CST: top tips to banish the queues this Christmas

Not only is the chaos of queuing tedious for shoppers during the festive period, but it also causes a headache for staff as lines of frustrated shoppers snake towards the tills. As the countdown to Christmas begins, here are a few queue-busting tips from Eloise Sheppard, managing director of Call Systems Technology, to help you stay calm as the crowds descend on the high street this festive season.

  1. Keep queues invisible

One guaranteed Christmas crowd-pleaser for shoppers is a gift-wrapping service, however, with a service like this, additional queues are almost inevitable. Instead of having physical queues in an already busy store, retailers could think about managing the wait by issuing their customers with a pager, which can be used to alert them when their perfectly packaged gift is ready for collection. This allows customers to spend their wait-time as they wish, reducing queues and keeping a smile on their face.

  1. Please call for assistance

The festive season often leaves retailers short staffed and there may not always be someone available to serve an ever-growing queue. Placing call buttons or similar by the tills will ensure a member of staff is alerted as soon as there are customers to be seen to, reducing both wait times and frustrated customers.

  1. Unite the entire team

Simple but effective two-way radios can help prevent customers creating more queues as they wait for news on stock levels from the warehouse. Giving staff a reliable radio system instantly connects the teams in the front of the store with those behind the scenes for the slickest service and avoids staff having to leave the shop floor when they could be helping other shoppers.

Being able to benefit from instant communication between managers and staff on the shop floor means more customers are served and incidents are dealt with immediately, enhancing the customer experience and reducing the queues.

  1. If in doubt, enlist the entertainment

And if you still can’t bust the queue? Busk it instead!

Research has shown that customers perceive their time spent waiting in queues to be three times longer than it actually is. Now imagine this in an already short-staffed store approaching Christmas – yikes! Retailers can attempt to alter this perception by entertaining the line – think screens to watch, friendly staff in Christmas costumes, or festive bands to brighten the mood.

However it’s done, shops need to get customers in the Christmas spirit to ensure every visit produces a sale. Whether it’s with a sprinkle of tech or a dash of distraction, with this advice in mind, all retailers should be able to pull something out of the bag to please the crowds this year.