A queue management system is invaluable for in-store crowd control but it is not a magic wand that eliminates all your problems. The system can be combined with a variety of tried and tested line management systems to work efficiently and improve productivity. Other times the secret lies in leveraging the technology to improve movement through the queue.
There are a few great ideas that you can implement in a busy store to solve the most common queue problems.
Problem: Complaints about long waiting times
Solution: Publish estimated waiting times
Studies have consistently shown that unknown waits feel longer than known waits. Simply preparing your customers psychologically can help to reduce complaints and ensure more patient customers.
Use digital signage, static signage or even text messaging to let your clients know how long they can expect to wait in line. One of the problems with unknown wait times is the customer may overestimate how long he has been waiting, further aggravating the situation.
Problem: Restless Customers
Solution: In-Queue merchandising
Waiting in line is unavoidable but it doesn’t have to be boring. You can keep your customer busy with in-queue merchandising while at the same time increasing your bottom line. Racks, baskets, bowls and displays work well in this case. People feel like they have waited for a shorter time if they are occupied in the queue.
Problem: Reneging and queue jumping
Solution: Use a Single-Line, Multi-Serve Queue
Customers may jump the queue or change lines if they feel that another line is moving faster than the one they are on. Choosing the ‘right’ queue is also frustrating for the customer. A single-line, multi-serve approach ensures that the queue moves smoothly. The additional points of service relieve pressure from the service point or customer that is taking too long.
Problem: Unpredictable queues
Solution: pre-scheduled waits
A queue management system that allows customers to reserve a position in line or set appointments can make a tremendous difference in footfall and crowd control. Allow your clients to make appointment before they physically arrive whether that is through a mobile app or online.
The advantage here is two fold; your clients are happy that they get quick service and your staff can predict service workloads and therefore work efficiently.
Problem: Clients joining the wrong queue
Solution: Directional signage
It is wrong to assume that all your clients know where to go, where to wait, which queue to join and so on especially if you offer multiple services. Directional signage ensures that the customers join the correct queue and generally navigates the process more efficiently.
Problem: Customers Queuing Twice (for Enquiry and for Purchase)
Solution: Place Staff on Shop Floor
There is no reason a client should queue to ask a question and again to pay for purchases. Spreading the staff evenly around the shop floor means that the customer can have his question addressed while still shopping. Make sure that there is a knowledgeable staff member(s) within the vicinity of your queue(s) so customers can ask questions or raise concerns without losing their place in line.
These are just some ideas to use with your queue management system to ensure effective crowd control. The point is to use systems and strategies that work for your specific business and your unique queueing needs.