We’ve all seen those ticket machines labeled “PLEASE Take A Number.” These internationally recognized symbols of long queues are the best way to signal to visitors that your waiting room is about to live up to its name. They’re out-of-date tools for an obsolete system.
Technology is making all aspects of our lives easier and more efficient, and the same goes for waiting your turn. Here are the top 7 reasons to scrap the take-a-number system:
1. Think of the trees!
If your business or organization is serving hundreds of people per day, how many reels of tickets are you going through? If sustainability is a concern, wasting paper on little numbered stubs that get thrown away is the wrong move.
2. Encourages walk-aways
Have you ever pulled ticket number 456, then looked over the crowded waiting room to see they’re now serving number 212? Did you stay, or did you crumple up that little ticket and decide to leave? If you left, you’re certainly not alone.
You can provide your customers with options for managing wait times by allowing them to reserve their place in line and wait where they want, receiving updates when it's their turn (see #6). This ensures your customers don’t leave out of frustration – an possibly never return again.
3. Cannot predict actual wait times
Those little tickets are really worthless in terms of gauging how long customers are expected to wait. You could be number 100 with everyone ahead of you taking 30 seconds, or number 5 with two people ahead of you eating up 45 minutes each. Digital solutions that keep visitors aware of their wait time are a better bet than numbers without any useful information.
4. Staff cannot prepare to see visitors
Your staff has no idea what each visitor needs when they pull a ticket. Each and every person that approaches the counter is a new, “How can I help you?” By signing up ahead of time, customers can let staff know exactly what sort of help they need, so the first thing they hear is not a question but a promise of excellent service.
5. An end to “How long must I wait?”
Your staff gets this question – a lot. People shouldering past whoever’s currently at the desk to ask the staff member for a rough estimate of when it will be their own turn. Like the visitor, the staff member doesn’t know, since the ticket system is so unreliable. A customer with a timer going can answer this question for themselves, leaving staff free to actually speed up their wait.
6. Clear the room
Digital queuing apps can tell people when it will be their turn, giving visitors a concrete idea of how long they have and letting them run other errands or just go get a cup of coffee or enjoy some fresh air while they wait. This keeps the waiting room from becoming a crowded, discouraging mess as folks don’t have to keep their eyes glued anxiously to a screen on the wall or an ear bent for hearing what number is being served.
Bonus: You'll make better use of precious real estate by allowing your waiting room or lobby to encourage browsing of products for purchase!
7. They’re so last century!
It’s time to join the digital age with virtual queuing, a more cost-effective and innovative method where people can join the line remotely from their computer, their mobile device, or at a kiosk at your business. They can then wait where they want and receive an expected wait time which controls expectations, providing all the assurance of a guaranteed place in line with none of the boredom and anxiety waiting for their number to come up.
Don't wait any longer – it's easy to upgrade your legacy system and modernize your customer's waiting experience. Book a demo with QLess to learn how our flexible solutions will significantly improve service flow, increase customer satisfaction, boost staff productivity, and much more!