How a Phone Queue System Can Improve the Entire Customer Journey

Introduction

The customer journey is meant to be smooth and friction-free. In an ideal world, customers will enter your store or office, acquire the needed product or service, pay, and leave happy. The reality of the typical customer experience doesn't always reflect this ideal situation. There are often bottlenecks that impact the journey, causing customer frustration and negatively impacting efficiency. One of these core bottlenecks is a long wait.Long waits are something nearly every customer dislikes. Walking into a crowded waiting room or a long line and slowly counting the minutes as the line moves forward is an objectively unenjoyable experience. According to a QLess survey of 250 US adults aged 25+, 60.5% of customers have left a business because of a long queue, and either gone elsewhere or never returned. 69% of customers would patronize a competitor if they knew it had shorter waits.Customers are impatient about waits, and while businesses try to improve their waiting rooms with magazines or better chairs, this solution might not have the results they hope. There is more to the waiting experience that agitates the average customer, and businesses should consider implementing solutions with a more significant impact.One of the ways an enterprise can combat the poor customer experience caused by long waits is by implementing a phone queue system. These are virtual queues that customers can check into on their phones to eliminate the need for in-person waits. QLess is a phone queue system with a wide range of features that are intended to transform the customer journey, creating a seamless, more transparent, and enjoyable process. With usage in industries ranging from government offices to retail, this phone queue system can change the line experience forever.Before diving into their impact on the customer journey, let's look at how phone queue systems work.

How Does a Phone Queue System Work?

Phone queue systems are easy-to-use for customers and don't require much work to implement for businesses. They are a straightforward solution to the problem of long queues and difficult in-person physical waits. Essentially, how it works is that customers can enter lines with the tap of a button. Using the QLess queue management software, your customer will tap to check into a line or appointment and virtually be entered into the line. They can monitor the wait time through their phone and keep track of the line as it moves. Then, when their appointment is set to begin, they can enter and receive service.A phone queue system improves businesses' customer flow by organizing their lines for them. The QLess line management system manages the line according to the appointment time, appointment type, and the employee servicing the appointment. It can also blend that line with walk-ins, automating the lineup according to pre-set preferences. This ensures that everything moves smoothly for businesses and customers, with a seamless flow that doesn't require the same level of oversight from staff.This customer journey management solution works through the phone, as customers can check in and out of lines, message staff, and monitor wait times through an app or website. The QLess software has been found to reduce wait times by up to 97% and boost staff productivity by up to 90%. The calendar management features and line automation combine to make frontline staff's jobs easier and the wait for customers significantly faster.The benefits of a phone queue system are significant, impacting several core areas of an enterprise. Let's delve into how these flexible solutions manage to transform the customer journey for the better.

Allow Customers to Wait Their Way

There are many things that the average consumer is looking for. In today's world, where ease of access is a priority, one of the most essential things is convenience. Customers don't want to shop with businesses that inconvenience them, and they respect nearly every product or service they purchase to be easily accessible. According to Smart Insights, 97% of customers have abandoned a purchase because it wasn't convenient for them. A Nasdaq survey showed that 83% of consumers believe convenience is more important now than it was five years ago.In a time where convenience is one of the most critical benchmarks consumers measure enterprises with, queuing systems can help businesses stand out. Customers that use the QLess phone queue system have the freedom to wait for appointments or in lines from wherever they choose. Rather than standing in a physical queue or sitting in a waiting room, customers can join a line with their phone, monitor the wait time, and enter the physical premises only when it is time for their appointment. This gives them a more relaxed and individually tailored waiting experience.Improving this aspect of the customer experience is incredibly important for businesses. Long waits are a big impediment to customer satisfaction and one of the most common customer complaints in many industries. According to Synqera, 73% of customers say waiting in checkout lines is their least favorite part of in-store shopping. Addressing the difficulty of physical queues will help businesses overcome this common cause of dissatisfaction and lead to happier customers.The happier your customers are, the lower your churn rate will be. While no business has a perfect customer satisfaction record, addressing the issues you can will go a long way. Physical waits are something the average customer has little patience for and are altogether avoidable. By implementing QLess, you can create a waiting experience that gives consumers back their independence and ensures happier customers.

Connect with the Mobile Consumer

Any solution implemented by a business should align with the preferences of its target market. For most enterprises, the most critical current demographic to target is Gen Z and millennials. This collective group ranges in age from 10-40, making up the 18-34 demographic that most businesses covet. To connect with this age group, you must cater their shopping experience to their established habits. For many companies, this will mean implementing mobile as a component of their customer service offerings.Millennials and Gen Z are both extremely online generations and very smartphone savvy. According to Review42, 98% of the Gen Z population owns a smartphone. Just behind them in this regard are millennials, as 93% of this generation owns a smartphone, according to the Pew Research Center. By adding smartphone-based solutions to your business, you won't be isolating many members of this generation. You will be aligning with their established preference for mobile in the shopping experience.Gen Z is particularly pronounced in their preference for merging digital and physical shopping channels. Bluestone PIM notes that 48% of them expect to be able to buy online and return an item in-store, and 33% expect to be able to buy online and pick up in-store. For younger generations, digital technology plays a significant role in how they shop, and they expect brands to be able to accommodate that. This isn't just true in retail; it is shown in many industries.QLess helps enterprises adapt to the mobile preferences of their consumers with a phone queue system that can be accessed through an app or mobile-optimized website. Mobile queue management systems help businesses create an omnichannel experience for their customers, where they interact with your business physically and digitally. With Gen Z and millennials now aged into the most important demographic for businesses across industries, meeting the mobile needs of consumers is more important than ever before.

Find Out How Your Customers Really Feel

Not everyone entering your business will have a perfect experience, no matter what you do. Individual customers have different expectations and preferences, and meeting all these varying needs can be difficult. There are a lot of different customer experience strategies an enterprise can implement that may help them improve, but one of the best is simply asking your customers what they think. Customer feedback is incredibly important, and the QLess digital queue management system has features that enable businesses to collect and store these insights.The QLess customer feedback solution allows enterprises to send a pulse survey via automated text after customers purchase or receive a service. They can automate this, so it happens automatically and draft different questions or simply request a review. QLess will then store that information in the database, and businesses can look through them to find important insights.The benefits of receiving subjective information from your customers are significant. This form of customer engagement allows you to learn more about your performance relative to customer expectations. Understanding the areas of your business where your customers may find you are falling short of expectations and the areas where you are performing well will allow businesses to implement important changes. If you are seeing a significant number of reviews stating that the customer service wasn't up to par or that there was a significant degree of confusion around a certain part of the experience, this is an important step to improving that.Ultimately, the goal of every enterprise is to provide a service that has the customer leaving happy. A happy customer is a loyal customer, and that requires businesses to be attentive to what their customers think of their experience. QLess gives businesses the tools they need to collect important insights from their customers that will give them a clear picture of how they are performing. This will enable them to implement customer experience solutions that have better results.

black and white printed textile

Gain Objective Information About Your Customer Experience

Hearing firsthand from your customers is incredibly important. It gives enterprises a clear picture of how the people they are trying to satisfy feel about their service. But while subjective data is important, it is imperfect. Most of the time, customer feedback comes from both ends of the extreme spectrum: customers who have had a good or bad experience. This provides crucial information, but obtaining objective information is just as important. This comes in the form of data or business intelligence.Data paints businesses a picture of their processes that is unbiased and unopinionated. Armed with high-quality data, businesses can break down how they perform in several crucial areas and use that information to create a more seamless customer experience. According to Data Ideology, data-driven businesses are 23x more likely to acquire new customers and 6x likelier to retain them. Data is a driver of business success, but one of the issues many businesses struggle with is acquiring accurate data on things like their line experience.QLess helps enterprises gain high-value insights into their services by offering business intelligence features. Since customers use the mobile customer journey management software to schedule and check into appointments, QLess can collect data covering several important topics. QLess records the average wait time, the number of customers served in a day, the appointment no-show percentage, and more.This information is reported to companies in graphs and charts that easily illustrate deviations and key takeaways. It can also be segmented, so businesses can filter the information according to criteria like the day of the week, time of day, appointment type, and more.There's a lot businesses can do with this information. They can notice areas where they might be falling short of customer expectations, like certain appointment types that have longer waits than others or times of day when they might be overwhelmed. They can then make the necessary adjustments to provide better quality service at all times of day for every appointment type. It is a tool that helps connect a leadership team to highly valuable, objective, and actionable insights.

Spark a Conversation

Customers have a lot to say. Whether they've had a positive or poor experience or want to get in touch with a staff member, customers want their voices heard. Shopping at a store or going to a doctor's office shouldn't make customers feel like just a number to a business. It should be a personalized experience, where they feel their opinions matter and staff is accessible. Strong communication is how businesses can meet this need.This is something that businesses across industries often struggle with. It can be difficult to remain in constant contact with customers and hear out all their varying requests and complaints. But armed with the right tools, businesses can provide stronger communication to their customers, benefiting all parties involved. QLess' phone queue system is complete with communication features that enable staff and customers to message back and forth, as well as mass messaging that makes communication scalable.The bi-directional communication features allow customers to message staff regarding any questions or complaints. They can connect with staff while waiting in line, send additional details to make appointments a smoother process, and have their communication needs met. For businesses, they can send mass messages to entire lineups of people at once, provide important updates, and schedule SMS appointment reminders on the day of appointments.Better communication allows businesses to meet customer demands more efficiently and helps cut back on appointment no-shows. Appointment no-shows are a serious problem in industries across sectors. A customer interaction tool like QLess allows businesses to maintain better contact with customers to ensure they don't forget appointments. The mobile nature of QLess means customers are likelier to be more responsive and engaged, as they are much more likely to check texts than emails. Overall, enhanced communication leads to happier customers and a more effective enterprise.

Earn the Loyalty of Your Customers

The past several decades have started a major shift that businesses are now reckoning. The modern consumer is more empowered and mobile than ever, sparking a significant decline in brand loyalty. The pandemic expedited what was already an ongoing trend as brand loyalty dropped 16% amidst COVID-19. Now more than ever, businesses have to compete to earn customer loyalty, as the emphasis on convenience and saturation of options creates a more competitive marketplace.The importance of acquiring a customer is significant, but acquiring loyal customers might be more significant. Churn is a natural part of every business, but having a solid base of repeat, loyal customers is how businesses stay afloat and grow. According to SmallBizGenius, boosting retention by just 5% can increase profits by up to 25-95%. It is also less costly than trying to market to new customers.A virtual queuing system gives businesses a powerful solution to increase customer retention and loyalty. It is an all-in-one customer service platform that makes the overall appointment experience painless from end to end. Your customers can use the virtual appointment scheduling software to book appointments anytime, including outside business hours. They can check into lines remotely without needing to wait in physical queues. And they can communicate back and forth with staff for improved transparency and communication.QLess makes receiving a product or service from a business drastically more convenient. Convenience is top of mind for most customers, and QLess ensures that the appointment process is smooth and friction-free. This will surely incentivize customer loyalty by removing some of the biggest roadblocks to a good customer experience. Long waits, difficulty with appointment scheduling, and unresponsive staff are three extremely common customer complaints. Removing these issues will lead to more repeat customers, a crucial thing in a highly-competitive market.

People waiting in line outside on pavement

Become a More Agile Business

When the pandemic hit in 2020, most businesses were completely unprepared. It is hard to be able to handle something as unforeseen and unpredictable as a global pandemic. Most businesses saw losses mount and customers leave as they scrambled for answers. The enterprises that were able to bounce back fast could do so largely because they were agile and flexible. Being an agile business means responding quickly to changes and altering course effectively to navigate difficult situations. Digitization is a big part of that.Digitization helps businesses move quickly to make necessary changes. This was certainly the case with the pandemic when remote work became the norm and companies had to move their entire infrastructure online. For businesses looking to digitize to become more agile, a phone queue system like QLess can help significantly in this regard.QLess has virtual services features designed to help businesses run a digital appointment calendar. It works very similarly to the virtual queue system for physical appointments. Customers schedule their appointments through the app and are sent a link through SMS when it is time for them to check-in. They can check in on their phones and monitor the wait time until their appointment is set to begin. Then, they are sent either a Microsoft Teams or Zoom link, which QLess is integrated with. They can then join the virtual appointment.These advanced features give businesses the tool they need to run a fully digital appointment system if necessary. They can also blend different appointment types in their virtual queue, so physical and virtual appointments in the same line. It is a system that empowers companies to manage their appointment calendar in various ways and gives customers a choice of different types of appointments. This contributes to making a company more agile and capable of adapting to whatever major changes come.

Conclusion

In almost every industry, from retail and healthcare to government and education, companies are doing everything possible to separate themselves in customers' minds. This is one of the reasons there has been such an emphasis placed on the customer experience. Giving customers an enjoyable and seamless experience is the best way to stand out and earn their loyalty. As long lines and physical queues are clear obstructions to a good experience, addressing this problem has become vital.A phone queue system is a solution that enables enterprises to eliminate the need for a physical queue. With just the tap of a button, customers can enter virtual lines, monitor the necessary wait, and join when it is time for their appointment. This mobile-friendly solution aligns with the tech-savvy consumer most businesses will be targeting and has numerous benefits that can improve the customer journey.Your customers want speed, convenience, and ease of access. With a phone queue system like QLess, you can accommodate this need. Shorter waits, no physical queues, and improved transparency and communication are all ingredients to a seamless and friction-free customer journey.