Queue management software or a queue management system is a digital software that allows organizations such as retailers and banks to let customers join virtual queues instead of physical queues. Customers join the virtual queue, are given an estimated wait time and position number, and are notified of their place in the queue as their turn draws near.
A queuing system enables retail brands and other organizations to provide customers with a faster and more enjoyable waiting experience, as it allows customers to carry out other tasks while they wait to be served, such as shopping for other products in-store or returning to the store later.
Investing in a queue system is vital for retailers. According to a recent study by A.T. Kearney, 81% of Gen Z prefers to shop in stores and 73% likes to discover new products in stores – however, younger generations of consumers are also fickle, impatient and expect the latest technology when visiting a store.
We have pulled together a comprehensive guide retailers and other organizations can use to select the best queue management software for their business needs.
How queue management software can help during Covid-19
Virtual queuing systems are increasing in popularity due to the coronavirus outbreak. Instead of asking customers to line up in queues, retailers and other organizations can use a queue app to allow customers to join a virtual queue.
This means customers can join a queue using a contactless channel, such as through your website or in-app interface, QR code, SMS, or IoT device. Customers can then return to the store when their turn is near.
Many retailers are currently using queue management systems alongside appointment scheduling software because some customers want to book fixed time-slots to reduce time in store, while it’s also critical to manage an inevitable stream of walk-in customers for shorter and longer services.
Many retailers are also using queue management software to create contactless BOPIS or click and collect experiences using click and collect check-in software. This allows customers to join virtual queues to pick-up their online orders, which they can do in-store, at the store entrance, or from their cars. Customers can let store associates know when they’re close, or even book a time-slot to pick up their order using appointment scheduling software. This way customers don’t have to wait in physical queues and can come back to the store when their order is ready to pick up.
Key benefits of queue management software
There are a number of benefits to incorporating a queuing system into your store or business, including:
- Reduced customer walkouts.
- Increased customer conversion rates.
- Higher sales spend.
- Increased unplanned purchasing.
- Improved customer loyalty and advocacy.
- Improved resource allocation.
- Higher store associate productivity.
- Saved physical space.
- Reduced consulting spend.
- Smarter commercial decisions.
- Increased staff retention.
- Improved GDPR compliance.
- More ROI generated.
And, during Covid-19, additional benefits include:
- A safe, contactless customer journey.
- Limit the number of customers in-store.
- Efficient and engaging customer experience.
6 things to consider before choosing a queue management software provider
1) Determine your customer journey
A quality SaaS provider will take a consultative approach before implementing their solutions, and will be able to help you determine the best customer experience for your business needs, but it’s worth putting in time to establish what you are trying to achieve and what you want the customer journey to look like first.
Here are some of the most common use cases for a queue management system:
- Queuing for in-person services: eliminate queues in your stores to specific in-person services, such as technical servicing, styling advice or fitting rooms, by allowing customers to join virtual queues.
- Virtual queuing outside of store: instead of asking customers to line up outside your stores during Covid-19, limit the number of customers in-store by allowing them to join a digital queue and return when it’s their turn. Some retailers are using appointment scheduling software to counter this challenge by allowing customers to select time-slots to visit stores.
- BOPIS/click and collect: let customers visiting your store to pickup online orders do so quickly and safely by allowing them to check-in at the curbside, store entrance or car park, which is great for creating a contactless pickup experience.
- Virtual service via phone or video: allow customers requiring a service to digitally queue for phone or video calls instead of waiting on hold.
2) Identify what functionalities are important to your brand
Modern queue management systems come with a range of innovative functionalities. Here are some of the basic requirements:
- Easy to access virtual queues: customers should be able to check in through a variety of channels, including your store meeter-greeters, hosts or receptionists, self-service kiosks, websites or in-app interfaces, as well as through QR codes, SMS and IoT devices.
- Accurate wait time estimates: once in a queue, customers should receive accurate and carefully calculated wait time estimates to manage their expectations and create a positive experience.
- Real-time notifications: customers should receive real-time notifications letting them know once they have signed up for a queue, their position in the queue, how long they should expect to wait, and when their turn is near.
- Tailored journey interfaces: allow customers to join different queue journeys for different types of queues.
- Prioritize loyal or VIP customers: you should have the ability to reward loyal or VIP customers by placing them in separate queues or bringing them to the front of the queue.
- Manage multiple customer journeys: store associates should be able to create multiple queues for different customer journeys in your store, and easily transfer customers from one queue to another.
- Customizable to your brand: the queuing interface should be customizable to your brand guidelines and messaging.
- Multiple languages: a queuing system should be able to serve customers in multiple languages and on a global scale.
- Data privacy: it should abide by data privacy laws, such as ISO27001 and GDPR, allowing staff to safely manage and store customer details.
- CRM integration: the ability to pair customers in your queue with preexisting customer profile records in your CRM database is an important requirement.
- Accessible on any device: customers and employees should be able to access the queuing system on their desktop, tablet or smartphone devices.
- Shop floor management: store managers or team leaders should be able to manage multiple queues across the shop floor from a single device.
- Outcome reporting: your head office and store management teams should be able to create reports to measure performance.
- Post visit follow up: allow employees to follow up after customer visits by sending follow up messages or scheduling future appointments.
- Subscribe for updates: enable customers to register for information updates about a particular service or product, and update them individually or all at once.
3) Flexibility and adaptability
When searching for a SaaS provider, it’s important to find a partner that not only understands your needs, but is willing to work with you to find an approach that suits your business rather than trying to force a one-size-fits-all approach.
During the pitching process, make sure they’re willing to get into the technical specifics and that your questions are answered by both technical and commercial experts to ensure all bases are covered.
It’s also important to find a provider with a range of solutions aside from queue management software. For instance, Qudini offer queue management software, appointment scheduling software, event management software and task management software to a range of retail and retail banking enterprises, and thanks to our dynamic mix of solutions, we have been able to quickly step in and help our clients in a multitude of ways during Covid-19, such as creating virtual queues outside of stores, allowing customers to book time-slot appointments to visit stores, and eliminating in-store queues by enabling customers to virtually queue or book appointments for in-person or online services.
4) Ensure suitability and security with proven experience
In today’s digitally-driven age, where digital innovation and transformation is constantly redefining life as we know it, experience isn’t everything.
But that being said, there are a number of new queuing solutions appearing in the market since Covid-19 that have been built within a matter months. These solutions lack the algorithmic complexities of a true virtual queuing system. Instead of providing customers and store associates with intelligent wait-time calculations and automatically and intelligently updating them as their turn progresses, we’re seeing a number of queuing apps that simply build lists or to-do lists of waiting customers.
Not only does this create a poor customer experience, it also comes with a number of security risks, as they lack the network design, vulnerability scanning penetration testing, ISO27001 and GDPR compliance processes and accreditation necessary to manage customer’s personal data.
You can read more on how Qudini ensure maximum security, high availability and prioritization of privacy at our security page here.
5) Intelligent wait time calculations
Carefully and intelligently calculated wait times estimates will make the difference between a positive and a negative customer experience – and with the wrong software provider, you could soon see customer engagement and loyalty start to slip.
An effective queue management system such as Qudini’s has built-in, highly intelligent algorithms that calculate wait-times for each individual customer using a combination of real-time, configured and historic data. When customers are added to the queue, an initial wait time is calculated and quoted to the customer. This should account for current staff availability including their upcoming breaks, bookings and tasks. Each customer’s estimated wait time then continually updates through accounting for real-time activities, such as changes to staff member availability and speed of service. Store associates should be given an estimated wait time for each customer, which can be provided to the customer when they first check-in and when they ask, helping to manage their expectations.
6) Manage walk-in customers alongside those with fixed appointments
A decent queue management software provider will also be able to intelligently manage your walk-in customers alongside your fixed appointments and help prioritize customers with appointments scheduled in. On any given day your store associates should be able to see all scheduled appointments in order of their booked time within a single intuitive list. As customers walk in to your venue requesting the next available appointment, you can then seamlessly add the walk-in customers into the queue.
Qudini will intelligently calculate customer wait times based on your advisors’ availability and upcoming bookings. Upon calculating a walk-in customer’s wait time, Qudini will display customers in the queue before and after your upcoming appointments in the order that they are likely to be seen based on their requirements.
Why use Qudini’s queue management software?
Qudini is the market leading queue management system provider with appointment scheduling capabilities in enterprise retail and banking, offering a highly centralized, flexible, customizable, robust and secure solution that works on any device.
Having operated in the queue management and appointment booking space for eight years, Qudini has developed highly intelligent and complex algorithms presented in perfectly refined interfaces that are simple for your teams to use and manage.
- Highly intelligent algorithms to manage queues and wait times.
- Most extensive data offering on the market with options for custom dashboards.
- Integrated with appointment booking software, allowing brands to balance walk-in customers alongside fixed appointments.
- Enterprise grade.
- Cloud-based and centralized.
- ISO27001 and GDPR compliant.
- Flexible and customizable.
- Intelligently calculated send times for SMS notifications.
- One platform, multiple solutions, rich functionality.
- Stand alone, yet easy to integrate.
- Simple to deploy and use.
- Fully hardware compatible with: desktop, IOS and Android app for store associates and web-based consumer interfaces that integrate with your website and mobile apps.
- And, best of all all, this is supported by an agile, consultative and impact-oriented team.
- Find out more about our platform
During Covid-19, this also means you can:
- Provide a safe and engaging service by allowing customers to join queues on mobile interfaces and appointment booking interfaces with customizable weblinks with queue positions and wait times.
- Better manage staff and your shop floor thanks to our intelligently calculated wait times.
- See how many customers are in-store at any one given time with our new occupancy tracking feature that supports brands during Covid-19.
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