Is Virtual Queuing Better Than Clipboard and Pen

Sam Osbourne August 22, 2022

How can retailers best manage queues inside and outside of their stores to ensure social distancing? Should they invest in Queue Management Software, or simply ask store associates to create manual queues using clipboard and pen? We investigate the pros and cons of both.

What are the main problems with using a clipboard and pen?

The clipboard and pen queuing process has some serious pitfalls. We’ve outlined the nine most common problems below.

  • No wait time information: In the absence of technology, staff have to guess about the wait time. If they underestimate the wait time, customers will quickly become frustrated and walk out or complain.
  • High walk out rate: It’s always the customers who planned to make a purchase that walkout first if the wait time exceeds your staff’s original estimate. People that want to complain or have a query will stay.
  • Customers have to wait nearby: Because customers can’t use their smartphone to check on their position in the queue, they’ll have to crowd into the store waiting for their name to be called. On a busy day, this can be extremely unpleasant.
  • GDPR risk: Capturing customer data on paper poses a serious GDPR risk. What if your store staff leave private information for other customers to see?
  • No data collection: You can’t capture data via clipboard and pen to better understand and improve your foot fall, operations and resource strategies. There’s no way to track when customers are coming in, what they want to discuss and how long they are waiting.
  • Outdated: In an age where digital methods are readily available, retailers still relying on clipboard and pen risk seeming outright prehistoric to customers.
  • Restrictive: Only one staff member can use the clipboard and pen at a time.
  • Inconvenient: If more than one staff member needs to see the list, they have to constantly pass the clipboard between each other, which is hasslesome.
  • Illegible handwriting: Some of your store associates will inevitably have messy handwriting. Other employees may not even be able to read it, which is a major problem when staff switchover. Likewise, if someone spills anything on the clipboard, all your queuing information will be lost.

What are the advantages of switching to a Digital Queue Management System?

With the right Virtual Wait Line System, you can eliminate all of the pain points mentioned above. Here’s the 11 biggest advantages of using a digital queue management system:

  • Improves customer experience: Customers feel more at ease because they’re able to watch their place in the queue and receive regular and accurate wait time information.
  • Reduces wait time: You can expertly choreograph the customer experience in a more efficient way to reduce the average wait time.
  • Increases customer retention and spend: Happy customers are paying customers. Inevitably, by reducing the wait time and improving the customer experience, your consumers are more likely to stay in your stores and to make purchases.
  • Lower staff stress levels: When associates have to deal with fewer customers who want to complain about the wait time, they’ll feel significantly less stressed. In the long term, your staff churn rate will therefore fall.
  • Looks more professional: Customers are impressed by in-store tech. It creates a strong, innovative and customer-focussed brand image.
  • Increases staff efficiency: Store associates can see what’s going on across the shop floor and can easily communicate with one another, ensuring you’re getting the best out of your team.
  • Multiple associates can see the queue: Your associates don’t have to fight to see the queue on a clipboard anymore. They can each view the queue from their different devices.
  • Makes other tools obsolete: Tools like walkie-talkies are off putting and antiquated to in-store customers. Fortunately, your Queue Management System reduces your need for such tools–your associates can quickly communicate using our software instead.
  • GDPR compliant: You can capture and store customer data in a secure, GDPR-compliant manner with the right Virtual Queuing Software.
  • Collects more data: Queuing Software automates the data collection process so you can send a wealth of data to HQ and your stores on who is visiting your stores, why and how well your store is performing.
  • Extra features: There’s not a lot you can do with a clipboard. By contrast, Verint’s Queuing Software has additional features to report outcomes, record customer descriptions and manage walk-ins alongside bookings, store staff tasks and breaks.
Mobile phone app showing user's place in a virtual queue.

With Verint’s Virtual Queuing Software, you can manage the wait on any desktop browser and Android and Apple devices.

Why do retailers need virtual wait lines?

One of the key factors resulting in poor customer experiences is queuing. We found that long wait lines reduce foot traffic by 10% and that a further 26% of customers abandon their purchase plans and walkout of your stores.

To put this into financial terms,  long wait lines could be costing the average 250 store retailer $143 million a year. Similarly, queues are calculated as costing UK retailers as a whole £3-4 billion every year.

The costs associated with long queues and poor customer experience are likely much greater when one accounts for the fact that the modern consumer is more vocal and fickle than ever. For instance, 43% of unhappy customers complain to friends and family. A further 21% post on social media about their poor experience. Essentially, in the age of social media, poor experience no longer simply costs you one customer–it costs every person they put off visiting your stores.

How can you stop long waits for service from eating into your margins and harming your brand image? Evidently, it’s essential that retailers act fast. Retail leaders should use innovative store technologies like Queue Management Software that have been proven to improve the customer experience and reduce walkouts.

With the right Virtual Queuing Software, enterprise brands can drive profitability, achieve lasting brand relevance and beat their competitors.

“Verint is really good because it helps with managing staff as well as customers’ expectations. It’s improved our team’s transaction times.”

– Store associate, O2 (telecoms retailer)

What is the Verint virtual queue customer journey like?

To capture the Verint walk-in customer journey, put yourself into customer Lewis’ shoes.

Lewis walks past a retail store one Saturday morning that he’s been meaning to visit for a while. There’s normally a long queue running out of the store but Lewis is thankful that there isn’t today. The retailer recently switched from a clipboard and pen queuing process to Verint’s Virtual Queue System.

Lewis walks into the store and a friendly store host greets him. They ask him a little about his reason for coming to the store today and add him to a virtual wait line. Lewis is amazed he doesn’t have to stand in line–he’s receiving live queue position updates while he explores the store. He can also see his name on TV displays throughout the store so he knows how long he has left to wait.

Initially, he entered the store to receive some advice about a particular product. However, as he wanders around the store, another product catches his eye. He decides to buy it.

Soon afterwards, he gets an SMS notification instructing him to head over to the store host as it’s his turn is coming up. He’s directed to an associate who has already got the information for the product he’s interested in (along with Lewis’ CRM profile). Lewis is impressed by how much his advisor already knows about the product and he decides to buy it.

When he gets home, he fills out a customer survey the retailer has sent him. One of the questions is about whether he plans to return again soon or not. Lewis ticks “Very likely”.

In comparison, when customers visit a retail store where staff rely on a clipboard and pen, they’ll more than likely encounter some issues. After all, the store host wouldn’t have accurate wait time information, so they’d have to provide an all too often inaccurate guesstimate. When customers end up waiting for longer than they said, they’ll often walk out of the store without making a purchase.

What results can you achieve with Verint’s Queuing Software?

Over the years, our clients have seen first-hand many significant benefits of using Verint’s Queue Management System.

Key results for profitability, loyalty and productivity include:


  • 62% walkout reduction: By providing accurate and regularly updated queue position information, customers feel more relaxed, and are much less likely to leave your store–particularly paying customers.
  • 33% average transaction value (ATV) increase: In our experience, you can dramatically raise your ATV by improving your customer experience with our queuing app.
  • 24% increase in unplanned purchases: Freed from the constraints of the physical queue, customers have more time to explore your store and buy things they didn’t plan to.
  • Higher foot traffic: Long wait lines outside of retail stores put off passersby from visiting your stores. Using our tech to completely digitize the queue, you can make your stores look more appealing to boost foot traffic.


  • Positive social media presence: Instead of complaining on Twitter, customers are more likely to say nice things about your business. They’re also more likely to tell their friends about your brand.
  • More returning customers: Impressed by your innovative store experience, customers are more likely to return again and again.
  • Better Net Promoter Score (NPS): With a better waiting experience, you can get a record-breaking NPS with our Virtual Queue System.
  • Fewer complaints: Customers are less frustrated by the wait time in your stores because they don’t have to physically queue. Consequently, you’ll receive fewer customer complaints (thereby also reducing staff stress levels and the churn rate)


  • 27% faster service: Complaining customers take longer to serve. By optimizing the waiting experience, our system keeps customers relaxed and the typical service time down.
  • 13% less idle time: Your associates can see a clear, organized list of waiting customers and their service needs. This means they can plan their time better to reduce idle time.
  • Increased savings: Using our business intelligence analytics, you can better allocate resources and ultimately save up to $2 million per year. You also won’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual mystery shopping and exit surveys because Verint gives you all the data you need.
  • Deeper data insights: Learn much more about your customers, their reasons for visiting your stores, and whether they bought something or not.

“The footfall analytics that we get from Verint has really helped us to understand how the stores are planning time and utilizing the people in the store. It also gives us some really clear insight into when customers are coming in and what they are coming in to ask us for.”

– HQ, O2 (telecoms retailer)

Do customers want virtual queuing tech in retail stores?

Yes, customers do want virtual queuing technology in retail stores. We recently surveyed 2,000 American consumers about how receiving regular updates from a store host with a tablet about the wait time in a retail store would affect their decisions. The results illuminate the huge ROI opportunity for Queuing Software:

  • 47% of customers said they were more likely to visit the retailer
  • 46% said they were more likely to make an in-store purchase
  • 46% said they were more likely to make an online purchase
  • 51% said they were more likely to shop with the retailer again
  • 48% said they were more likely to tell their friends about the brand
  • 46% said they were more likely to choose the brand over their competition

About Verint – award-winning Retail Choreography software provider

Drive sales, loyalty and productivity by perfectly choreographing your retail experience with Verint’s market-leading Virtual Queuing, Appointment Booking, Live Shop, Clienteling, Event Booking, Click and Collect, and Task Management solutions.