The following is a reprint with permission from the December 3, 2013 Public Guidance Blog by Lavi Industries. The article includes some excellent suggestions on how to make waiting in line as painless as possible.
Improving the waiting line (queue) in your business isn’t only about making the line shorter or getting service agents to be more efficient (though these moves are strongly encouraged). Alterations to your queue should ultimately occur in order to keep customers satisfied. Here are five ways to rethink your queue strategy with changes that can be made easily and immediately.
1. Reconsider the Line Formation
The formation of your queue is one of the simplest elements to change to keep customers happy and keep operations efficient. Reconsidering the shape, length, and set-up of your line can make all the difference between a disgruntled and a delighted customer. A single-line multiple-server queue is proven to reduce actual wait times and instill a sense of fairness. On the other hand, some studies suggest a multiple line queue “feels” shorter. Perhaps it’s time to consider your own line and what’s best for your customers.
2. Make the Wait More Enjoyable
How can a wait ever be more enjoyable? By distracting your customers as they stand in line. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways – from installing in-line merchandising displays to implementing electronic queuing methods. Digital screens that show promotions, videos, or any type of media will keep customers entertained, busy, and away from focusing on the wait.
3. Make the Line Virtual
A virtual queue eliminates the physical queue, which is a major step toward satisfying customers. Not having to look at a queue reduces some of the stress of waiting, and not seeing how many customers are ahead of you pretty much eliminates the ability to determine where your place in line is, so it’s just easier to concentrate on other things – like continuing to shop while waiting or just sitting down to relax.
4. Incorporate Mobile
At one time, businesses were at a disadvantage for not having a website. Now, technology has shifted again and businesses that fail to incorporate mobile options into their queue are the ones suffering. Mobile options allow customers to register for their place in line, communicate directly with service agents, and receive text alerts when their turn is imminent. This method goes hand-in-hand with the virtual queue, making that method of queue management even more attractive and versatile to customers and businesses alike.
5. Allow for “Pre-Scheduling”
Who doesn’t love making a reservation? You know you have a spot waiting for you even if you’re not actually there yet. Being able to pre-schedule your place in line far ahead of walking through the doors of a business can relieve the pressure of not knowing what kind of wait to expect. Pre-scheduling puts the power of waiting in the hands of the customer, allowing them to schedule their place in line from their PC or handheld device, even enabling them to change up or slightly delay their spot in the queue if their schedule has changed.
The secret behind savvy queue alterations lies in presenting your customers with options and opportunities to be in charge of their own wait. Your queue is a means to an end, and offering various ways to get to that final position will keep customers feeling powerful while also improving the efficiency of your queues.
Learn more about queue management at the Lavi Industries website.