This holiday season boost your customer experience by reducing queues and wait times everywhere.
The holiday season may not be the best time of the year for those working in customer service and support. Support queues are out of control, customers expect to be assisted 24/7, and the number of demands and purchases are at their highest of the year. Long queues are another major point of concern when considering the CX during the holiday season. While lines can be unavoidable at times, long wait times are another story. Customers expect to wait, but once the wait times become unreasonable, many will abandon a queue in search of a faster service at another company.
These spikes in demand take considerable planning and preparation from staff to provide the type of service that customers expect.
During one of the busiest times of the year, it is important to know what your customers want and to provide them with solutions as fast and effectively as possible.
It’s all about perception: how do customers perceive wait time?
According to the study in the Journal of Consumer Behavior, the total wait time in any service situation (bank, hospital, restaurant) can be divided into three cycles:
For example, in a coffee shop:
- Pre-process → customer is in line waiting to make an order.
- In-process → customer is at the counter, gives their order to the staff, and pays.
- Post-process → customer waits for their order to be ready.
During these three cycles, customers actively perceive wait times and service quality, and how the two balance to create their CX. In this case, a customer who waits 10 minutes in line before ordering is likely to feel more dissatisfied than a customer who waits 10 minutes for their order to be prepared, even if the total service time for both cases is the same.
The study also shows that customers’ perception of how long they have been waiting has a strong influence on customer satisfaction.
This perception is highly subjective and influenced by factors such as personality, expectations, being in a hurry, etc. During the holiday seasons, given the fact that customers are more likely to feel pressured by the demands of the season, it’s probable that they perceive wait times to be longer than usual.
The good news is that businesses can influence the way customers experience waiting, and they can optimize business operations to reduce the frequency of slow service times and long queues.
How do you give your customers something to be thankful for this holiday season?
Expand your support team and increase your staff productivity
Knowing that the number of customers will increase during the holiday season, it is essential to count on a support team that’s able to manage the influx of requests. A company has ways to fill the staffing needs during the busy season, by either hiring temporary or seasonal staff or calculating the amount of extra permanent staff that is needed to meet the upsurge in customers.
To achieve their business goals, each branch must organize offers with an automated queue solution in mind. An automated queue solution allows businesses to determine the precise days and times that extra staff is needed.
At the same time, the system can provide information about employees’ performance, indicating which areas need improvement and which areas are working.
Automate your services and reduce customer wait times
Every holiday season customers expect to stand in line for long amounts of time, trying to fill their shopping needs at the same time as everyone else. While expected, it is not desired and customers are frequently dissatisfied by the time they reach the service counter.
This results in losing customers due to queue abandonment, as well as a less-likely scenario to interact positively with staff after a long wait time.
No business wants to see customers spending large amounts of time waiting. It decreases revenue and creates a poor reputation and low brand loyalty. This issue can be easily resolved with Q-Anywhere.
Q-Anywhere can help businesses during this busy time by reducing or optimizing wait times. The software generates a code that informs customers of their virtual place in line and updates them with any changes such as estimated wait time and changes to their place in line. This technology allows customers to wait anywhere for appointments, improving the CX and leaving customers in control of their time. Customers are notified via their channel of choice, WhatsApp, SMS, etc. when it is their turn in line. They can then return or visit the store or branch location for streamlined customer service.
Provide better communication channels
While an effective Queue Management System streamlines customer flow, reduces perceived wait times, and allows customers to be informed of their status throughout the journey, it is still important to remember that good communication is key to getting the most out of the software.
Customers need to be in control of their time and understand how the system works. By providing essential communication points between staff and customers, you are ensuring that all parties have a clear and direct understanding of the process.
By having these open lines of communication, your staff has a better understanding of customer expectations, ultimately being able to provide a better service.
Further, it not only saves staff time but also improves the entire CX.
Take care of your team and record what you’ve learned
Though customers are the main characters of the season, it is important to take care of your staff and record learnings throughout the holiday rush.
This process can help your business learn what areas need to be focused on for next year, as well as provide insight to staff needs and expectations.
It is also important to take note of what issues slow down any processes in order to improve inefficiencies in the system.
Taking all aspects into consideration will only help your business be more successful the next holiday season.
Make it possible with ACF’s Q-Anywhere Platform
Focusing on spending time enjoying the holidays can be difficult when trying to come up with a solution to improve your company's customer experience.
By counting on an automated system, businesses can boost their productivity and the customer experience without having to commit unnecessary time to complete other tasks.
The goal is to provide a stress-free holiday experience for both staff and customers. By streamlining customer wait times and reducing time spent on back-office processes that can be automated, your business will improve across all main touchpoints of the customer journey.
ACF Technologies’ mission is to provide businesses with a system that they can trust, and that helps them achieve both seasonal and yearly goals.