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How to reduce long coat check lines and keep your customers happy

Creating a positive customer experience is essential to operating a nightclub, concert hall, and museum. Unfortunately, the lines their customers often find themselves in during arrival or departure seem frustrating and inevitable. Until now, that is!

Whether you’re looking to improve your existing coatroom, designing a new facility, or considering taking the plunge into our paperless coat check system, Chexology believes everyone should have a smooth coat check experience where lines move in an expedited fashion, or don’t exist at all. At the end of the day, the faster your customers can get in the door, the faster they can start spending money!

So, without further ado, here are seven tried and true ways to improve your checkroom speed.

1. Use signs to prepare your customers

Airports have this step-down cold. We all know the drill: “Take your shoes off, and place all laptops in the tray.” You likely won’t need tough-looking employees in blue vests to bark at customers as TSA does. Two to three signs usually do the trick.

We recommend placing a few signs on coatroom line stanchions (wall signs work, too), encouraging your customers to have their coats off and ready. It’s also helpful to post pricing and acceptable payment options. We recommend making them funny and keeping the messaging simple to catch their attention. Use visuals and colors, and if you can, animate them!

Not only will educating your customers with signs speed up your line, but you’ll also entice new customers to your coatroom.

Here are two examples:

2. Pre-tag your hangers

If using paper, loop your coat tickets around the hanger before the rush. Rip the bottom half of the ticket off for the customer as you hang their coat, and you’re done!

Pre-tagging your hangers prevents the awkward process of trying to hang a coat, then threading the top of the hanger through the hole of the claim ticket in a quick session. The delicateness of the paper ticket forces everyone to do it slowly so that it doesn't tear. After adopting this pre-tagging trick, you’ll be amazed at how efficient your coat check team will be.

We discovered this speedy technique when observing plastic duplicate coat tag operations where the service is complimentary, like at museums and restaurants. In fact, our coat check system, where customers do not get a claim ticket, was designed to take the best elements of both the duplicate plastic and paper tags.

Each hanger has a pre-assigned tag with a built-in NFC chip so your staff can simply tap and go! That way, it tracks revenue like the paper tickets while keeping the coats organized daily in the same sequence as the plastic tags, all while matching the pre-tag process speed.

3. Utilize the assembly line approach

With someone focusing on taking coats, another handling the money, and yet another coat checker dedicated to hanging them, you will drastically increase the number of coats you can cycle through in a short period. This system allows for simultaneous transactions and is not dependent on each customer's entire coat-checking process before the next customer can approach.

We observed this process years ago while operating our first coat check room in Indiana. We saw such a huge benefit from using the assembly line approach that we baked it into our paperless system. Handling transactions simultaneously is now handled by our iOS app saving your staff and your customers time.

4. Ditch your little paper tickets and go digital

Paper is inherently flawed. Paper tickets are easy to lose. They make it easy for people to claim someone else's valuables. Chexology’s digital system is faster than your current paper coat check tickets.

Through one iOS app, Chexology helps you connect directly to your customers’ smartphones. Essentially, your customer becomes their own claim ticket. You customers can hand over their coat, tap in their phone number and go! They receive a customized text message that no one else can steal. No more misplaced claim tickets. No more lost items and no more slow-moving lines. You get affordable technology that outperforms paper.

We accomplish this by allowing your coat checkers to simultaneously perform transactions while your guests complete their end of the transaction.

“Our coat check lines used to be 45 minutes on sold-out nights. Now, it’s under 10, thanks to Chexology.” - Jason Nichols, VP of Operations at BNEG

5. Chexology allows you to add customers waiting in line to your digital queue

By stationing a coat checker at the back of your line, they can cordially request the customer's digital claim ticket (or phone number) and enter that information into their handheld device (an iPhone or iPad). Then, their information is added to the on-counter kiosk (a second iPhone or an iPad). Similar to the concept we often witness while picking up fast food at a drive-thru, the coat checkers at the front counter cycle through their queued orders to have the customer’s jacket ready to go as they approach the front line. You end up with a lightning-fast process with many of your customers saying things like, “Wow!” and “So cool! Thank you!”

6. For callosal lines, we created the ChexPass feature

ChexPass is the claim ticket for Apple Wallets and Google Pay. Your customer is prompted to scan a QR code as they get in line. The code instantly adds a digital coat check ticket to their Apple Wallet or Google Pay account. Now, all they have to do is tap their phone to the NFC reader at the front of the count and go!

At the end of the night, they simply tap their phone to queue up their belongings and find them magically waiting for them at the counter. Bing. Bang. Boom.

“63.6% of consumers say they will likely check Google reviews before visiting a business.”

7. Improve your customer reviews

Consumer feedback on platforms like Google, Yelp, Facebook, and TripAdvisor is more critical than ever. According to ReviewTrackers, 63.6% of consumers say they are likely to check Google reviews before visiting a business. Potential customers trust the candid feedback of your previous patrons.

Regarding customer reviews of nightclubs, concert venues, and museums, our research indicated that most negative reviews mention “long lines” as their key frustration. There are two key tactics to handle these types of negative reviews.

  • Respond to negative reviews quickly. Sometimes it feels as though the internet is written in permanent ink. So be polite and companionate. Admit fault and apologize if you are in the wrong. Honesty goes a long way in responding to a frustrated customer. If you feel your customer is being ridiculous, consider using a light sense of humor regarding the matter and stand confidently behind your team.

  • Work on improving the speed of your lines. By following the line-busting solutions above and adopting Chexology’s paperless claim ticketing system, you can dramatically reduce your long lines and improve your online reviews.

Who exactly is Chexology?

If you've ever visited one of our client's coat check rooms, Chexology is serious about improving your customer's experience. If you haven't, it's nice to meet you.

Chexology is a global tech company headquartered in New York City. As seen on ABC's Shark Tank, the company's patented software disrupts the hospitality & entertainment industries by eliminating paper claim tickets in coat check, bell desk, rental, and valet services. Chexology's products have tackled colossal challenges caused by antiquated processes for some of the world's largest brands, including Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Accor Live Limitless, Live Nation, and AEG Worldwide, as well as premier venues like MoMA, ICC Sydney, Olympia London, and Barclay's Center.


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