Consumers, worldwide, are increasingly impatient. For example, a recent study of 2,000 British motorists reported becoming frustrated and impatient after waiting for a stoplight to change for just 25 seconds. With technology, they were even more impatient. Respondents reported they were willing to wait just 16 seconds for a website to load before getting frustrated. What, then, can you expect them to feel when asked to wait in an anteroom for a doctor, dentist, spa technician, or other business with a “waiting room”?
Another study found that 55% of clients wish they had access to estimated wait times while they were in a waiting room. Another 61% said they would like an alert when their appointment was expected to be late. Even the name, “waiting room”, is a bit of an anachronism. Today’s, waiting rooms can easily be “virtual”, instead of crowded rooms of people waiting for service.
21st century technology and the waiting room experience
Modern technology can do all of the things that happen in a traditional waiting room without having to make the customer sit in a room. For example, customers can check-in for appointments via a smartphone queue management app. They can also get status updates on the app and see when they are next in line. This allows customers to better manage their time. For example, if the app tells them there’s a 30-minute wait when they check-in, they can stay at the office a little longer or run errands before arriving for their appointment. Showing clients how much time they will have to wait allows them to do something productive with that waiting time—often making clients feel like they are not waiting at all.
That single encounter will influence whether the customer returns to your business or seeks out your competitor. It can’t be stressed enough how important each and every interaction can be for the long-term success and profitability of your company. As managers and owners, the time you spend creating a positive work environment is more than just a good investment. It’s an essential part of customer service.
Smartphone queue management apps are priced so that they can be used by most small businesses, like dental practices, chiropractors, masseurs, pediatricians, and hairstylists. The app can be enhanced by using a check-in kiosk that customers can use to check in on their own without having to interact with a staff member. While some might argue, reasonably, that self check-in loses a bit of the human touch, in the era of COVID-19, it’s just good health etiquette. Self-check-in kiosks also help to enhance privacy, since other customers can’t overhear personal information as they can when the person checking in shares information verbally with an employee.
Ombori is an innovative technology company that provides a platform for ready-to-use, customizable, modular solutions for interactive in-store screens and mobile devices. In addition to providing queue management systems and check-in apps, the Swedish-based company is the creative force behind such revolutionary in-store technology as a talking mirror in New York’s H&M store that asks shoppers to take a selfie with it and an interactive window display in Stockholm that lets passersby shop without even entering the store.