What is a virtual waiting room?
A virtual waiting room holds traffic that exceeds your web servers' maximum capacity and delivers customers to your site at a rate it can handle with optimum service efficiency - this stops your site from crashing under high load conditions and means you keep selling during peak load.
What does a virtual waiting room do?
Our virtual waiting room and standalone queue system takes all the visitors or customers your websites or selling systems can't manage and moves them into a virtual waiting room—safely away from your website. When each user's turn comes, they're moved back to your website or payment process.
Why? To prevent system overloads and crashes; a queue management system adds support to your existing processes and keeping your websites running smoothly through peak traffic times and unexpected visitor surges. Simple, right?
Fortunately for our customers, we've made it precisely that—with an easy to implement virtual waiting room that works flawlessly. Having said that, we won't lie; we've been working with queuing systems for years and have continued to develop our virtual waiting room work and products with every last snippet of experience we've gained. We've put a lot of hard work into creating a system that keeps your life simple, your website fully operational at all times, with the shortest possible waiting time and the payments rolling in—however busy you get, with maximum service efficiency.
How does a virtual waiting room work?
A virtual waiting room is a website page that is shown to a customer when a web server is too busy to serve them, that sends them through to the protected web server when it is their turn automatically. This optimizes customer flow and service quality.
We've made it as easy as possible for our clients and their customers to access what they want without a hitch, matching top technology with best psychology practices to prevent dropping any confused or impatient visitors. By controlling the flow of traffic in a way that optimizes customer flow for maximum operational efficiency, we deliver an improved customer experience with far better outcomes.
- A visitor arrives at your website or hits the link to enter, or uses your mobile app.
- If the site or mobile app is busy, the user is queued in a virtual waiting room away from your website and kept up-to-date with all the information they require to stay in the queue, including waiting time, how many people are ahead of them, and an engaging animated progress bar to deliver a great experience.
- When they reach the front of the ‘first come, first served’ queue system, the user is sent back to your website by the queue management system automatically.
That’s the simple version of the customer experience. Here’s a bit more detail into what goes on behind the scenes in a queue management system.
1. We keep your websites safe from overloading, crashing, preventing a loss of income
The SafeGuard Rate Limit is the number of visitors your website can manage without putting stressful loads onto your single server or multiple servers and their systems. The SafeGuard Rate Limit is your web-traffic safety net.
Your Queue-Fair Portal allows you to measure your traffic volume in real-time, giving you vital customer data for your online retail stores and allowing you complete control of your Queue Rate (the number of visitors fed back to your website each minute by the queue management system waiting lines).
In SafeGuard Mode, your queue system is always active, but your visitors won't know that until numbers exceed your SafeGuard Rate Limit. The way we measure user rates is the magic of our customer queue and has been since 2004. Traditional methods of measuring the number of active users are flawed, often producing inaccurate figures or leaving users stuck behind visitors who may never complete the transaction.
2. Queue Rate and SafeGuard Rate
Queue Rate controls the outflow of visitors to your website from the virtual waiting room.
SafeGuard Rate manages the inflow of visitors to your queue. This is also the activation threshold that determines when your Queue Page customer experience is shown (when you have customers waiting).
Outflow rate and inflow threshold are measured in visitors per minute and typically set at the same quantity by default in queue management systems.
The benefit of having two separate rates means if you're transferring visitors from one site, your main website for example, to another where your booking or buying system operates, it's quite possible that they have different limits to how many users they can manage at any given time. By setting your inflow and outflow rates accordingly, you choose precisely when the queuing system automatically takes effect in the most cost effective way, maximizing operational efficiencies by providing a steady and measured customer flow to the payment site. This guarantees the optimum visitors to your sales and bookings area at the rate it can operate the most efficiently, delivering the great experience that your customers want as part of their customer journey to the most people that it can in real time.
3. Setting up your queues
Setting up a standalone queuing system takes two simple steps: configuration and integration of the queue management system. We’ll talk about integration adapters in section 6.
Activating a queue
Activating a queue is a simple process governed by defined rules. If you've ever applied rules within your email software, or used Google Tag Manager, you'll already feel comfortable with our standalone queue system.
The activation rules can be dictated by the domain, a path, a query-string, or cookies detailing visitor's page visits. Once all of the rules deliver a match, the user drops into the queue.
How many queues do you need?
This depends on the architecture of your site or sites and their bottlenecks.
If you have separate sites using different machines, you'll need multiple queues and virtual waiting rooms which may have different waiting times within the same queue system. If, on the other hand, you have several webservers drawing from a single database machine, then a single queue should be all you need.
The other factor in play is what the business requires from its queue. This can cover a range of eventualities.
- A simple safeguarding solution to protect busy websites and server performance.
- When serving the same content to differently branded domains or in different languages.
- You have allocated VIP status to visitors you want to receive the fastest service.
- Various campaigns run from the same set of machines, using different brands, countries, or promotions.
- Specific events that require their own queues and virtual waiting rooms.
Customizing your queues to brand the waiting room experience
As with all of our deliverable pages, customization is simple and straightforward with our queue management system. Branding, colors, and text are only the start. We give you access to the HTML code so you can take as much control over the look and feel as you want for a complete enterprise solution. With Queue-Fair you can provide fully branded customer journeys through your waiting lines with the highest service quality - it's the perfect queuing system.
4. Joining a queue
For example, a direct link from an email campaign and a server-side adapter on your website can drive users to the same queue, for a consistent customer journey. You can even use client-side and server-side adapters on the same page!
5. Leaving a queue
Visitors leaving a queue or joining the site directly without seeing a Virtual Waiting Room (Queue Page) are labeled as Passed. Passed visitors don't stay that way forever. They receive a passed string or a cookie with a given lifetime that you decide. This protects them from having to re-join a waiting room they've already been through while allowing you the ability to have them join the same waiting room on subsequent visits in the future, for an improved customer journey.
6. Network-Edge, Server-side and client-side adapters
Network-edge adapters run on your CDN or Cloud provider, before requests even reach your origin server - ideal and secure protection for when things get busy. You can install the Network-edge adapter just once and then fully administer your queues with the Queue-Fair Portal.
Server-side adapters require a small amount of library code installed on the webserver. This code downloads and stores the Queue-Fair settings you decide and set up using the Queue-Fair Portal. The code manages HTTP requests for the pages on your site, redirecting visitors to our Queue-Servers whenever they qualify.
A client-side adapter requires no server-side code, but a simple single line of HTML code added to the
7. Direct links
A direct link sends a visitor straight to the queue they need to join on their customer journey. If fewer visitors arrive in the queue system than the SafeGuard Rate, they are sent directly to the target page without ever seeing the Queue Page.
If you’d like even more information, get a copy of our Technical Guide that describes the Queue-Fair queue system in full
Despite labeling this article as a deeper-dive into our standalone queue system, we have to admit it's barely scraped the surface. There's only a limited amount of information we can deliver in one short article on a Virtual Waiting Room queue management system, after all. The details provided in this article are merely a summary of our Queue-Fair Technical Guide.
You can download a full copy of the guide from our website. If you’re considering joining the Queue-Fair family, we’d heartily recommend it.
There's a host of information that will put both beginners' and tech-experts' minds at rest, giving you the confidence that with the Queue-Fair queue management system in place, your systems are safe from overloading and costly losses from system crashes because of our queue management technology. Our support staff will be happy to provide any other resources into our queue management technology and services you may need—get in touch with our office by any of the usual contact methods.