waiting in line

How Digital Signage can Reduce Perceived Wait Times

In every business, queues and long waiting lines are some of the common sources of customer frustration and managers are looking at ways to reduce wait times. Every client or customer wishes to get help as soon as possible. But this isn’t always practical, especially in the service industry which uses ticketing systems.

Over the years, business owners have been working on reducing the perceived wait times. Or at least making them less annoying for the customers. Organizations and businesses across major sectors embrace these digital devices to tame service delays and boost customer experience.

In today’s fast-paced environment, competition is wholly dependent on how you treat your customers. The pressure to create a multichannel user experience pushes many out of the game, which is true across different industries.

Before we see how queue management and digital signage play a critical role in the modern customer service space, let’s first understand what the two terms mean.

What is Digital Signage?

Digital signage is a display technology similar to video walls or LCD monitors. However, it uses digital signage software for content management, content creation, and content scheduling. At the core of a digital signage solution is integrated software that does all the heavy lifting.

What is Queue Management?

On the other hand, queue management is a system designed to control customer flow and streamline the queuing experience. The system majorly focuses on reducing customer waiting times and increasing the number of customers served at a given period. Queue management works on a ticketing, first-come, first-serve basis. This system speeds up the service process, so those on late arrivals get a chance to be served on time.

Integrating queue Management with Digital Signage 

Integrating digital signage with the queue management system is quite effective in increasing customer satisfaction. The display screen helps keep the customers occupied and entertained as they wait for their turn. And with an integrated system, businesses can achieve a lot. For instance: 

  • Call customers forward using a ticketing system 
  • Display the direction to customer service counters
  • Indicate the estimated wait time, so those in the waiting lines can get ready for service when it’s almost their turn 

 What’s even more important is that they can display customized content on the digital screens that suits the audience’s taste. This way, the displays can act as both an educational/informative resource, as well as a source of entertainment.

 Among the early adopters of this integrated system are retailers and health care facilities. Another industry that’s quickly adopting this technology is the transport sector. Airports and modern train stations are now deploying both these vitals to engage their customers and inspire positive experiences.

Why Digital Signage is an Effective Technique 

 Long wait times make customers unhappy, dissatisfied, and less likely to come back for repeat business. Recent reports show that 86% of consumers are willing to pay more provided; they are sure of advanced access to customer experience. 

A 2016 Impax Media Survey reports that 84% of shoppers watch content on digital displays and believe this makes the wait time pass more quickly. 70% of the respondents admit to watching the digital screens when in the checkout line. While 40% of the surveyed respondents said, they are more likely to shop from stores with digital display screens. The survey also highlighted long checkout lines as the primary source of customer dissatisfaction. 

The fact that humans are easily attracted to moving pictures give digital signage a competitive advantage. Large digital displays and video walls located at queue points better capture the customers’ attention than static images. Besides the sound and in-motion pictures, the content displayed can also be a significant determining factor. 

To understand digital signage’s role in reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction, below are use cases across different sectors.

Digital Signage in Healthcare

 There are several reasons why digital signage is gaining wider acceptance in the healthcare space. The current technological disruption has forced every healthcare provider to rethink their primary care delivery, patient management, and marketing efforts. Luckily, digital signage has found relevance in all these critical areas.

As you would expect, patient satisfaction is hard to come by. When sick people are waiting outside the doctor’s office, new patients are flocking the waiting room. And some are probably facing delays with their scheduled appointment. All these can be quite overwhelming for physicians and nurses. Hence, without a well-thought-out patient management system, healthcare workflow and patient experience can turn chaotic.

 And as a way of reducing the patient waiting times, digital signage helps reduce the perceived longer waits. In his book, “the psychology of waiting lines,” David Maister explains how digital signage can reduce the perceived wait time. He further highlights that explained waits feel shorter than unexplained waits, which ultimately improves the quality of care.

 But reducing the patient wait times isn’t the only reason for installing digital signage in a healthcare facility. Below are its other uses: 

  • For wayfinding – helps patients and visitors navigate the healthcare premises, especially in hospitals with high patient volume.
  • To keep track on the number of patients – the integrated system keeps the patients records for better service delivery.
  • Running promotions – healthcare providers can run educative or promotional campaigns using digital signage. 
  • Used for staff communication and secure messaging for those intended to.
  • For safety and directional purposes – digital signage can be used as an emergency alert system. 

Digital Signage in Public Institutions 

 Public institutions such as government offices, parastatals, museums, etc., struggle with long waiting times. Such challenges often lead to client dissatisfaction and poor customer experiences.

 These institutions use digital signage to manage traffic and calm disappointed customers. With the right content, digital signage can even draw the clients’ attention away from the wait.

 Some organizations are now leveraging digital signage to better customer experience. For example, displaying content relevant to the services/products that the customers are seeking. People queueing in a museum could watch a brief history of the museum. Here, they will be learning as they wait to explore what’s inside the showrooms. Some displays could persuade customers to take a specific action, e.g., subscribing to the institution’s social media channels.  

Digital Signage in the Commercial and Corporate Sector 

 Commercial institutions and large corporates are also leveraging digital signage with their queue management systems to salvage customer satisfaction. They also use these digital displays as a means for reinforcing brand engagement and showcasing their company culture.

 By displaying relevant content to the people waiting in line, they help minimize boredom. These displays are an ingenious way of offering more professional and humane treatment for customers. More often, institutions such as banks will strategically place digital signage around the focus points. Such as hotspots where dwell times are the longest. To engage the customers even better, they will customize the screens to display news updates, sports, weather events, etc. 

Closing comments 

 Organizations, large and small, across different industries gain control of customer experience by rethinking their approach to longer waits, extended appointment times, and inefficient customer flow.

Now more than ever, businesses must realize that customer engagement and satisfaction are critical to their success. Without fixing the long waiting times, inconsistent schedules, and customer frustrations, meeting the business goals will remain a challenge.

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