People hate waiting, and there’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing how long you’re going to have to wait to be seen or to not know your place in line. With digital signage, you can solve this uncertainty by showing guests their queue status and keep your waiting areas organized.
The alternative – not providing any status updates or manually managing a printed list – is chaotic, cumbersome, and frustrating for both customers and employees.
When guests know where they “stand” in a queue (even if there’s no physical line and the queue is totally virtual), they’re far less likely to become frustrated by the wait. According to a recent Waitwhile consumer survey, respondents said that wait time estimates/updates would most improve a waiting experience.
By using digital signage for queue management, you can streamline customer flow on the backend while keeping your guests in the know. In this post, we’ll give you key tips on how to set up digital signage at your business to ensure it runs smoothly.
How a queue management system with digital signage works
If you're looking to improve customer flow, digital signage may be just what you need. A queue management system that uses it can help keep your customers moving in the right direction by communicating with them through digital devices, including through monitors in your waiting area or directly through customers’ phones. This reduces confusion and frustration and allows you to move more people through to their services faster.
Here’s how the typical customer flow would look like:
- Your guest arrives and checks in for their service. If you have a staffed reception desk, they’d do this in person. Otherwise, consider setting up a self check-in kiosk to speed things up and cut on operational costs.
- Once checked in, the guest will join a virtual queue. Rather than waiting in a physical line, guests wait virtually and can receive updates on their wait status via their phones. Depending on the length of the wait and the way your business is structured, you can ask your guests to wait in a designated waiting area, let them explore other parts of your business, or allow them to leave the premises.
- Inside your business, digital signage set up on monitors will show guests who is waiting and in what order they’ll be seen. With Waitwhile, you can also display the waitlist on your customers’ phones and customize what information is shown. For example, you may want to display the estimated wait times to give guests even more information, or you may choose to simply tell a guest where they are in line without revealing the entire list.
- When it’s their turn to be seen, a guest can receive a notification on their personal device. You can also summon them through the display in the waiting area.
With a virtual queue management system, your staff can centrally manage your waitlist from any number of devices, including changing the order of guests or sending personalized messages via text message or email.
Digital signage either on a monitor or on a customer’s phone ensures that your guests know where they stand in line and/or how long they’ll have to wait, which decreases queue abandonment rate, reduces perceived waiting times, and increases customer satisfaction.
Related: How to Measure Customer Satisfaction
Implementing electronic waiting room signage
You need to plan ahead whenever you want to incorporate new technology into your operations. Digital signage for queue management is no exception.
Here’s what you should consider, step by step.
Step 1: Identify a virtual queue management provider
The first step in setting up your queue management system is to decide how you want to manage your waitlist. Given that your ultimate goal is to display your waitlist digitally, using a virtual queue management system makes the most sense. Otherwise, you will have to manually enter and manage names, which is tedious and time consuming.
Be sure to find a virtual queue management software that supports digital signage and is flexible enough to work on any device. Waitwhile, for instance, can run on computers, tablets, or smartphones and lets you customize how you want your virtual waitlist to appear to guests.
Once you’ve decided on your virtual queue management app, figure out the first step in your customer flow: check-in. To automate the process and conserve staff resources, use self check-in kiosks to allow your guests to check in independently upon arrival. At this point, you can also have them fill out any waivers or other forms necessary.
Once they’ve completed the check-in process, your guests will automatically be added to a virtual waitlist and their status in line will be displayed on the digital signs you’ve set up.
Learn more: How to Set Up a Self Check-In Kiosk
Step 2: Choose your devices
Choose which type of device you'll use for waitlists. Digital screens, of course, require electricity and internet access, so you'll need to plan where and how to position them in your space. You can choose between using TV monitors, computer monitors, laptops, or tablets.
In addition to screen(s) in your waiting area, you can also display the virtual waitlist directly on your customers’ phones. That way, if a wait is particularly long, you can avoid crowded waiting rooms by allowing your guests to leave and come back.
Step 3: Customize your virtual waitlist
Decide how much information you want to give to your guests about who is waiting and where they stand in relation to others. You may decide that you want to have the entire waitlist (customers’ names included) on display for everyone or you may choose to simply tell each customer where they are in line and how long their wait is.
Step 4: Test your waitlisting system
Don't wait until your customers are standing in the doorway to test your electronic signage. Check that the displays you’re using are visible from all angles. You may think that it looks good from where you're standing, but what about when people are walking toward it? If they can't see the screen at all, then your signs will not be terribly effective.
Test the devices in every room where they’ll be used and ensure that you have good internet or cell data reception throughout your business. And don't forget to tinker with different settings for brightness and contrast levels on each in-store device so that they're easy to read.
Step 5: Set it live
Once you’ve set up your virtual queue management system and your digital signage, you are ready to go. Be sure to have clear instructions for your guests upon arrival and throughout your waiting process so that they know what to do and where to wait.
Digital queue signage and Waitwhile
The benefits of digital signage are clear: It can improve customer service, increase customer satisfaction, and keep your customers from leaving because of boredom in the waiting room. Implementation, though, can be tricky. Having so many features and options available makes it hard to choose the right system for your business.
Fortunately, Waitwhile's queue management system requires no hardware to install. It uses a cloud-based system that integrates directly with whatever computer or mobile devices you already have on premises, making installation a breeze.