Queue management systems (QMSs) help businesses address and improve productivity and turnover, all while improving client satisfaction. Queues are never fun for customers, but they are necessary for a lot of situations. Fortunately, companies can manage queues so that they provide a more streamlined experience and engage customers.
Using queues effectively is a must for successful companies today.
Customers never enjoy waiting in line to get goods and services. However, when demand exceeds the ability to supply, queues are inevitable. The average person spends five years waiting in lines—and anything that businesses can do to cut down on that time, or enhance that time, is integral.
What is a queue management system?
The most traditional queue is a standing line of people waiting to be served in a restaurant or retail shop. Customers have to line up for services when there are not enough service points in a location to meet the demand of all of the clients at one time.
Examples of queues include:
- Structured queues, such as waiting in a physical line or using a ticket system.
- Unstructured queues, such as where people form a queue with little direction or guidance.
- Mobile and virtual queues, such as checking in online before visiting a store or setting a time to pick up items.
A queue management system creates order to this waiting line. It spurs the actions needed to render the entire process more effective and streamlined. In some situations, it can eliminate the need for a formal queue altogether.
The effective queue management system will examine the number of customers, how they are served, characteristics of the queue, patterns of demand, and a lot more. By performing this in-depth examination of factors, businesses can garner a better understanding of customer needs and wants—and implement a queue system that works well for a given situation.
Effective management of this process creates a lot of advantages, from customer satisfaction to increases in job satisfaction for workers. It can also increase a business’ bottom line by making services faster and more effective.
In response to COVID-19, queue management systems that allow customers to physically distance are more important than ever. By giving customers the option to create virtual queues, for example, retailers can help drive business back to the physical retail space without concerns about being too close to others in a physical line.
How does a queue management system work?
Ideally, an effective queue management system will completely eliminate lines or waiting times. While that ideal is not always possible—it is the goal.
Queue management systems are a part of offering modern customer service. They attempt to optimize the customer experience. That process starts by examining how goods and services are delivered to the end-user. The creation of a QMS involves an examination of:
- Customer population
- Method of arrival (such as in groups or individually, timing, and customer distribution)
- Service mechanism (including whether there are separate queues for each service)
- Customer behaviors while in the queue
- Customer behavior and how businesses interact with the customer are both key components of creating an effective queue management system.
What are the benefits of a queue management system?
Customers do not like to wait. In fact, customers are more likely to return to a business that understands and values their time.
Roughly 72% of customers surveyed have indicated that valuing the customer’s time is the most important aspect of any company. In addition, some research indicates that the human attention span is dropping—decreasing 25% in just a few years. As a result, minimizing wait times is critical for thriving companies.
Below are just a few of the benefits that effective queue management systems can provide to businesses:
Decrease customer complaints.
As customers want businesses to value their time, they will complain if they feel like their time is not being respected. Having to wait in long lines or for significant amounts of time before getting service will often trigger complaints.
Even if businesses cannot decrease wait times, effective queue management that gives customers a realistic estimate of how long they need to wait makes wait times feel shorter. When clients feel like they do not have to wait as long, even if wait times do not change, they feel like they are using their time more effectively.
Boost staff productivity.
When long lines appear, staff may feel compelled to manage the lines, such as by ensuring that people stay in line or by creating physical barriers. When businesses already have the mechanisms in place to deal with queues, staff can focus on serving customers rather than performing queue management tasks.
Staff is actually more likely to feel like they are being productive and fulfilling their job duties effectively when they can focus on customer service. In turn, this creates a sense of pride in their work and accomplishment—which can cut down on turnover over the long run.
Improve business image.
Effective queue management gives clients a “feel good” vibe about the company. When they feel like their time is respected, they are more likely to have positive feedback for the business.
When businesses use queue management technology effectively, customers will often assume that the company is more innovative or technologically advanced compared to others.
In addition, creating customer engagement while they wait in queues can also boost company image and provide valuable insight into customer wants, needs, and patterns.
Track and evaluate employee and management performance.
A QMS can help any company track employee performance and measure the effectiveness of specific changes, and a lot more. Administration can evaluate what efforts are working with regard to serving customers more effectively compared to simply relying on anecdotal employee feedback.
Ultimately, all of this information allows companies to plan and use resources better and in a way that optimizes performance.
Why are queue management systems a must for modern businesses?
With increases in technology, customers are demanding more and better from businesses that serve them—from restaurants to public service providers, to retail spaces. Today’s technology is forcing all types of companies to provide faster, more streamlined services.
If a business cannot keep up, clients are going to other businesses that can. In fact, a 2014 study from American Express noted that customers are only willing to wait up to 14 minutes for service. Retail stores noted that customers are only willing to wait five minutes or less before abandoning a purchase and leaving the store. With decreased attention spans and increased reliance on technology, those numbers are expected to continue to decline.
Businesses cannot afford to ignore customer wait times if they want to increase or even maintain demand.
Ombori can help address this concern and create a queue management system that fits with every business. Learn more by contacting our team.
Andreas is Founder and CEO of Ombori. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded several companies, starting in his teens. He has a background in cybersecurity, and has worked for companies such as H&M and Nordnet Bank. Andreas is a passionate believer in digital transformation, and is constantly seeking ways in which technology can change the way we work, shop, and live our lives.