If you organizational aspires to provide the best possible customer experience, you cannot ignore lobby management. An optimized lobby management strategy will promptly direct visitors to the information that meet their needs via flexible, frictionless service. If customers entering your store are instead confused as to where to go, who to talk to, or how long they can expect to wait, then your lobby management is broken.
Let’s address 3 key challenges of lobby management:
Challenge 1: Finding out what customers are looking for
At some point, you have to find out what your customer is trying to accomplish during their visit. The faster you can get this key information, the faster you can get them to their proper destination. One strategy to improve lobby management is to collect this information before the customer sets foot in your lobby. Easy to use appointment scheduling allows you to collect customer goals and other relevant information, as well as provide specific instructions on where to go upon arrival. When this information is collected and disseminated outside the lobby, the flow of customer movement improves.
Challenge 2: Processing Walk-Ins
Even if you provide seamless and convenient scheduling options to customers, you will always have walk-ins. Efficient lobby management utilizes the same system and the same process for walk-ins as for pre-scheduled appointments. If customers are able to sign up for appointments before arrival, but staff is using post-it notes to process walk-ins, efficiency of movement will be greatly diminished.
For example, if walk-ins are able to either enter their request into an interface or interact with an employee who does so, they can be added to the same queue pre-booked appointments, thus experiencing the same benefits of information. That walk-in customer is now part of a complete data set of appointments, with corresponding analytical benefits for your organization.
Additionally, this can be an opportunity for cross-sell. By entering the walk-in into the appointment system, your staff can be made aware of previous customer interactions and additional context. Staff will be able to quickly provide the desired service, as well as pivot to additional products and services based on the customer details provided automatically.
Challenge 3: Managing wait times
One inescapable truth of lobby management is: no one enjoys waiting. You may provide waiting customers with visual stimulation or perhaps something to eat and drink, but it will always be a net negative on customer experience. To truly minimize the pain, you must provide context. Imagine you’ve boarded a flight, and before takeoff you receive one of the following messages:
“We are sorry but our flight is delayed due to mechanical issues. Please remain seated.”
“We are sorry but our flight is delayed due to mechanical issues. We anticipate these issues will be resolved in 25 minutes.”
Which of those messages would you prefer?
Providing information such as expected wait times and a customer’s position in the queue can be a powerful tool in managing wait time expectations. You will want to provide customers the ability to join the queue from kiosks or their phones prior or during the visit, and prominently display the queue. For even better results, allow customers to track their queue position from their phones so they can leave the location until they need to be there, thus eliminating the pain of wait times all together.
Lobby management is the movement of customer to service. That movement is facilitated by the movement of information on customer needs to store capabilities. Addressing these challenges improve the flow of movement in your lobby and improve the customer experience.