4 Awesome Outcomes of a Well-Planned Queue
It can’t be emphasized enough that your queues/waiting lines are critical junctures in the customer experience. Business is quite literally won and lost when you ask customers to wait in line. Even a few minutes can make or break brand loyalty and a lifetime of sales from each customer.
Consider these statistics:
- A majority of customers (80-90%) would leave for another retailer just to experience a shorter checkout queue. (Romsey 1992)
- People overestimate how long they’ve waited in a line by about 36 percent (NY Times)
- Half of customers will purposely avoid a brand in the future if they must wait longer than 5 minutes. (Wall Street Journal)
- Customers are likely to abandon a queue after only 2 or 3 minutes if it’s not moving fast enough. (Wall Street Journal)
But there’s another side to the queuing equation. When you take the time to invest in a well-planned queue, your business stands to benefit in a number of ways. Years of experience across industry sectors have revealed to us the following benefits of a well-planned queue:
1. Greater Efficiency
Quite simply, a well-planned queue means you can serve more people faster. And serving people faster can be achieved in a couple of ways: (1) by employing an efficient queue configuration that reduces the variation in customer waiting time; and/or (2) by using technology to handle variables such as an influx of new customers in the queue or to automate the process of calling customers forward to an open service station. Technology has many uses and has shown to boost queuing efficiency by 35% or more in our field studies. Likewise, paying attention to the configuration of your queue can make a big difference. For example, did you know a single line/multi-server queue is faster than a multi-line/multi-server queue?
2. Lower Costs
With greater efficiency comes lower costs and lower costs can benefit everyone–employees and customers alike. More room in the margins means being able to offer lower prices to customers and greater rewards for employees – perks like technology upgrades to make their jobs easier and maybe even higher pay for your best agents.
3. Increased Revenues
Another advantage of a well-planned queue is that your customer’s idle time can become a way to increase impulse sales. This can be true when you bring merchandising into the queue in a strategic and appealing way or use virtual queuing to free customers to continue shopping (and spending more) while they wait. When you design and manage your customer’s queuing experience with revenues in mind, everyone wins.
4. Improved Customer Experience
Perhaps the most resounding benefit of a well-planned queue is a better overall customer experience. Shortening wait times, making the wait more pleasant, and giving customers options to wait in a virtual queue, schedule their arrival times, assign customers to the right service agents, and much more means your customers spend less time waiting and more time feeling valued. A well-planned queue can offer all of this and more.
Take the critical steps to assess your current queue plans and ensure you’re doing everything you can to optimize your customer experience, increase efficiency, and generate more revenue.
The checkout queue is your last opportunity to make a great impression. And planning and tending to it is an investment with big dividends. If you want support or guidance as you plan, feel free to reach out to the Lavi experts anytime. We’re here to help you maximize the potential of your queue.