Managing the customer experience is an important part of customer retention and something that Dunn Lumber wanted to improve across their nine locations. Depending on the size of the store, locations had implemented ticket queuing systems or other unique solutions in order to manage customer waiting times. To improve the experience, manage expectations and help customers engage with the sales teams, Dunn Lumber wanted a unified queue management and appointment booking system that was easy to use and implement — no matter what demographic they were serving.
After months of searching, Dunn Lumber finally settled on the QLess system to manage their lines and appointment bookings with the sales teams. “We have a unique client base — ranging from contractors who are experts in the industry and are long-time customers, to DIYers who aren’t quite sure what they are looking for,” said Tyler Banken, IT Director, Dunn Lumber. “We needed a solution that would meet all their needs.” With QLess’ queue management system, contractors who knew what they were looking for could enter the sales line before they even reached the location, dramatically reducing customer waiting times. DIYers or anyone needing to meet with the sales team could easily schedule appointments with QLess’ appointment scheduling functionality, greatly improving customer service. Although the pandemic slowed down their plans to roll out this new functionality across all locations, Dunn Lumber has already received positive feedback about these implementations, especially from regular customers. With the queue management functionality, contractors can now plan ahead to ensure that they can efficiently get through the Dunn Lumber sales process. And as they roll out the queue management and appointment booking system across more locations, Dunn Lumber is hoping to use the additional data obtained from QLess to address scheduling needs and improve costs proactively.
With nine locations across the Puget Sound area, Dunn Lumber serves a diverse client base with many different needs. From contractors that needed efficient service and knew exactly what they wanted, to DIY homeowners that were shopping around, to those that needed time with the customer service team to discuss their options, each client had different expectations for their visit to the store. In order to make the experience easier overall, Dunn Lumber decided that they wanted to create a unified queue management and appointment booking system across all locations that could cater to each need. “Depending on the location they went to, there were different ways that they would engage with the sales team. At busier locations, we had a ticket system where they had to wait for their number to be pulled. At slower locations where there was less foot traffic, they had to find someone on the sales floor to help them. We wanted to provide an even experience across all locations for our customers,” said Banken.
The other major problem they ran into was with the ticketing system, which made it difficult to track how many customers were truly waiting for help. With wait times that varied from 15 to 20 minutes on a weekday or up to 30 minutes on a weekend, they wanted to understand how many customers they were actually helping at a certain time. They also needed an appointment booking system that would help them provide efficient customer service. Frequent shoppers, especially contractors, typically knew what they wanted in advance. Forcing them to wait in long lines at busy stores could lead to frustration and walkouts, which was detrimental as they tried to build relationships with these important customers. Dunn Lumber was looking for a solution that could help frequent shoppers move through the sales process quicker. “We were looking for a solution that either helped to expedite their processing or allowed them to get in line ahead of entering the store to reduce their wait times,” said Banken.
Dunn Lumber looked into many different solutions to meet their needs and eventually settled on QLess. With QLess, they could accommodate appointments with the customer service team through QLess’ appointment booking system and could manage multiple queues for different departments and sales types with the QLess queue management system. “We have a blend of different customers, customer needs and sales teams, and we wanted a system that met all of these requirements in one platform. QLess fit a lot of these features and functions that we needed,” said Banken. They could also customize the solution based on the needs of the specific store.
Working closely with the QLess team, Dunn Lumber was able to walk through a demo environment to decide which features were the most useful. Within a month and a half, they had the pilot location set up.
Although adoption of the QLess platform has depended largely on the location and demographic of the store, Dunn Lumber has seen positive responses to the appointment booking and queue management system from constructors and frequent shoppers. Using the ability to enter lines before arriving at the store has cut down on the wait time for contractors. If they arrive at the store before they are at the front of the line, contractors have been able to wait in their cars and complete work, instead of waiting in-store.
Dunn Lumber has also appreciated the data available through the app. Now, the sales team has an accurate representation of how many customers are waiting to be served and how many are served each day. By knowing how many customers are waiting in line, the sales team can now plan their day more accurately. In busier times, they can have more sales representatives on the floor. When there are fewer customers waiting, they are able to take advantage of the slower time to complete other tasks, such as stocking inventory.
During the pandemic, Dunn Lumber was busier than ever, especially with foot traffic. “Being able to offer remote line joining through QLess has significantly helped our customers and our sales teams,” said Banken. The pandemic also created other opportunities to improve the customer experience, such as improvements on the QLess kiosk. To reduce touchpoints, Dunn Lumber reduced the amount of information needed at the kiosk. “QLess was able to simplify the kiosk process yet retain the important information needed for the text messaging and appointment scheduling services,” said Banken. This flexibility has helped customers feel safe in the stores.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, implementation in additional stores was delayed, but Dunn Lumber is hoping to have all stores on the queue management and appointment booking system soon. Once all nine locations are operating, they will focus on promoting the remote queuing option to encourage physical distancing and improve customer waiting times. With the data they are able to collect through the QLess platform, they’ll be able to make more accurate decisions on staffing needs at each location, monitoring times when the stores are busier than usual. This will also help them improve their bottom line. Overall, they have found the experience with QLess easy and efficient. “Working with the support team to customize our solutions, update the kiosk and find unique solutions to improve the customer experience has been great,” said Banken.
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