Since stores began reopening, leading forward-thinking retail brands across the UK have been deploying virtual queuing software and appointment booking software to ensure social distancing and a more positive customer experience.
Such software enables customers to stay comfortable and safe by limiting time standing in physical queues, through pre-booking the time that they plan to visit or by joining a virtual queue that automatically updates them while they wait for service.
This approach reduces the risk of the Coronavirus from spreading and eases stress and uncertainty for both customers and store associates.
At this extremely challenging time, where social distancing is essential, public anxiety and uncertainty is rife and with winter fast approaching us, such technology crucially helps brands to build stronger brand relationships and to help preserve the physical and mental well-being of the general public.
Queues are a significant cause of uncertainty, friction and contention at a time where this is something that we should all be working to reduce wherever possible. Yet, there are endless media reports of long queues forming outside of stores in wet and windy conditions, and of fights breaking out within queues inside of stores that put social distancing measures at risk.
A virtual queuing system and appointment booking software not only benefits the consumers using it, it also adds significant value to businesses by increasing footfall, sales, productivity and loyalty. Not only can such software keep the general public physically safe and mentally at ease, it can also help to keep the economy in motion through building customer confidence to visit the high streets and increasing their spend and likelihood of returning.
How virtual queuing software and appointment booking software work
Virtual queuing software enables customers to queue remotely to enter a store or to receive service in a non-linear fashion by joining a virtual queue either through a host with a tablet, a self-service kiosk or from their own mobile phone (using an app, a QR code or an SMS code). Customers are then provided with their position and intelligently calculated, personalized wait time information based on staff availability and the customers ahead of them in the queue. Customers can then remain updated of their wait time and queue position throughout their wait by SMS message, a personalized smartphone countdown and TV displays in-store.
Using a virtual queuing app means that a customer can join a virtual queue and wait in their car, browse a store, or even go get a coffee, while they wait for service.
Customers are usually automatically updated and called forward as the queue progresses due to staff manually updating the software as they service customers or by the queue automatically updating due to time changes or footfall counter data.
Appointment booking software enables customers to schedule fixed time-slots within which they would like to visit a location or receive service, either via a website or through communication with a store associate or call center agent. Once their appointment is booked, customers receive confirmation and reminder emails and SMS messages with links to cancel their appointment or reschedule if they need to.
During Covid-19 many brands are also giving their customers the option to schedule virtual service to connect with advisors from the comfort of their own homes.
When combined with virtual queuing software, this means customers can book a fixed place in a queue and walk-in/queuing customers can be intelligently placed around them based on staff availability.