In This Blog
- The experience of waiting
- Industries synonymous with long waits
- How do long waits contribute to customer dissatisfaction?
- Can the situation be remedied, and how?
There are three broad categories of queues, namely:
- Single counter queues
One counter, one long winding queue that needs floor space management for effective monitoring. This kind of queue is largely seen in stores and retail branches, and customers are served as and when they arrive.
- Multiple counter queues
Multiple counters, multiple queues of varying lengths, and varying speeds of movement (according to service speed). This kind of queue is usually found in retail stores, banks, telecom offices, etc.
- Single line, multiple server queues
Multiple counters, single-line queues that begin in one place and then allow customers the option to choose from any of the available counters. This kind of queue is present usually in retail stores, DMVs, etc.
Regardless of how you queue, the time spent doing it can either negatively or positively impact the customer’s experience of visiting your business. And they are likely to return based on the answers to the following questions:
- Was the queuing experience fair?
Customers want the queuing process to be as fair as possible. They do not appreciate those who skip the queue and are allowed to do so or those who have more items than them and are served before them.
We value the wait for purchasing products and services according to the value ascribed to the benefit and facility they are likely to afford us. If there is an imbalance here, customers will be dissatisfied and frustrated.
- Was there transparency of queuing information?
Customers like to know how much longer they will be waiting, what position they hold in the queue, how many clients are in line before them, etc. This is queuing information and the transparency of it contributes to customer satisfaction with the queuing experience.
When customers know the answers to these queries, they temper their expectations, adjust their schedules and accommodate their chores accordingly. With the right kind of information dissemination, you can ensure your customers remain pleased with the level of service delivery.
- Were you engaged and occupied during the wait?
While waiting, customers experience two distinct but related waiting times: perceived and actual. Actual wait times are the real-time version of how long they waited to be served, while perceived wait times are how long customers felt like they were queuing for. The latter directly impacts the perception of their experience and tends to be higher than the actual wait time. Perceived wait times have a bigger impact on experiences than actual wait times.
To reduce perceived wait times, customers can be occupied, engaged and engrossed with lively, colorful, and eye-catching signage and advertisements. This will make the wait pass by quicker.
Industries synonymous with long waits
Some industries, more so than others, have a bad reputation when it comes to queuing experiences. You do not often hear people complaining about queues at schools or other educational institutions (unless it is admissions season!), but you do hear the complaints of DMV visitors, retail customers during holiday seasons and citizens queuing at government offices.
It is true that some of these industries face high volumes of foot traffic or are slow to digitize and automate services, but long queues are customer satisfaction cancers. They begin with disgruntlement and advance rather quickly to dissatisfaction, a lapse of brand loyalty, and losses in the customer base.
Some industries, more than others, have to work hard to rid themselves of long queues and the image of tedious waits. But before the solutions, it is important to understand exactly how winding queues affect customer experiences.
Long queues and their impact
Tedious queues negatively impact the performance of your business, your customer base, and your profit margins.
Lack of customer retention
You walk into a store and see a long queue. Next door is a shop selling similar products, but with better managed floor space and queues that are moving more swiftly. Which one would you choose to shop at?
Long queues in the United Kingdom result in losses of 11.3 billion pounds, per annum, making them key reasons for losses in retail revenues. Losing customers is bad for revenue and for future business prospects as customers are likely to share their experiences with family and friends, resulting in a wider net of discontentment and lost customers. This will result in a loss of brand image and loyalty as well.
Smaller baskets, fewer sales
If the queue is long and the customer has waited to get to the front, it is likely that they either value the products and services higher than the time spent or that they really need said product or service. It is therefore likely that they will choose fewer products or only visit when need forces them.
This creates lores like those of the frustrating DMV visits or the hours wasted at a government office waiting on an identity card to be issued. And can be detrimental to sales, impressions, and visitor return rates.
The remedy for long queues to avoid waiting
The remedy for long queues and tiring waits is better managerial techniques, touchpoint optimization, and customer flow monitoring and reporting.
From the very beginning of the customer experience to the very end, everything must be coordinated with and supplemented by improved management that guarantees smoother flows, better experiences, and increased profits and brand loyalty. The following solutions are ideal examples of these:
Improved managerial tactics
Managing an efficient team that is operating optimally and effectively is challenging! But a good manager makes it possible with the following rules of thumb:
- When in doubt, circle back to company values and use them as guiding principles
- Provide your team with constructive feedback as well as solutions to help them improve
- Provide encouragement and congratulations to keep team morale up
- Build your rapport so team members feel comfortable asking for help
These tips will turn your managerial and operational team into a cohesive and smoothly functioning one. And a good team will provide excellent services, and facilitate quicker and more convenient customer journeys.
Efficient appointment scheduling
With these systems, customers can schedule, reschedule and cancel bookings at their convenience and from anywhere at any time. After entering all the details pertaining to the date, time, branch/store, chosen service or product, customers will receive real-time notifications about appointment details.
The benefit of a solution like this is that customers can plan their day or week in advance, store or branch staff can also pre-plan for their arrival. Customers with appointments will not have to wait in the queue and this reduces the volume of visitors on-premises as well.
Engaging digital signage solutions
Customers need to be informed, guided, and engaged throughout their visit to your premises. Use digital signage solutions to inform them of new promotions, discounts, and SOP details and reminders, guide them around the store or branch to relevant service counters or customer representatives and engage their attention with eye-catching displays and advertisements to reduce perceived wait times.
The benefit is that customers feel valued, operational costs can be cut since additional staff deployments are no longer required to guide or inform clients and your business joins the ranks of technologically forward and digitized businesses.
Virtual queuing systems
For the walk-in customer, virtual queue management software facilitate them in securing and holding their place in the queue via remote and virtual means. The visitor scans a QR code or begins an SMS/text conversation with the business. After entering details pertaining to the reason for the visit, they are issued an electronic ticket that virtually secures their place in the queue.
Now, the customer can wait wherever they please, even off-premises. They can complete chores while waiting. Staff will also appreciate the reduction in foot traffic on-premises and can better utilize the floor space for additional marketing and advertising opportunities.
Requests for customer feedback
Customer feedback is a sure way to see the real-time impact of your queuing systems. Customers register their experience using emojis, numbers, or words and this is collected via the systems and reported to staff and management in real-time.
Customers also feel valued when they are asked to give feedback. And management will have a ready list of aspects that need filing, amending, or adding!
Long waits can be avoided and reduced with the aid of queue management solutions and improved management solutions, if not completely done away with so that your business can prosper and reach the heights you desire it to!
Efficient B2B appointment scheduling – With these systems, customers can schedule, reschedule and cancel bookings at their convenience and from anywhere at any time. After entering all the details pertaining to the date, time, branch/store, chosen service or product, customers will receive real-time notifications about appointment details.