How Queue Management Can Solve Painful Pre-Order App Experiences

It's 7a.m. and you're waiting in a long line of other caffeine-deprived folks just trying to snag your extra-tall caramel latte and get to work on time. Then the door opens and you watch with incredulity as some newcomer walks in, strolls straight up to the the counter and gets served immediately. Sounds unfair right?

If you're the operator of one of the many businesses that now offers online and mobile pre-orders, you should know that this is how many of your customers could be feeling right now.

Pre-ordering apps have quickly become popular in food and coffee establishments, but the roll-out hasn't been totally smooth.

For one, these apps aren't diminishing the lines by all that much. The thing is, not everyone is so organized that they're going to order 20 minutes before they need their drink. Maybe they didn't know they needed that chocolate frappe until they walked past. Or maybe they don't want to clutter their digital lives with yet another app. But the biggest obstacle may be human behavior. If you look at most business with pre-order functionality, you'll find a good proportion of pre-orderers still waiting in lines when they get there, either out of a sense of awkwardness at the perceived inequality of the process or out of a desire for interaction with the people at the counter.

To really get rid of the lines, businesses should consider going one step further and implementing a digital queue management on-site. With QLess, even people who didn't order ahead don't have to stand in long lines. By communicating with customers via their mobile devices and letting them know when it's their turn the same way, your business can make the line invisible. People can find seats, hang out outside or even check out the store next door before coming in at exactly the time you're ready for them.

The QLess Concierge platform allows teams of tablet-armed staff to help customers who may be confused or don't have access to the app, adding them to the queue while letting them know their expected wait time along with anything else they might need to know or need help with. This depressurizes all kinds of interactions that you have with customers. Those who need more of a personal touch at the counter can get it without a line waiting at their back, and those who pre-order can walk up and get their orders free from the social pressure that walking past a line of people can elicit.

With customer surveys delivered to mobile devices after they leave - as well as tracking and recording data to pinpoint exactly how successful your strategies are on any given day - QLess supports you during and after the interactions that drive your business. Skip the difficulties that some businesses are finding with their pre-order apps, and move forward with a line management vision that accounts for the difficulties that your customers face in their everyday lives.