiety is still rampant following a period unlike anything the modern world has seen before. Physical congestion in your store can add to this anxiety. Adding a feature that eliminates the congestion will lead to happier customers and better business outcomes.

people queuing beside Louis Vuitton store

 

Cut Back on Missed Appointment

Every business that relies on appointments is familiar with the nuisance that is a missed appointment. Staff block off parts of their days, wait for customers to show up, and they never do. This is a wasted opportunity that results in lost earnings for a business. It also will throw a lineup into flux as staff waits for a customer to arrive that never does. Missed appointments are a serious issue that appointment-based businesses need to combat.

The medical industry is one example of an industry where no-shows aren't just a minor concern but an endemic problem. According to Intrado, missed appointments are costing the healthcare industry in the United States $150 billion, with each no-show costing physicians, on average, a loss of $200. This is a genuine crisis, but most operations feel there is not much they can do about it.

Queue management software is a way to directly impact this issue because it empowers businesses with both communication and line management features. The communication features are a significant aspect in stopping no-shows, while the line management features help businesses bounce back faster.

Communicating with your customer on the day of their appointment will help businesses know whether they intend to show up or not. With QLess, businesses can send their customers an appointment reminder message early in the day and a customized chat directly to their personal device if they are running late. Enterprises can communicate with their customers back and forth in a more seamless way than email and in a less invasive way than a phone call.

The flexible line management allows staff to move the line around if customers are late or not showing up. These easy-to-use features don't require specific digital skills but are highly effective ways of mitigating the impact of a late customer or a no-show. Staff can simply move the customer out of the virtual queue and move up other customers or implement walk-ins with a hybrid queue to replace the customer no-show.

 

Conclusion

Physical queues are a nuisance. Nobody enjoys standing in a long, crowded line with an unknown wait time. It is a feeling that leaves people disenfranchised with the business and threatens customer retention. Luckily, technology has created a world where physical queues aren't necessary. An enterprise virtual queue management system can help businesses eliminate the need for an in-person wait.

There are a lot of upsides to a virtual queue. It is convenient for customers, improves the employee experience, makes collecting high-quality data on key processes easy, and cuts back on physical congestion. Every business is looking for a way to differentiate itself from the competition and gain the trust and loyalty of customers. A virtual queue management system is a customer-friendly solution that has the potential to significantly improve how a business performs.