Creating a Better Waiting Room with No Wait Apps and Virtual Waiting

Introduction

There aren't many people that are fond of waiting rooms. Whether in the doctor's office, DMV, or retail store, the feeling of sitting in a packed room with fluorescent lightbulbs and old magazines doesn't cause excitement. Most sit and use their mobile device, constantly check the clock, and grow agitated as they wait for their appointment to begin.Some businesses try and improve the waiting room experience by adding things. These include more comfortable seating, Nespresso machines, and TVs playing the news on a muted volume. But this isn't what your customers want. In an ideal world, your customers want to spend the least amount of time possible in the waiting room. They don't want better coffee or more recent magazines. They want to be in and out. For many businesses, while their goal is to fulfill their customers' desires, clearing the waiting room is difficult.The solution to a better waiting room customer experience lies in limiting the time customers need to spend in the waiting room. Even if demand is high, businesses can de-congest their waiting room by implementing a no-wait app into their digital infrastructure. A no-wait app is virtual queue software that completely removes the need for in-person waits. Customers use their cell phone to check in for their appointment, monitor the actual wait time with up-to-the-minute updates from the app, and arrive at the physical location when it is time for their appointment to begin.QLess is the name to know for no-wait apps and queue line management software. It enables businesses in industries ranging from education and healthcare to retail and government to transform their waiting room experience. The no-wait app has an array of features that will make waiting for an appointment a drastically improved process. Let's explore how no-wait apps and virtual waiting can give businesses a smart solution that streamlines how customers wait.

Enable Customers to Wait Where They Please

This software's obvious advantage is that it gives your customers the gift of convenience. No one is particularly happy spending extended periods in waiting rooms, and with a waitlist app, businesses can remove this negative experience. Your customers can check into their appointment from their homes, workplace, local cafes, or anywhere they please. They can receive live updates on the actual wait time and then enter the business only when their appointment is set to begin. This empowers your customer and opens the door to a drastically more convenient waiting process.The modern consumer places convenience incredibly high on their priority list. They want easy access and more control over their shopping and appointment processes. According to Pollfish, 52% of customers say that half or more than half of their purchases are determined by convenience, and 97% of customers have abandoned a purchase because it wasn't convenient for them. There is a level of ease that customers now expect from businesses, and that trend is only increasing. According to Nasdaq, 83% of customers in a survey said that convenience while shopping is more important now than it was five years ago.Some things that define convenience are speed, ease of access, and choice. QLess helps significantly in these regards. Customers have a heightened ability to determine where and how they wait. If you like waiting rooms and prefer to sit before your appointments, power to you! You still can with this app. But if you want to have a coffee and get work done down the street at a coffee shop, you can also do that and have complete confidence that you won't miss your appointment.There is also the fact that QLess helps reduce wait times. The virtual queue system streamlines customer flow so that there are fewer interruptions, and the automation ability of the line system eliminates human error in organization. This has led to waiting times for businesses that implement the QLess system being reduced by up to 97%.

A Safer Waiting Room

Businesses have been forced to consider many different things in all the changes brought on by the pandemic. For the retail industry, the competition with e-commerce has intensified. The burden of handling a global pandemic has been significant for the medical industry. At DMVs and other government offices, backlogs have been a serious concern. Among all these considerations, safety concerns have also been prominent. Even as the pandemic has slowed down, many businesses are dealing with the aftershocks and should look to make their waiting rooms a safer place.With the pandemic came heightened anxiety about crowds, which isn't going to change in the near future. According to a recent Axios-Ipsos poll, 56% of Americans say they are still concerned about the pandemic. Only 46% of people surveyed stated they've fully returned to their pre-pandemic lifestyle. The pandemic was a scary time, stirring up strong feelings of anxiety in many people, and it takes time to recover from that. The waiting room is associated with that anxiety.QLess surveyed 250 adults in the United States to get their perspective on crowds in waiting rooms, and 59.4% agreed that they associate congested waiting areas with unsafe conditions. If businesses want to ensure that their customers feel safe while waiting for appointments, they must de-congest the waiting room.QLess makes it so customers have complete control over their waiting room times. If they are concerned about being in a congested room, they don't have to be in the room. A large share of customers will not enter waiting rooms until right before their appointments begin, so the large crowds of tightly bunched customers will diminish. After more than two years of a significant pandemic, it is only natural for people to have concerns about crowds. Whether healthcare providers or retailers, businesses should address those concerns with a high-quality digital queue management system.

Ask Your Customers What They Think

In every industry, a pronounced advantage comes from understanding what your customers think of you. The more aware you are of how your customer feels about your business, the better you can cater your offerings to meet their needs. Collecting information from your customers not only helps businesses gain a higher level of understanding of what they need to improve but also helps as an engagement tool. Customers want to feel like their opinions matter, and implementing their feedback will help businesses improve the customer experience.Customer feedback can help businesses understand their customers' frustrations more deeply. One customer saying they were dissatisfied with a service is one thing, but if you receive feedback from 50 customers that they were dissatisfied with a specific element of your service, that is important data that should guide your decision-making. If customers are continually complaining about your waiting room, then it should become clear your waiting room needs to change. But to get that feedback, you need a tool for collecting it.The QLess customer feedback features enable businesses to collect and store feedback from their customers. Since customers will have the QLess no-wait app on their smart phone, they'll receive a pulse notification when the appointment is done. This survey can be customized according to the businesses' preferences and will enable them to collect information from their customers. If your survey is well-crafted and asks the right questions, customers are far likelier to answer. According to InMoment, response rates soar by 85% when customers are motivated and the survey is well-executed. Timeliness is also a factor.Soliciting customer feedback will help uncover things you might not have been able to otherwise. According to Help Scout, businesses only hear from 4% of their dissatisfied customers. Going directly to your customers will help businesses gain the information they need to improve the waiting and overall customer experience.

Reviews That Help You Stand Out

Private feedback from your customers helps you make decisions. Your customers' public feedback helps others make their decisions about your enterprise. Both are important. Public feedback, like Google or Yelp reviews, serves as the first impression most businesses get to make. Good reviews significantly impact customers' decisions. According to Invesp, customers are willing to spend 31% more on businesses with excellent reviews.Receiving a high volume of great reviews requires businesses to provide an excellent customer experience and solicit public feedback. QLess helps with both of these things. Eliminating the waiting room is an impactful way to improve the customer experience and stand out from the competition. While competitors make customers wait in crowded waiting rooms, businesses that utilize QLess stand out to customers by accommodating their desire for convenience. That is why QLess has been found to improve customer satisfaction rates by up to 100% in the retail industry. More satisfied customers mean better reviews.The second part of ensuring a high volume of positive reviews is inciting your customers to post them. Those same customer feedback features we mentioned allow businesses to do this. They can send links to Google Review and Yelp pages after every appointment or transaction to try and direct customers to post reviews. This is important because people want to see businesses with a significant number of ratings. According to G2, customers expect a business to have at least 40 reviews before they believe their star rating.Asking your customers to review you is a simple solution to drive more reviews, which many businesses ignore. According to BrightLocal, 68% of consumers have left a review because they were asked to. QLess improves the waiting experience and enables businesses to request public feedback at scale. This will lead to a higher volume of positive customer reviews.

Improved Pre-and-Post Appointment Digital Communication

Waiting rooms can feel like a deeply impersonal experience. Customers enter your business, sit down, and watch the clock until their name is called. Sometimes, they are occupied with forms, magazines, or television, but for the most part, there isn't a lot of communication between the business and the customer. This reflects many businesses' tendency to limit the amount of back-and-forth between staff and customers. But customer communication is incredibly important and should be emphasized across industries.Personalized communication with many people requires a tool capable of simplifying that process without the need for a major time investment from staff. QLess has bi-directional communication features that will improve staff and customers' ability to dialogue. Staff can respond to customer queries, send mass messages to entire waiting rooms, and gather information from customers before their appointment begins. Customers can message staff regarding extended waits, ask questions about the appointment, and feel like their waiting experience was more personal.The communication features also are important as appointment reminders. Missed appointments are a problem in many different industries. For example, missed appointments are estimated to have cost medical professionals and the healthcare industry $150 billion annually in the United States. But with an improved appointment reminder system, this problem can be solved. QLess' communication features allow businesses to schedule a visual notification sent via SMS to customers in the days leading up to appointments. They can request confirmation to ensure they are blocking off time for a customer that will actually arrive.Having better communication with your customers can pay off in many ways. For starters, it makes waiting during the pre-appointment process more palatable. The experience doesn't feel impersonal, and customers will like that staff is accessible. It will also help businesses to ensure transparency with customers. They can remind them of appointments and ask for information before the appointment. It will lead to a smoother customer experience and better results for enterprises.

Data Insights That Improve the Customer Experience

It is hard to quantify and collect metrics that sum up how your customers experience the waiting room. If you are not using a no-wait app and visitor management solution, there may be no real way to collect this information. However, businesses must find a way to access data into the customer experience because the value this kind of information provides can help them streamline bottlenecks and ensure they are operating effectively.QLess comes equipped with business intelligence features that remove the difficulty of collecting data on your processes. Because the no-wait app allows customers to check in for appointments, it can track a range of important information. Businesses can monitor the median time customers spend waiting, the number of customers served through the virtual line in a day, the appointment no-show percentage, and more. These metrics can then be shown according to appointment type, time of day, day of the week, and the employee who handled the appointment.These metrics give businesses much-needed insights into how their waiting room and pre-appointment processes perform. If they note that customers are spending extra time waiting on certain days or for certain appointment types, that is important information to be aware of. Once you know where your waiting room is failing, you can start to implement tweaks that change that. While QLess helps make waiting rooms more efficient, there are still changes businesses can make if they notice specific bottlenecks.Business intelligence helps businesses make better decisions, and QLess empowers enterprises with clear, objective information. The high-quality reporting of the business intelligence features ensures no confusion. With charts and graphs that can show deviations and indicate trends, even businesses that aren't experienced in analytics can extrapolate important findings. Knowing your flaws is the first step to addressing them, and QLess provides data and reporting tools that give businesses insights into how they can improve their customers' waiting room experience.

Simplified Waiting Room Management

Overseeing a waiting room is a difficult task for staff. Regardless of industry, it is a process that requires patience, significant organization skills, and the ability to handle stressed-out and impatient customers. Few waiting room and front desk staff would object to a tool that makes their job significantly easier without the need for increased labor or a steep learning curve. This is what the flexible calendar features of a customer journey management software like QLess can provide.QLess provides a digital calendar that allows businesses to control their appointment calendars to ensure customer flow is as smooth as possible. This feature shows the entire day, week, or month of appointments in a color-coded calendar that can be organized according to appointment type or staff handling the appointment. What is great about this calendar is that it can be accessed by the entire team to increase visibility and clarity, and it has flexible automation features that allow enterprises to adjust on the fly.The calendar management features allow businesses to blend appointments and walk-ins. They can prioritize customers that have appointments, add the walk-in customer to the line, and QLess will control the rest. As well, these features enable businesses to adjust quickly to the changes that are inevitable when running an appointment-based business. If a customer is running late and messages staff on the app, staff can simply move them back a spot in the virtual line. If a customer is late, staff can set a time limit for lateness on the virtual line, and customers that exceed that limit will automatically be removed.The benefits of the flexible calendar management features apply to both customers and staff. Staff have a tool that makes their jobs easier, increases the visibility of their day-to-day, and can adjust to change on the fly. Customers benefit from a more efficient waiting room with smoother customer flow. It is a win-win for both sides.

man sitting on gang chair

Flexible Across Industries

Waiting rooms aren't limited to a specific industry. You may find a waiting room at your local car dealership or Apple Store. You will certainly find one at a hospital or DMV office. If waiting rooms aren't limited to a specific industry, the solutions used to improve them shouldn't be either. One important component of the QLess software is that it is agile and designed to streamline the waiting room experience in various industries. That is why QLess has positively impacted organizations in sectors ranging from healthcare to education.QLess for healthcare has transformed patient experiences in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices worldwide. Long waits are a huge problem in the healthcare industry, and crowded waiting rooms exacerbate that problem, particularly when many have potentially contagious medical conditions. QLess has helped reduce the number of patients in a waiting room by 35% and improve operational efficiency by 90%.In the government industry, where offices like the DMV are widely known for excruciating waiting rooms, QLess has similarly cut wait times and improved staff productivity. The QLess software also has different features that make it stand out more in specific industries. For the government sector, it has integrations with existing infrastructure like .gov websites, so it is easy to implement the software and start clearing out waiting rooms.QLess has also been used in the logistics, events, and retail industries. For any business where waits are a problem, and customer dissatisfaction is a concern, QLess is an answer. The flexible features make it broadly applicable to serve a range of purposes.

Conclusion

Customers hate waiting; that is a simple fact of life. According to a QLess survey of 250 US adults, 69% of respondents said they would frequent a competitor's business if it had notably shorter wait times, and 74% said they'd abandoned an appointment or purchase because it had long wait times. Waits are necessary for business, but not all waits are created equal. Sitting in a congested, sterile waiting room is a surefire way to leave customers dissatisfied with their experience.QLess provides a solution that can transform the waiting room. The no-wait app with virtual queue software allows customers to check into a virtual line, receive up-to-the-minute updates on their wait times, and enter the business only when their appointment is set to begin. This eliminates the need for time spent leafing through magazines in an uncomfortable chair and ensures a happier customer.The QLess software is a flexible solution that can function in various industries. Not only does it de-congest the waiting room, but it helps with data collection, communication, and calendar management. With the QLess no-wait app, businesses can create the waiting experience their customers deserve.