Too much waiting in line can be a boring and very miserable experience. However, regardless of whether you are waiting for an appointment with the doctor, waiting to transfer money in a bank, or retail line doing shopping, this experience is inevitable.
Various businesses handle their waiting customers differently, which could influence the customers’ experience differently.
It is ok that delays happen as part of human life; however, choosing the best way of handling waiting customers is essential in giving a positive service experience to clients and a positive brand name.
This post will furnish you with tips on handling waiting customers and, consequently, turning them to return customers.
Why modern businesses need to manage waiting customers
The new-age consumers are a restless lot, and technology has provided them with convenient shopping and immediate satisfaction; high industry competition has given them plenty of choices.
Therefore, in this regard, contact centers need to be conscious more than ever by providing assistance that is in line with this new crop of empowered customers.
Let’s look at the various benefits of handling waiting customers effectively.
A proper customer management system gives you a clear picture of your customer flow at any given time.
Employing solutions like virtual queue management software provides you with data to understand your customer’s resources, shopping patterns, and how they are distributed within your environment.
With this insightful data, you can design a strategic plan on how you can position your staff, the kind of goods to stock, and the peak time of your clients’ shopping.
Additionally, this will also help channel your money in the right way by purchasing only the necessary things. This further avoids dead stock and enables you to maximize the returns.
Improve staff efficiencies to profitability and up sales
During high queue times, your employees may be forced to organize the lines manually, which may not be useful for the business and can portray a bad picture of the enterprise.
To avoid this and ensure high profitability, it is advisable to implement various customer support systems.
For instance, using the auto call forward technology, which calls customers forward automatically to the next available service desk, allows your staff to manage other vital needs of customers.
Solutions like auto call forward have been proven to handle as much as 25% more customers than the manual system of handling waiting customers either in a queue or in a waiting lobby.
Increased customer retention and loyalty rates
Poor management of waiting customers and bad queue conditions often leads to customer loss, hence a bad reputation of the business to the world.
In a world where customers are spoilt for choices when their expectations are not met, it is essential to do everything possible to satisfy them or opt for other options such as online shopping or visiting a competitor’s shop.
Additionally, the fame and penetration of social media like Facebook and Twitter may result in dissatisfied customers’ posts going viral in a flash. They can keep off new customers from visiting your store.
Having an ideal queue management system and a streamlined method of handling waiting customers can help avoid this occurrence.
To further maximize these strategies, enforce this method on days synonymous with large crowds and long lines like black Fridays and during high shopping seasons like Christmas.
Adopting this will make your customers avoid hopping from your shop instead of promoting a good waiting session in your business.
Keeps queues and waiting areas organized
Disorganized queues and lobbies can frustrate your customers once in the lobby or waiting line and ultimately prevent others from joining the queue.
During busy times, lines can always become longer than the designated queueing area, and the lobbies become crowded. This usually disrupts other customers who have not yet joined the line causing further annoyance among customers.
For organized queues and waiting areas, it is vital to implement various queue management solutions such as retractable barriers.
Do this by going for portable systems like the Tensabarrier Range, which people can use on pushchairs and wheelchairs without any restrictions. This can also be customized according to your business’s name.
Effectively applying the above-discussed methods can easily make your waiting areas and queues organized. This can help in enhancing your customers’ waiting experience and boost the business reputation.
Why businesses need to implement an online queue management system
Nobody likes waiting in queues for long. This is because it always comes out as a waste of time to customers, and most of them will walk away or avoid the business premises on their next shopping.
As an enterprise, one of your primary goals is to provide a first-class customer experience. One of the ideal ways of doing this is to implement an online queue management system. And help you reduce long lines and produce an exceptional customer experience.
The queue management system has a lot of benefits than simply helping you eliminate long lines. Below will give you the various reasons you should implement an online queue management system for your business.
1. It reduces wait times
Of the top benefits of using an online queue management system is reduced wait times for your customers. Nothing can be more frustrating than waiting in a slow moving line or sitting hopelessly in the waiting lobby, not knowing when your turn will reach.
Setting an appropriate queue and wait time management system helps reduce walkaways, reduce wait times, and create a more organized queueing procedure.
These solutions also allow clients to check into the line via a computer, smartphone, or on-site kiosk. They can also check in with a person in your waiting lobby or leave a voice message.
Additionally, it gives your clients the convenience of checking the line from any place and joins when it is ideal for them. The effective queue management system has proven to reduce on-site wait times by up to 97% and boost your business revenue by 75%.
2. Provides virtual wait rooms
Online queue management systems enable your clients to receive various services without getting into a physical line or even avoiding the need to check in the line at all.
Your clients do not have to be on-site until their appointment time since they “wait” on virtual lines. This creates more space in your site waiting rooms hence reducing unnecessary staff disturbances.
Furthermore, you can effectively manage and handle your on-site walk-ins, scheduled appointments, and waiting customers. And also give extra time to those who can’t make it in time.
These systems also give you a complete and real-time view of each of your firm’s waiting areas and queues. This allows you to manage your resources more effectively and produce excellent service to your clients and good asset management.
3. Improve staff satisfaction
Poorly organized queues are confusing, and your staff will invest much of their time doing traffic management, controlling the temper of frustrated clients, and ensuring customers follow the correct procedure. This makes staffs very worked up and reduces job satisfaction.
An operational queue management software relieves your staff of most of the duties, giving them time to handle other relevant tasks, hence increasing satisfaction.
Similarly, when you do proper tracking and management of waiting time, your staffs get to focus on their tasks and engage satisfied customers more. Remember, happy customers, result to a happy team!
4. Reduce costs
The most important reason you should consider implementing a queue management system is its cost-saving features. Managing waiting customers effectively, improving productivity, and enhancing customer satisfaction results in more effective operational procedures.
Further, when you identify a problem or a process that needs to be improved, you get a chance to reduce costs and increase your earning potential.
Increase your profits by eliminating inefficiency and wastes. Adopting a queue management solution can help push productivity and build an efficient working process.
5. Utilize data effectively
Most of the line management solutions have a tracking and reporting feature, which gives you the ability to transform every customer’s activities into an opportunity to learn more about your business. You also get to improve your operations.
Furthermore, an operational queue management system will enable you to identify various problems and other factors that slow down productivity and reduce production. Once you have noticed the bottlenecks, you can develop an appropriate solution to tackle them appropriately.
These systems allow you to receive feedback from clients so you can know the exact feeling of your clients towards your processes.
Such feedback can be used to create processes that are in line with the customers’ needs without compromising on your overall sales and service strategy.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, an online queue management system can help you create and implement strategies that meet your customers’ needs.
Using customers’ surveys, on-site data, and engaging in interactive communication with the clients, you get a general idea of the areas to improve so as to provide the best services to your customers.
6. Streamline communication
Another significant benefit of implementing digital queue management software is the ability to streamline communication. The system offers a bi-directional communication ability between your contact staff and customers.
The ability to communicate through texts, email, or via apps give your customers the freedom of checking into line, check status updates, and request extra time in line or check out of line.
Such prompt communication also allows your staff to prepare and concentrate on other vital issues that need attendance without wasting time thinking the customers will arrive.
You also get to know when it is appropriate for you to be served, depending on the level of urgency that you may have.
Having understood the reasons for managing waiting customers and the benefits that come with implementing an online queue management system, let’s find the various tips for handling waiting customers for maximum profitability.
Subtle tips on handling waiting customers in your business
As it has been stated before, waiting too much in line can be a very frustrating experience and can lead to customers avoid seeking services from you.
It takes concerted efforts of both the management and staff to ensure that the primary goal of meeting the customers’ needs and keeping them satisfied throughout the stay within your business are achieved.
Below are some useful tips to effectively handle and manage waiting customers and help your contact center achieve the highest level of customer experience.
Set clear expectations
It is always important to let the customers know long; they will have to wait before being served. This does not only make them have a clear expectation but allows them to use their time in a way they deem right.
For instance, they could attend to some pressing tasks, answer a text message, or even grab a coffee. Furthermore, when you give honest information about the time customers need to wait, they can choose if it is worth the wait or call back later.
Doing all these will create confidence between your customers and the customer care center, leading to a positive brand name that transforms into high profit for the business.
Initiate prompt communication when there is a delay
In any business world, the infrastructure and the environment have many challenges that can lead to an unforeseen delay in the various stages of operations.
In such a situation, customers should be offered an apology and make them know the actual cause of the delay.
Naturally, most customers understand honesty and value it a lot. They will further feel respected by the business and ensure they come back next time.
Prompt communication also relieves you the pressure of attending to many clients amid delay; it gives you enough time to program and face the cause of the delay effectively.
You also allow your client to know that they cannot be served in time. Therefore they get to engage in other important businesses in time and plan for the next visit.
Keep waiting time pleasant
Customers will mostly reach your contact center when there are not happy with something in your business. The least they want to hear is the plain beeping of the phone or the endless automated voice when they are waiting for the services.
To ensure that you do not irritate your waiting customers further, it is best to keep their waiting time more gratifying.
You may ask yourself how you can achieve this. Let’s explore some of the various ways to keep your waiting customers happy.
Offering services does not have to be done anonymously. Have the details of your first customers, learn their shopping trend, and then personalize the next transactions to fit how the customer always likes it.
This way, the customer will feel valued and a part of the business, sealing the deal as a return client to your enterprise.
To achieve more with this strategy, business administrators should: implement software that handles personalized services and train their staff to shift to personalized communication instead of the usual generic communication when dealing with customers.
Magazines, newspapers, and TV
Waiting too long in a line or a hall may bring a lot of tension among customers or even lead to some leaving your premises without doing any transaction.
Creating a newspaper and magazine stand in your waiting lobby would engage your customers for some time in your business or even make them pass by your store more regularly.
Do your compilation selectively, depending on the type of audience you have in your business. For instance, a sports bar would be ideal with sports magazines. At the same time, a more conservative set would benefit from political newspapers and related bits.
Another great way of keeping your customers’ wait time pleasant is to install a TV in the waiting hall. You can tune to a sporting channel with the latest match or a music channel. Pick a movie or cartoon depending on what fits your audience best.
This will allow your regular customers to plan their time around some exciting coverage on TV and avoid canceling their stay due to a specific match or movie at the theatre.
Use guerilla marketing
This is a creative marketing and advertisement strategy for business people who want to develop lasting ideas to promote their brands unusually at a relatively low price.
If your sales team can produce creative ideas, then guerilla marketing can help increase your brand awareness. This also can lead to more online exposure as customers will take photos of your campaign and share them with friends on various social media platforms.
You can also share and discuss your partners’ ideas and find ways to generate some revenue by promoting other products in your place.
Brochures and bonus points
Brochures or flyers are commonly used in large stores or banks. However, a few businesses are adopting its usage due to the impact it has on upselling services.
Compile the latest products and services or promotions on a weekly/monthly basis and give them to customers waiting in line.
Though customers have a specific thing that they want to get from your store, they always find a product offered by clients more appealing and would go for it.
Repeat clients could also take advantage of other promotional programs like the bonus point program, making them loyal clients and brand ambassadors to your business.
Create a self-service stand
Everybody loves to feel empowered and able to solve most things on their own. There is a more substantial need for this, more so in a digital world where technology has revolutionized the scope of customer care.
In this regard, it is essential to set opportunities such as live chat, self-service web kiosk so that your customers do have to reach contact centers and check into the waiting line. Options like these also help in load sharing, especially during peak hours.
Training of agents
Any business that wants to improve its ways of handling waiting customers should invest in skilled staff because they have the basics that can reduce customers’ wait time.
Skilled agents possess the acumens required to handle calls and provide solutions to customers professionally and most efficiently with courtesy and clarity.
In a nutshell, skilled staff will take more calls and attend to more clients faster, hence helping to clear a huge number of waiting customers.
Identify and rectify chokepoints
Regardless of how efficient your processes are, there is always a chance of clogging in your system. The ideal way of addressing this is to understand how the workflow runs and find each system’s role.
Suppose you understand the vital aspects of a system and its behaviors during a customer shopping journey. In that case, the impact of downtime on customers’ wait time can be reduced drastically.
Share the right information
Most of the time, you realize that customers wait because they are not in the right place. Regularly check your website and see if there is enough guidance for clients during their shopping journey or if the staff can direct the information to the appropriate authorities.
When you boost customers’ experience, they are less likely to find it hard calling your contact centers.
Waiting too much in line to be served is a very hard task, and it is more frustrating given the uncertainty involved. It is this reality that makes handling waiting customers a challenging job.
Business owners should be more sensitive in addressing this issue and strive to offer satisfying and more transparent services to customers.
With proper infrastructure, skilled staff, and an operational system, wait time can be reduced and optimized for the benefit of the business.
Implementing the tips mentioned above on handling waiting customers would certainly ensure improved customer service leading to more satisfied customers who double up as your business’ ambassador.