The average customer spends a staggering 43 days of their lives on hold with an automated agent, research from Nexa has found.
In the CX solution’s new whitepaper, titled The Fundamentals of Queue Management, the company give tips on how to improve queue management so businesses can retain their customer base following.
They also discuss the psychological effects of waiting in a queue, referencing the paper ‘The Psychology of Waiting’ by David Maister, who acknowledged that it is not enough for service-based organisations to concern themselves with how long their customers have been waiting but also how their waits are experienced. The biggest source of anxiety in waiting is how long the wait will be, with research showing customers generally over estimate their wait time by 36%.
It reads: “Depending on the experience, a three-minute wait could feel like a moment in time or an eternity. Understanding what factors impact the waiting experience is an important step in the process to better queue management.”
Queue management is divided into two parts, the number of channels (or servers) and the number of phases of service, the whitepaper explains:
- Single channel single phase has only one server. As soon as a customer is attended to, they receive full service like an automated car wash
- Single channel multi phase his has one server and a multi-step servicing process like a bank with different counters for withdrawals and deposits
- Multi channel single phase has several servers and a one-step servicing process like an airline ticket counter with separate queues for business class and economy class passengers
- Multi channel multi phase has several servers and a multi-step servicing process like a laundromat with several washers and dryers
On how to better manage queues to improve CX, the company offered up these top tips:
- Get virtual: Allowing customers to book an appointment online at a time that suits them means they can wait anywhere, minimising long lines in the service centre
- Single is Superior: If you cannot avoid a queue, a single-line queue leading to multiple servers automatically instils fairness by enforcing a first-come first-served process
- Knowledge is power: Insight into wait times, arrival and service rates and other traffic trends allow organisations to predict customer activity. This data can then be used to better manage queues
- Be Honest: By providing customers with an estimate of how long they will be waiting, management can proactively manage customer expectations. If it is impossible to determine the expected wait time
- Plan for Peaks: Understanding when your service centre is at its busiest means management can better prepare for the influx of customers and deploy more staff to keep wait times at an acceptable level
- Clear Signage: Clear and visible signage will ensure customers go to the right service desk the first time. Frustrations mount when customers must re-queue or are unsure of where to go. Digital signage can also double up as a source of additional information and entertainment
- Activate the Wait: When people are kept busy they have less time to think about how long they have been waiting. Find ways to distract your waiting customers through music, merchandising, TV, free wifi, game stations or information resources
Access the whitepaper here.