Waiting in Line? How a Mobile Queue Gives Back Time
Why do we still tolerate long lineups? This is a question many people have likely asked themselves as they stand around waiting in a slow-moving queue. There is no question that lineups are a deeply entrenched part of the shopping and appointment experience. Whether customers are waiting at the doctor’s office, DMV, shopping center, or restaurant, there are few places where lineups are not a core part of the customer experience. So in the age of customer convenience, why are lineups still commonly accepted?
The straightforward answer to this question is that most enterprises don’t think they can address long queues. Take visiting the emergency room, for example. According to the Harvard Business Review, the median wait time in an emergency room in the United States is an hour and a half. But patients need to be serviced; diagnosing and treating patients takes time, and there will often be situations where demand for service exceeds a business’s ability to supply service.
So what’s an organization that wants to combat lines and improve customer flow to do? The answer isn’t necessarily that enterprises should eliminate waits altogether. This is not possible for a lot of businesses. Instead, many enterprises are considering implementing solutions that make waiting a more enjoyable experience and empower customers to ensure they can wait how they choose. One solution that is enabling that is the QLess waiting queue app.
This app is designed to enable virtual waiting from customers’ mobile devices. Rather than sit in waiting rooms, stand in physical queues, or wait for their number to be called at the DMV, customers can join virtual lineups from their smartphone device and wait digitally. It is a solution embraced across industries, helping customers get their time back rather than being stuck in line. Below, we’ll explore what a waiting queue app is, how it works, and its time-saving benefits for customers and businesses.
Waiting Queue App: A Powerful Mobile Solution
A waiting queue app is designed for the modern consumer, who prioritizes convenience and is smartphone-powered. These solutions are accessed on mobile phones and enable customers to join lineups from their phones. A virtual queue works very similarly to a physical one, except it exists digitally rather than in the real world. Customers can check into the queue from their phone and be placed in line according to either their appointment time or when they arrive in line, depending on an organization’s policies. They can then monitor their progress in the virtual queue and arrive at the front desk when it is their turn at the front of the line.
For organizations that fear their customers might be indifferent to using mobile technology in their shopping experience, the data tells a different story. Customer tolerance for mobile tech while shopping is high, and for many, it is a preference. According to Statista, 85% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, meaning the typical customer has all the tools needed to use a waiting queue app. And customers like using their smartphones as a part of their shopping experience, with data from Winsight showing that 55% of customers want smartphone interactivity that helps guide their in-store experience.
A waiting queue app gives customers a tool that aligns with their established behaviors and can increase customer satisfaction. It eliminates the need for a long physical queue and is powered by highly accessible mobile technology that the average consumer already uses consistently and wants as a part of their shopping experience. With the average consumer heavily resenting long physical lineups, a waiting queue app is a way to reduce the need for them to engage in these oft-frustrating experiences, opening the door to increased customer retention and even faster service times.
Waiting Queue Apps and the Customer Experience
Focusing on the customer experience is something businesses in nearly every industry are emphasizing right now. Emphasizing the customer experience isn’t just a matter of wanting customers to be happy; it is a matter of survival in today’s business environment, where customers have so many different options and are very mobile. According to Smith.ai, companies with excellent customer experiences stand a 17% higher chance of growing consistently year-over-year, so companies that focus on this aspect of their business are positioning themselves for long-term success.
The QLess powerful customer flow management platform gives enterprises a helpful solution for improving their customer experience and ensuring higher satisfaction rates. This platform has a range of key features designed to give customers a tool for streamlining their shopping and ensuring better relationships with businesses. Below, we’re exploring some of the customer-facing features of the QLess waiting queue app that will ensure better experiences and higher satisfaction rates.
Customers Wait On Their Own Terms
What do customers want? There are many things customers look for from the businesses they shop from, but one of the biggest factors customers consider is what is easy for them. Customer convenience is a defining component of the decisions consumers make. They want to get in and get out fast and receive the product or service they came for as quickly and efficiently as possible. According to Pollfish, 52% of shoppers say that half or more of their purchases are influenced by convenience.
Making customers wait in physical queues is not exactly convenient. Your options are limited when you are waiting in a lineup or waiting room. You must sit patiently and wait your turn. It is as inconvenient as it gets, and few things negatively impact customers’ moods more than a long lineup.
That is why a queue management platform like QLess is so impactful. It enables customers to wait on their terms rather than requiring them to be in a specific place for the duration of their wait. With QLess, customers can remotely join a virtual queue, meaning they don’t have to step foot in a lineup or a waiting room until the end of their wait. Instead of sitting in a sterile waiting area or standing in an extended physical queue, they can enter the lineup from a nearby cafe, park, store, or whatever other location they please. The only time they need to physically be present is when it is their turn at the front of the line.
The remote join features are ideal for customers that crave convenience and don’t want to be confined to waiting areas. According to a QLess survey of 250 U.S. adults, 59.4% indicated that they associate crowded waiting areas with unsafe conditions. With a waiting queue app, customers are given the ability to wait from wherever they please.
One of the most important components of good customer service is consistent and open communication. Your customers don’t just expect to come in and receive a product or service. They want engagement and personalization. They want to feel like they are an individual to your business, not just another number. According to Forbes, 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Customers want to be catered to, and communication is a big part of that. But many enterprises struggle to supply consistent, personalized communication to their customers.
QLess offers enterprises a tool that enables better dialogues between staff and customers through bi-directional communication features. Customers can message staff asking for updates and information, and staff can respond. Conversely, staff can message customers, provide details, request forms or information, and address complaints. Staff can also schedule messages to send at different intervals of the customer journey so that customers feel more strongly connected to the business they are engaging with.
One standout aspect of this is that the communication aligns with modern customers’ preferences. Another QLess survey of 250 U.S. adults showed that 70.8% of respondents would rather communicate appointment details with businesses through messaging rather than phone calls. A separate QLess survey showed that 90.7% of customers prefer mobile communications like text messages, phone calls, and in-app messages compared to emails.
With the QLess waiting queue app, enterprises have a tool that helps make large-scale communication with a substantial customer base more straightforward. It also aligns with the communication preferences of the modern customer most businesses target.
Wait Time Insights
One of the things that feels so suffocating about the queuing experience is the uncertainty and lack of transparency. Standing in a line or sitting in a waiting room with no clear end in sight leads to discontentment, and uncertainty contributes to customer walkaway rates. However, one of the biggest impacts of a waiting queue app is that it allows enterprises to peel back the curtain on their waiting process and ensure customers have a clear sense of the wait in front of them.
QLess provides wait time insights that are updated in real-time as the line shifts and moves. Using data collected from previous customer queues and machine learning-powered insights based on the number of customers in line and several other factors, QLess projects accurate wait times to customers. This means customers aren’t kept in the dark. They know how long is ahead of them the entire time, meaning they are less likely to be frustrated and indignant about the experience.
Having forecasted guest waiting times is something customers appreciate. In a QLess survey, 57.2% of respondents indicated that they are likelier to patronize a business if they have early insights into wait times. Knowing how long they will have to wait allows consumers to plan for the experience better. They are not kept in the dark, and it is overall more transparent and customer-friendly.
With the QLess waiting queue app, the customer journey is broken down much more cleanly, with constant insights into the length of wait consumers are in for. This also helps customers get the most out of the remote join feature. They can see how long they have to wait and can plan where they want to wait accordingly.
Improved Virtual Appointment Capabilities
One of the biggest changes in recent years caused by the pandemic is that many industries have been moving toward virtual appointments. This is something that has cropped up in the healthcare industry, where telehealth appointments remain at a 38x usage volume compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, according to McKinsey. It is also true in retail, where more than 50% of retailers now have enabled curbside pickup using digital technology, compared to only 6.6% of the top 1,000 retailers offering this service pre-2020, according to Querysprout.
This means that enterprises now have to adjust to ever-increasing customer demand for virtual appointments. Consumers love virtual appointments because it is extremely convenient for them. They don’t need to be physically present, or in the case of curbside pickups, they don’t have to enter a store. They can limit the time they spend on a task, and for non-essential appointments that don’t require physical presence, they don’t even have to leave their home.
For enterprises that want to ensure seamless customer experiences with virtual appointments, the QLess waiting queue app has virtual service features designed to help organizations run a mixed physical and virtual appointment calendar. The software has Zoom and Microsoft Teams integrations, and when customers elect to schedule virtual appointments, they receive a check-in link that places them in a digital queue when it is time for their appointment. They are then moved through the queue, and when their appointment is set to begin, they receive a link to the digital meeting room.
These features create a seamless, customer-friendly virtual appointment process. They enable organizations to accommodate the rising demand for digital meet-ups and help ensure consumers can maximize their time by not attending physical appointments if they aren’t necessary.
Waiting Queue Apps, Business Benefits, and Customer Flow
The front-end benefits of a waiting queue app are dramatic, as customers can interact with the software and immediately see an improvement in their experience. But QLess is not just a customer experience platform. It is also designed to have back-end benefits to help businesses improve customer flow and streamline their processes. This will, in turn, create a more efficient customer experience, so both sides can directly benefit.
The QLess software doubles as a customer interaction management platform that heightens organizations’ ability to oversee their lineups while better understanding what may be causing delays. Let’s look at some of the benefits for businesses, that simultaneously make the experience smoother for customers, a waiting queue app provides.
Data Insights to Guide Improvements
Collecting data on your lineups and queue times can be difficult. For most enterprises, if they bother to track this information, the system they use is paper-based, where customers write their sign-in time on a clipboard and sign-out team when they leave their appointment. While this can provide some insights, compiling this data into digestible formats or extrapolating any real information from it is difficult. Having information on this aspect of the customer journey is crucial, as it allows organizations to identify their problem areas and grow from them.
The QLess business intelligence software features enable organizations to better understand the waiting experience of their customers. Because they use the software to check in and wait for their appointments, the waiting queue app provides enterprises with various helpful insights. The software tracks data on average wait times, the number of customers served a day, employee utilization, appointment no-show percentage, and more.
This data is then displayed for enterprises on a dashboard with graphs to help businesses spot trends. The data can be segmented according to the time of day, appointment type, and several other factors, so organizations can spot what might be causing delays. If certain appointment types or times of day have substantially higher wait times, understanding that is important. Because once businesses grasp why delayed wait times are happening, they can take the steps necessary to address the problem. This data can directly impact wait times and improve business efficiency if organizations use them correctly.
Flexibility and Calendar Management
Flexibility and smooth calendar management are important components of efficient customer flow. Consider the impact late customers can have on an appointment calendar. Late customers or no-shows can cause large delays as staff scrambles to adjust to changes to the schedule. The more rigid an appointment calendar is, the more difficult it can be for enterprises when changes arise. So naturally, implementing a flexible, digital calendar that staff can manage and control will lead to a more efficient operation that customers and businesses will appreciate.
The QLess queue management software includes a calendar management feature that enables organizations to adjust quickly to changes. The QLess calendar organizes enterprises’ appointment schedules in an adjustable virtual calendar. This color-coded calendar shows staff who the appointment is with, the type of appointment that is scheduled, and even the staff in charge of handling it. It can be changed and adjusted on the fly, and the communication features of QLess enable staff to update customers as changes occur.
Let’s look again at the example of a late or no-show customer. Rather than staff having to wait for a significant period, hoping that the customer shows up, staff can simply alter the calendar. They can move the customer out of their current appointment slot and move the next customer up the line. If the customer shows up, they can be moved back into the next-in-line slot. It is a fast, easy adjustment that limits the downtime caused by schedule changes. With simple calendar management, enterprises can create a more efficient schedule less marred by delays.
Simplify Workflows for Staff
Another benefit of the calendar and queue management features of the waiting queue app is that they make the staff’s job drastically easier. QLess can essentially serve as a secretary that oversees the check-in and queuing processes so employees can direct their energy elsewhere. Your staff doesn’t have to spend time focusing on aspects of the job that the customer flow management software can easily oversee. Instead, they can take on bigger-picture tasks and serve as customer service specialists.
The QLess calendar, with its color-coded display and layout that can be segmented according to date, time of day, and staff in charge of the appointment, provides improved workflow visibility for staff. This is one of the reasons that QLess has been found to elevate staff productivity by up to 90% in sectors like government industries.
In healthcare, retail, education, government, and other appointment-based sectors, staff are dealing with the difficult task of overseeing and managing customers without the right tools. Human error has been the root cause of many problems in appointment-based industries, like scheduling conflicts and line delays. A waiting queue app removes human error from the equation. A machine learning-powered algorithm oversees the queue, rather than front-desk staff or workers. This enables a more efficient line while also opening up time on staff’s schedules, helping to make their jobs easier while ensuring customers are waiting for less time.
Consumers have disliked lineups for as long as they have existed, but most enterprises believe that they are the cost of doing business. That might have been the case for a long time, but it no longer is. Physical queues are a customer complaint that no longer needs to exist, or at least not in their current format. With a waiting queue app, enterprises can implement a solution that empowers customers to wait on their terms and gives them their time back.
A queue management app like QLess has customer experience and business efficiency benefits stemming from a range of features designed to create a smoother queuing process. Customers can check in remotely from their phones, communicate consistently with staff, have clear insights into wait times, and schedule virtual appointments when their physical presence is not necessary. Meanwhile, enterprises can simplify employees’ workflows, create a more flexible calendar, and gain high-value data that they can use to remove bottlenecks.
A waiting queue app is a solution that creates a more efficient business and happier customers. In a time when convenience is a high priority for many customers, this solution reduces the necessity of customers being confined to a line, empowering them and giving them their time back.