Product & Feature

Christmas shopping. Queues and COVID restrictions. How TIMIFY helps

26 November, 2021

How to use appointment booking to transform queue management and wait times for your services, amid the Christmas rush and COVID restrictions


The Christmas rush, plus lingering COVID restrictions, equals a perfect storm for queues, overcrowding and overstretched services with the potential to damage your reputation long after the decorations come down.

But you don’t need a Christmas miracle to fix it. The digital technology to drastically improve customer experience around queues and wait times has been evolving for some time.

“Excessive queueing and waiting are among the leading causes of consumer dissatisfaction in banks, retail stores, hospitals and government institutions.”

Queue Management System Report by Market Research Future (MRFR)

However, consumers often seem to accept that queueing to access some of their favourite or most essential services is a fact of life, allowing companies to be slow to adapt.

The pandemic changed this drastically, exposing poorly managed queues, overloaded call centres, and ill-prepared online systems not just as an inconvenience, but as a health risk.

The companies who prospered during lockdown are those that quickly integrated a modern system to manage customer experience around queues, waiting times and access to a range of service options.

For these companies online booking has become a core tool to seamlessly adapt their service offering and customer journey to the new and essential demands of consumers.

Below we look at three ways your business can use it to meet those consumer demands.

1. Create new services to improve waiting experiences

click an collect services with timify

As well as offering multiple ways to engage with services, digital technologies also let you create entirely new and innovative services.

These can be targeted at improving the customer experience when using services, or relieving strain on staff and infrastructure during busy periods.

TIMIFY’s online booking system can be used to set-up a number of services to make shopping easier and safer during COVID restrictions.

  • Retail clients use online scheduling to mobilise click and collect or curbside pickup services, allowing customers to do their shopping online and only visit the store for collection.
  • Our faultless scheduling includes optional buffers between appointments to avoid queues building up, or customisable booking forms to gather the info staff need to have the product ready and waiting on arrival (rather than having to go and find it in a stock room).
  • Appointment booking can be used to manage access to stores when footfall needs to be limited, with on-the-go apps for staff to check-in arrivals and live monitoring of in-store footfall.
  • Virtual services can be used by all industries to add video-based experiences, reducing crowds at your premises.
    Examples include health and finance industries offering video consultations with advisers, or home improvement customers showing designers their home on a video call.
  • Online booking can also be used to ensure safe and queue-free attendance of in-person events for groups, such as product launches, in-store experiences, conferences and workshops.

Read more: Seven ways appointment booking software can revitalise your retail experience

2. Reinvent drop-in services with virtual queueing

virtual booking management with timify

When it comes to drop-in services – an essential for many third-sector, finance and health service providers – virtual queueing can eradicate the dread many consumers feel when planning to use them.

TIMIFY is leading the way with its TIMIFY Q App, which gives clients an easy and effective method of finding an appointment on arrival, while allowing complete flexibility to wait away from the premises and avoiding waiting areas altogether.

  • On arrival, clients choose their desired service and select the next available appointment. The Q App runs from the shared calendar, meaning it’s impossible for drop-ins to overlap with pre-booked appointments.
  • Clients needn’t go to reception desks or even enter the premises. Welcome screens can be set up to interact with the system or QR codes outside the building allow access from a smartphone.
  • Once an appointment has been chosen, clients monitor their countdown via their smartphone, meaning they can choose to wait elsewhere or run errands while keeping an eye on their appointment.

Read more: Safe, convenient in-person services with TIMIFY virtual queue management

3. Offer more ways to engage with services

multi-channel appointment booking system

Bottlenecks are inevitable when a service only available via one channel (drop-in appointment, face-to-face meeting, phone, video conference) is inundated by demand.

Adopting an online booking system allows companies to offer either one service available via multiple channels, or offer different platforms and formats across a range of services.

Not only can this reduce bottlenecks by spreading customers across different channels and staff teams, but it also gives them the crucial benefit of choosing the channel most appropriate for them in that moment.

A calendar shared across every booking touchpoint, kept up-to-date with real-time syncing, means no matter how many services and how many channels you offer them by, double bookings and errors are almost impossible.

Meanwhile, whenever an appointment is rescheduled or cancelled, the slot becomes available for other customers instantly and automatically.

Read more: How omnichannel solutions help you bridge in-store and online services

Change how customers experience your services today

TIMIFY’s online scheduling and resource management system provides comprehensive functionality across these three areas, dramatically improving customer experiences when using your services.

The system is compatible with a wide range of existing software, infrastructure and third-party platforms, with quick turnaround times for integration.

In addition, our comprehensive data analytics give you the insights to better plan service availability and resource allocation according to the peaks and troughs in customer demand, further alleviating bottlenecks.

To find out more or try TIMIFY for free, contact our team today.


About the author


TIMIFY is an appointment booking and resource scheduling software for teams and enterprises