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Transform your waiting line into a splendid line

The waiting line, a.k.a. the queue, a phenomenon that has existed for many years and not only in retail. How about amusement parks, customs, concerts, pharmacies, etc. Queues occur in many industries and sectors. How do you deal with them as a company and what can you do to prevent or shorten them?

Channels and processes

It started with queues in the store for the checkout. The telephone queue was then added and in 2023 you can also queue digitally, because most companies can now be reached on more than one channel. They often use a combination of personal and digital channels. Unfortunately, these do not always interconnect efficiently with each other or with the processes. Resulting in queues, frustration and reduced customer satisfaction.

Use technology smartly

That’s where technology comes into play. The stories about AI (artificial intelligence) are all around these days. And with that we also see an advance of AI in customer service. How can AI and other technology help you prevent, shorten and make those telephone and digital queues more pleasant?


Prevention is better than cure, so that is the starting point as far as we are concerned. There are several ways to approach this. Some may be obvious and others less well known. However, our experience shows that even those obvious ways often aren’t applied fully..

  • Optimal communication: ensure that your customers are informed as clearly and specifically as possible and that information is easy to find. Also consider expectation management in the event of disruptions, delays and staff shortages. People mind waiting less if they know why
  • Online self-service: provide an extensive FAQ section that answers all possible questions. Even those questions that you think are too simple.
  • Use automation in self-service: the more energy something costs, the faster people drop out. Avoid scrolling, clicking and huge chunks of text. Divide your FAQ into sections, provide a search bar and also provide quick search.


Unfortunately, prevention is not always possible, no matter how hard you try. There are factors you have less influence on. So what options do you have to shorten that queue?

  • Call (me) back: enable callers to leave their number and be called back at another time or receive a text message when queues are shorter
  • SMS with URL: are the long queues caused by many people having the same question? Create a web page that answers all possible questions and offer people the opportunity to receive a text message with a link to that page
  • Cruise Control: distribute your calls automatically and in real-time based on the KPIs of your different contact centers, without human involvement. This way, calls are always distributed in the most efficient way
  • Voice routing: forget old-fashioned IVrs. Let callers leave their questions. The bot interprets and transfers to the correct group
  • Virtual agents (chat and voice): as a smart alternative to the FAQ or to shorten the time required by an employee.

Make it more pleasant

Do you still have a queue? Then make sure that it is set up as pleasantly as possible. It simply feels like waiting takes less time if you are distracted. What options are available by telephone and digitally:

  • Inform: Communicate expected waiting times and the status of any technical problems clearly. This can be done digitally or by telephone. Customers appreciate honest and transparent communication
  • VIP Routing: Give certain customers or issues priority with VIP routing. This way, these customers will be assisted quicker and you may prevent bigger problems
  • Entertain: make it more fun and give people a choice; do they want music while on hold or silence? Or perhaps hear informative or commercial messages from, for example, a charity?
  • Talk: let your customer call via the browser. This allows you to provide video commercials, infomercials, special offers, games and more while you wait. In your corporate branding.
  • Complaint and feedback system: Establish a system for callers to provide feedback on their on-call experience for continuous improvement. And give your customers the feeling that they are taken seriously.

Balance between automation and personal contact

Does this sound like something you would like to implement in your customer service? Then the next question probably is; how? At Sound of Data, we handle such questions in a structured way. Start with a good foundation and tackle any quick wins immediately. From there continue to build the ideal customer contact mix of automated, digital and personal channels for your company. That’s how you create an optimal customer experience, which is crucial for customer satisfaction and reputation. As products and services are increasingly interchangeable, you can distinguish yourself by providing high-quality (telephone) customer service. And we are happy to help you with that.

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