Queue Management | 6 Tips For Operating a Queueless Business

Operating-a-Queueless-Business

Introduction

When the average person walks into a store, a waiting room, or an academic office and spots a long line, there is a significant likelihood of turning back around and leaving. Most people have little to no patience for standing in arduous lines. In fact, long wait times are one of a business’s most common customer complaints. According to a survey of 4,000 consumers, slow checkout processes were the most commonly (48% of surveyees) listed frustrating element of shopping.

But how do businesses confront a problem that has persisted for as long as commerce has existed? Whether for government offices, retail stores, or education institutions, long wait times and arduous cues are a seemingly inescapable part of the customer experience. However, we live in a world of rapidly accelerating technology, and the problems of today and yesterday aren’t guaranteed to persist tomorrow.

Queue management solutions are a way to combat this roadblock to customer satisfaction. A queue management solution is a digitized queue that businesses can implement to reduce wait times and give their customers the ability to queue on their own terms. These virtual queue solutions will allow businesses to run their entire queueing process from a centralized software that improves speed and the customer experience.

Customers can check into the queuing system remotely from a mobile device or computer, monitor wait times, and receive updates from staff. Businesses can blend walk-ins with virtually checked-in customers, improve communication, and gain valuable insights about their business. Customers then have a more convenient time waiting, and businesses can see improved customer loyalty and intake capacity.

There’s a reason queue management software is being implemented by businesses ranging from academic institutions like Texas A&M to the airline industry. Implementing queue management software is a mostly seamless process, but it can be a transition. If your business is looking to utilize a waiting line management system like QLess to transform the customer experience, there’s much to know. Let’s look at six helpful tips for operating a queueless business.

 

Focus on the Customer Journey

Zeroing in on the importance of the customer journey is a crucial decision in helping businesses worldwide retain their customers. The customer journey is described as the “complete sum of experiences that customers go through when interacting with your company,” according to Survey Monkey. It is the entirety of the end-to-end customer experience, and focusing on making this as frictionless and seamless of a journey is something every business should be working towards.

Investing in the customer experience makes a tangible difference in business outcomes. According to data from Forbes, 84% of companies that work to improve the customer experience report an increase in their revenue. The more effort your enterprise invests in keeping customers happy, the easier it is to retain them, and the more rapidly your business will grow. Long lines are a significant bottleneck in a smooth customer journey.

If your customer enters your workplace and deals with slow service times and an impersonal queuing experience, they aren’t likely to report a positive customer journey. What your customers think about your business is important. According to Bright Local, 93% of customers will read reviews of local businesses to assess their quality, and 40% of people will stop wanting to buy from a business if they read negative reviews. 

A smooth, personalized customer journey is the best way to ensure a lack of negative reviews. Virtual queuing is a way to offer this. Businesses that have established customer journey management software like QLess receive the advantage of a software solution that helps handle this aspect of their business for them.

QLess has been found to reduce customer wait times up to 97% and increase customer loyalty up to 99%. Customers value the freedom they have to determine their interaction with your business. They can check in from anywhere, see the queuing time, and arrive when they’re close to being served. There is no need for the waste of time of a long lineup, and the physical congestion of a long queue is cleared up. It is a simplistic, pain-free experience that takes the stress out of waiting for a product or service.

 

Find Inefficiencies in Your Operation

No business is perfect; every enterprise will have certain aspects of its process that can use improvement. The problem comes when it is time to identify these aspects. If every business knew its inefficiencies, it’d be significantly easier to adjust and improve upon them. There are many different advantages to a virtual queue management system. That is one of the most significant ones. 

Customer queue management software like QLess often comes with high-end business intelligence features that offer businesses actionable insights into their operations. Businesses can acquire data that includes the average wait time, transaction time, number of customers served daily, no-show percentage, and more. This data is presented with visual data like charts and graphs. It can also be segmented in several crucial ways.

This is one of the ways to learn about parts of your business that aren’t working. You can segment your data according to days of the week, hours of the day, and by department or employee. You can see if certain departments are slower than others, certain employees are causing delays, or your business has the slowest wait times at certain times of the day.

This data can present clear inefficiencies that businesses can then address. If certain times of day have a pattern of being slow, add staff to that shift. If certain departments are slower than others, you can work with the staff to learn more about the root causes. High-quality data about the time people spend waiting will allow you to address significant inefficiencies.

This will all lead to a more agile, efficient business. Business intelligence is a significant driver of long-term success. According to YellowFin, businesses that use business intelligence and analytics can see an ROI of 1300%. It is a way to supercharge your operations and become leaner and more efficient. With queue management software, businesses can receive access to these crucial insights.

 

Improve Communication with Your Customers

Communication is everything in business. It is how enterprises show their customers that they are listening and that they care. Many companies struggle to communicate with their customers individually because, let’s face it, it requires a significant time investment and isn’t easy to do. But the more communicative you are with customers, the happier they will be. There is also a lot of value that can be mined from the feedback you hear directly from your customers.

QLess and other virtual queue management solutions open the door to more consistent communication across every customer journey phase. QLess comes with built-in bi-directional communication features that help businesses message back and forth with people who’ve scheduled appointments, are waiting in line, or are on their system. These messages feel much more natural and conversational than the typical emails customers receive from businesses.

There are a lot of applications to the wide range of communication features on these platforms. Businesses can send updates to customers waiting in line, receive updates from customers scheduled for appointments, and provide more personal digital communication. QLess enables personalized messages to individuals or mass messages to specific groups. Businesses can send updates to an entire line of people at once for easier mass communication.

We would recommend businesses make good use of the simplified communication features by mining their customers for insights. QLess has features that enable enterprises to send out mass surveys or request ratings that are stored on the platform. Unlike business intelligence, the information from this method of data collection is subjective. However, that doesn’t mean businesses should overlook its value.

Perception is the reality in the world of business. What your customers think of you determines whether they continue to frequent your company, so learning more about what the people your business relies on think has a lot of value. If numerous customer responses say they expected faster service, you know that’s a problem. If the majority of customers surveyed respond that appointment scheduling was disorganized, you can target this area for improvement.

Customers want more communication and a personal feel. According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that offers a personalized experience. Offering a personalized experience isn’t easy, but communication and transparency are a big part of that. With virtual queueing software providing bi-directional communication features, businesses can ensure customers feel seen and heard. They can also maximize these features by mining customers for insights.

Enhance-Communication-and-Customer-Engagement

 

Set Goals for KPIs on Queuing and Customer Flow

One of the most significant ways to improve a business is to have clear, focused goals that you are working towards. Most businesses set their goals around revenue, churn, and acquisitions. But having clear set goals on queuing and customer flow will also significantly impact the growth and success of your business. The smoother and more efficiently your business runs, the more you grow your ability to take in customers and improve your capacity.

A big part of setting realistic new goals for your business is utilizing the business intelligence from your queue management platform. These provide an array of Key Performance Indicators or KPIs that businesses can use to set new, ambitious goals that will help their business become faster and have a frictionless customer journey. These KPIs include average wait times, transaction times, no-show percentage, and the number of customers served in a day.

Creating different targeted goals is the best way to position your business to take the necessary steps to improve. As we’ve mentioned, business intelligence can allow businesses to spot operating flaws. But regardless of flaws and inefficiencies, it can also provide businesses with clearer benchmarks to set realistic, achievable goals to slowly improve their business. To make the most of your customer queue management software, sit down with your team and set some goals.

While queue management software reduces the need for physical queues, it doesn’t completely eliminate wait times from businesses. Customers still have to wait in virtual queues, which is a much more pleasant experience, but a wait nonetheless. Setting goals that revolve around trimming wait times will empower businesses to improve their processes, armed with data to help them along the way.

Look at your average wait times or the percentage of customers who miss appointments daily. Both of these should be seen as problems that can be fixed. Average wait times can be trimmed by creating more organized lines segmented according to the employee who will see them or the appointment type. A more organized customer flow will boost staff productivity and increase overall speed.

With appointment no-shows, this is another solvable problem stemming from a lack of communication. Appointment no-show rates average at 27% in North America in the healthcare industry, costing businesses billions in potential revenue. With QLess, businesses can have a clearer line of communication that can solve this problem. 

If they notice a high no-show percentage, they can set a goal to reduce that by a certain number and implement a targeted communication strategy. This can include more appointment reminder updates in the lead-up to the appointment and appointment confirmation messages the day of.

Having targeted KPIs on customer flow, queue speed, and no-show percentage will create a more efficient enterprise. Queue management platforms provide the data to set clear benchmarks to make goals more tangible and achievable.

 

Train Staff to Maximize the Use of Queue Technology

While a queuing system is the key to becoming a queueless business, your staff must also be a significant part of the equation. Most frontline staff are used to simply waiting for the slow movement of the queue, dealing with the people that reach the front of the line. But a virtual queue complicates matters for staff. It is more communicative and fluid. To get the most out of your queue software, consider new staff training to implement this solution.

The people that work for your company are the biggest asset you have. A great staff is an essential component of any successful operation. QLess and queue management technology aren’t intended to replace staff; they are meant to make their jobs easier and augment their work. It is a tool that is a big part of solving the queuing issue that many businesses face. But staff are also part of the answer.

Training staff to implement the QLess solution into their day-to-day workflows shouldn’t be difficult, but it is an important step for businesses to take. It isn’t just the front desk staff or cashiers that should be familiar with the platform. It should be just about every member of your team.

This is because desk staff will need to learn how to organize the lines to integrate different kinds of customers. The people handling the service will need to use the platform to communicate and gather information from the customers their appointments are with. Roaming customer service staff will need to be able to answer questions about the platform if there are customers that are confused or unfamiliar. It is a top-down approach that requires experience and understanding from the whole staff.

QLess is a highly-intuitive, easy-to-grasp platform, so the training necessary isn’t extensive. However, businesses must educate their staff on how they want to use the platform so there is no confusion. Queue management platforms can be used in several ways. Some enterprises rely entirely on the virtual queue. Some blend walk-ins and virtual queues. Others use virtual queues for only certain aspects of their business, like a curbside pick-up. 

Having a clear strategy for your queue management platform is essential. The structured workflows and simplified organization of QLess have been shown to boost staff productivity by 90%. But businesses must keep their employees trained and in the loop with their virtual queue strategy. It is a flexible, agile tool, and your employees will have a major role in implementing it. 

 

Focus on Flexibility

While many businesses rely entirely on appointments and have a rigid structure, other businesses have a more fluid customer flow. Some customers have set appointments, and others are walking in off the street. Most businesses struggle with this. The solution some turn to is having a line for walk-ins and a line for appointments. But this is a very rigid way of handling the problem. Queue management software makes blending calendars much more flexible.

With queue management software, businesses can organize and automate their customer flow. This allows businesses to accommodate walk-ins and people with scheduled appointments without any confusion. Enterprises gain the ability to create flexible lines according to appointment type, walk-ins, employees they are meeting with, and more. 

The automation and machine learning of the software will make juggling these conflicting customer types far simpler. There is a calendar that automatically adjusts according to pre-set business priorities, such as prioritizing appointment customers over walk-ins. The calendar can be segmented and color-coded, making it easier to understand and control.

The more flexible your business is, the better equipped it will be to handle the typical daily changes it will face. Cancellations, no-shows, and late customers are all par for the course for any appointment-based business. However, many businesses struggle to react in a timely manner when they are faced with these problems. Slow responses often lead to longer wait times and a reduced customer intake. It is lost productivity.

A flexible queue and calendar that can rapidly adjust to these changes prevent businesses from wasting time. They can simply move customers up the queue, assign customers to different employees, and handle the problem in seconds. There is no lag and extended waits. For staff managing customer flow, the visibility of QLess’ queue features is a huge asset. The entire line is displayed, making it simple and fast to implement any changes.

For every business, employing strategies that improve your ability to adapt on the fly is helpful. Things are constantly changing, and being able to roll with that change without losing productivity is important. A queuing system with flexible calendar features makes handling these changes a breeze. QLess has automation and customization for when staff can’t implement changes themselves and also provides easily visible queue management options for staff to make quick adjustments.

 

Conclusion

Many businesses tend to think about long physical queues as an unavoidable problem that is the cost of having customer interest. The logic goes that when there are a lot of customers that need a product or service, inevitably, long lineups and extended waits will form. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Embracing waiting line management software can lead to a business without physical queues. But if you hope to operate a queueless business, there are several things to focus on.

Not every business that uses queue management software will achieve the same results. Certain tips, strategies, and principles can lead businesses toward a queue-free, improved operation. From setting goals on reduced wait times with the KPIs from line data to reducing inefficiencies with business intelligence, a lot of the improvement comes down to business decision-making and usage of the data received from queuing systems.

There are also other factors that will lead to queueless business. A commitment to the customer journey makes a substantial difference. Focusing on providing a seamless experience from start to finish will help businesses leverage their technology to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction. Improving communication with your customers, implementing a more flexible calendar, and re-training your staff will also help your enterprise maximize the impact of the queue software.

Businesses no longer need to accept arduous queues and extended wait times as a cost of doing business. Implementing a virtual queue helps businesses reduce physical congestion, cut wait times, offer customers a better experience, and improve their data collection. With software like QLess leading the charge in this industry, becoming a queue-free business is more attainable than ever.