Someone calculated that we spend about 5 years of our lives waiting in lines. While we leave the accuracy of this calculation with its authors, the figure seems rather depressing. Add to that all the discomforts of a traditional waiting room experience – the noise, the lack of space, stuffy air, someone’s children crying, someone’s perfume too strong… Clearly, something needs to be done about it.
Come 2020, and the world is hit with the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, traditional waiting rooms have become not only uncomfortable but downright dangerous. In a small space, it’s difficult to maintain safe social distancing, and the risk of infection becomes very high. This problem becomes especially acute in hospitals and healthcare clinics where patients often need to wait long for their appointments. During the pandemic, many more people need medical consultations or treatments, which makes waiting rooms even more crowded.
A solution to this problem is a virtual room, a technological innovation allowing to create much better customer experiences while reducing contacts.
A virtual waiting room allows customers or patients to get into line without actually entering the building. They can remain in their cars and check in from their mobile devices. The same mobile app will show them their position in the line and their progress. It will also notify the customer that they will be admitted shortly.
In other words, a virtual waiting room offers the same options as the physical one – get in the line, find out how many people are in front of you, estimate the time till admission. However, all these options are available in a completely remote, distanced way without any discomfort or risk of exposure.
While healthcare is the industry that will benefit the most from the implementation of virtual waiting rooms, other industries might also consider this technology as a step towards improving customer experience.
Customer support is already mostly provided remotely, via a live chat or a ticket system. However, in situations when customer support is offline – in an airport, for example, – adding a virtual waiting room can, on the one hand, improve customer experience and, on the other hand, streamline the support team operation.
A customer seeking support will appreciate knowing how long they need to wait for the next available agent. Of course, the sooner the customer is served, the better both for them and the business, but there are those very busy days when lines are unavoidable.
In such cases, a customer can register in the line and walk around at their pleasure until their appointment reminder arrives. The support team, in their turn, can estimate their workload at any given moment and decide whether they need additional resources.
A recruitment agency sees dozens of visitors every day. Especially when an agency posts a mass vacancy hiring many people simultaneously, the personnel needs to see and interview lots of applicants before they recruit the most qualified ones.
A virtual waiting room will allow the applicants to wait for their appointment outside the office rather than in the physical waiting room. This is especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed because of it. Pandemic or no pandemic, people still look for jobs and companies need personnel, so a virtual waiting room may be the optimal solution.
There is hardly a bank nowadays that does not offer online banking. Still, there may be cases when customers need to visit their bank in person, and in such cases, they will appreciate a virtual waiting room so that they can avoid queues.
The banking and finance industry is among those where privacy is highly valued, therefore, giving customers an option of waiting elsewhere for their appointment can be also regarded as a step towards maintaining their privacy.
Surely, healthcare is the area that benefits the most from solutions allowing remote interactions. A zero-contact waiting room can improve the patients’ experience even outside the Covid-19 pandemic, but now it may be the most preferred solution. When patients do not need to actually enter the building to attend medical appointments and face the risk of exposure to the virus, the chances of spreading the infection are reduced.
In addition, physical waiting rooms usually contain multiple objects that patients routinely touch when they are bored – magazines, water dispensers, furniture. These are potential infection hazards, too. When the patient remains in their vehicle or on a bench in a nearby park, they are better protected.
For businesses, the implementation of a virtual waiting room brings multiple benefits, too.
The basic virtual waiting room solution should include the following features:
Besides the core functionality, the development of a virtual waiting room should be focused on security, GDPR and HIPAA compliance. The application is going to collect sensitive data, especially when it is used in a healthcare or finance business, therefore, security and compliance must be top-notch.
As with any solution, there are two main ways of implementation – develop your own from scratch or use ready-made third-party software. Both approaches have their advantages, but in-house development is going to take much longer and will be much more resource-consuming than using a solution developed by others.
QuickBlox offers Q-Consultation, a white-label solution that can be easily integrated into your app to add a full-featured virtual waiting room function. Q-Consultation was developed in strict compliance with the GDPR and HIPAA requirements and includes the most advanced security measures. It can, therefore, be used in any customer-facing app, including those handling sensitive user data.
Q-Consultation is perfectly suited to build virtual waiting room solutions without heavy coding. It supports multiple platforms and is highly customizable. For more information on implementing Q-Consultation, contact us – we will be happy to help!