Virtual queuing is one of many digital tools that assist companies in providing better and faster services to their customers. It is based on the simple idea that customers should not have to wait in a physical line for a service. They can, instead, go about their day and arrive at the service facility at their scheduled time.
Because most retail and hospitality organisations have only recently begun using virtual queuing solutions, there is still much to learn and improve.
Virtual Queue Examples
Virtual queuing systems come in many shapes and sizes, as they are based on traditional queues.
The following are some examples of virtual queues you may encounter:
➤ First-In, First-Out (FIFO) Virtual Queues
They are based on the linear first-come, first-served principle. Most people agree it’s the fairest way to manage a queue.
What would a simple scenario entail?
Imagine it’s the week before the start of the school year, and you go shopping for school supplies with your children.
As you might expect, the store will be crowded with parents and children interested in the “Back to School” deals. However, when you arrive at the department store, you may be able to scan a QR code that allows you to save your place in a virtual queue. If you like, you can take your kids to eat ice cream while the store sends you text message updates.
➤ Scheduled Virtual Queues
A scheduled virtual queue is one in which a business allows customers to book appointments through an online calendar application.
This is a great feature to implement because clients don’t rely on a strict schedule to interact with your company.
➤ Hybrid Queues
A hybrid queue could be created, for example, when you go to a local hardware store to rent a power tool in order to install some accessories on your bathroom walls.
You can start by scheduling a call with customer service and providing them with the information they need for equipment rental. This way, you don’t have to wait for someone to help you at the shop. You could even use an online payment method to save more time.
If the rental feature is rarely used at that particular store, an additional virtual queue is unlikely to be implemented. As a result, you will only have to wait a short time in line to receive your power tool.
➤ Fully Virtual Queues
They typically employ software that combines several features to provide a complete shopping experience:
- Customers can Request a Demo on the store’s platform;
- Customers can track their progress in the queue through updates;
- Clients can also receive personalised assistance based on a form they may have filled out.
Platforms or applications are most successful when they take into account various queuing scenarios that the staff and customers may encounter.
SocialQ is our own appointment booking and queue management platform that can be successfully used in all the scenarios above. Moreover, it can create priority queues: if customers book their appointments using our online platform, they have the option to jump to the front of the line upon arrival. Isn't that terrific?