Mind Your Queues: Why You Need Queues and How to Excel At Them
In our fast paced world, the last thing we want to do is wait. Add in capacity restrictions and limited returns, and you have the perfect recipe for long lines in your stores. These long lines have the power to take your customer’s experience from a good one to a bad one, and fast. A survey by American Express suggests that customers are willing to wait for 13 minutes, after which they lose patience and start developing negative brand experiences.
To avoid this, queues are a must. Implementing a queue management system can aid in improving the flow of customers throughout your store as well as the interactions customers have with both your associates and merchandise.
Now that you have an understanding of the importance of queues, here are 4 ways to excel at them.
#1. Understand the Current Flow of Your Store
Queues aren’t one size fits all. While a return queue may make sense if you have high volumes of returns coming in your doors, a simple store entry queue or clienteling queue may make more sense for those with low volumes of returns. With such a large number of queues to choose from, it is critical that you first understand the current flow of your customers through your store and identify associated pain points.
Important things to keep an eye out for are sticking points where customers experience crowding. Common areas to see this occur are at entrance, fitting rooms, waiting for an associate, and of course checkout. Based on these observations, you can ensure the queues you choose will compliment, not detract, from your customer’s experience.
#2. Offer Mobile Capabilities
An obvious but often overlooked method to implementing queues is to offer a mobile option. Customers adapted to digital-first throughout 2020. Offering a mobile queuing solution offers numerous capabilities such as allowing customers to select merchandise they are interested in so they are ready when they come in-store, allowing upsells to be added once they arrive.
Another opportunity with mobile queueing solutions is returns or BOPUS, allowing customers to select their reason for coming in to ensure the appropriate staff member is ready to handle their request, freeing up valuable checkout queue space.
#3. Train Associates
Now that you have selected your queues, the next critical step is training your associates. Store staff are the personal component that differentiates online from in-store experiences, as many customers choose to come in-store for this very reason. Being that you are adding a new flow for your customers, training your associates ensures customers receive a great experience in-store from start to finish.
Another important factor to a successful queue management solution is optimized staffing. Queues assist in flattening the peak curve of customers wait times in store, allowing retailers to better allocate their staff. This aids in lowering labor costs while avoiding employee and customer frustrations.
#4. Partner with an Expert
While you can do all of the above on your own, the best possible experience is guaranteed when you partner with a queue expert. This partner will assist you in understanding holes in your current customer experience, what queues will best fill these holes, training your staff, and delivering on key performance metrics.
Mind Your Queues
Queues are a vital piece of the retail puzzle moving forward. While queues have always been an important aspect of retail, COVID-19 brought a much needed revamp to the traditional shopping experience. By implementing a queue management system, customers are able to shop without the wait while you are able to optimize your overhead spend, a win-win.