Managing customers' queue experience and waiting time is an essential part of delighting your customers. The purpose of this page is to give you a central understanding of what a queue management system is, why it's important and how to choose a solution.
What is Queue Management?
As explained in the article How to manage customers' waiting experience, there are two types of waiting time.
- The actual time between the customer first decides to get something until they have it.
- The perceived time between the customer first decides to get something until they have it.
As a service provider, you need to consider both types of waiting time. If you want to improve the customer experience, you need to reduce the actual waiting time while enhancing the perceived waiting time.
Queue Management vs. Customer Journey Management
The term Queue Management appeared in the mid 20th century. At that time, the main focus was to improve the customer's queue experience by decreasing the actual wait time inside, e.g., a restaurant. In recent years new technology has evolved into a more complex customer journey. Today, service providers need to manage the entire customer journey, from pre-arrival to post serving. Thus, we at Qmatic rather refer to Customer Journey Management than Queue Management. On the page Customer Journey Management, you can learn more about the difference between the terms.
However, on this page, we will refer to a renewed definition of traditional Queue Management:
“Queue Management is the process of improving your business by managing customers' waiting experience throughout their entire customer journey.”
What is a Queue Management System?
Types of a queue management system
As mentioned above, a queue management system can contain both software and hardware. Below are examples of such pieces. Some of them can be used independently but the more sophisticated solutions combine the different modules into a seamless omnichannel solution.
Examples of software in a queue management system:
- Online appointment booking
- Virtual queuing via smartphone
- Staff apps to arrive and serve customers
- Customer and staff notifications
- Real-time monitoring of operations
- Customer feedback surveys
- Extensive statistics and analyses
Examples of hardware in a queue management system:
- Self-service kiosk
- Ticket printers
- Digital signage
- Media Player
- Vision and Sound
Benefits of a Queue Management System
Improve access to services with appointment scheduling
By offering customers to schedule appointments, you can estimate the expected number of customers. In the article, Appointment scheduling solution: What, how, and why, you can learn more about the benefits of appointment systems.
Decrease actual waiting time by better time management
The Queue Management System helps you identify how you can streamline the entire customer journey.
Reduce customer uncertainty with notifications and messaging
With a Queue Management System, customers can get SMS or email notifications with reminders of their appointments, information about how to prepare for their appointment and even self check-in links. With messaging through for example digital signage, it is possible to share details such as the number of open counters, services offered, current waiting, and transaction times.
Keep customers entertained with media solutions in the waiting area
By integrating media displays with a Queue Management System you keep the waiting customer both entertained and informed, which in turn decreases their perceived waiting time.
Allow customers to wait wherever they prefer with a mobile ticket
Enable customers to get a mobile ticket instead of a physical one with your Queue Management System. This means that the customer can wait where they like and spend their time wisely which both decreases the risk of crowded lobbies and increases the customer's waiting experience.
Enable staff planning and increase staff mobility
Gathering real-time data, the Queue Management System can facilitate the manager's staff planning. It helps managers get a balanced and controlled waiting period and distribute staff where they are most needed.
Match the right competence to each case
A Queue Management System enables organizations to segment customers in different queues, rather than entering all customers in the same line.
Improve personalization of service delivery
A Queue Management System offers several opportunities for improved personalization.
Identify bottlenecks and improve
By gathering data throughout the customer journey, such as service times and waiting times, you can get a complete overview of your current service performance.
Which industries benefit the most of a Queue Management System?
All organizations benefit from satisfied customers. But some industries stand out more than others when it comes to the need for a Queue Management System; finance, healthcare, retail, and the public sector.
Queue management systems in the public sector
There is an ongoing digital transformation in the public sector where more and more government offices implement a modern and digital queue management solution. The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the speed of this transformation and many government offices have looked for a solution that also ensures a safe customer journey and staff work environment. A Queue Management System can enable a safe queueing experience while providing service providers with conditions to deliver high-quality services and improve customers' satisfaction.
Government offices face many challenges today. Skill shortage, efficiency targets, and limited budgets are a few examples. With a queue management system, you can get the most value from your resources without having too many employees on hand.
On the page Queuing solutions for government offices, you can learn more about the benefits of Queue Management Systems in public services & government offices.
Queue management systems in hospitals
Everyday healthcare facilities get visited by generally worried patients, stressed, and sometimes even in pain. If you want to improve the patient experience, you need to create a comfortable environment.
Most healthcare facilities are under pressure to provide high-quality service while coping with limited resources. These circumstances usually create a very stressful experience for both patients and staff alike.
To create a comfortable environment for both patients and staff, you need to streamline your operation. In the article Queue Management Systems in hospitals, you can read more about how Queue Management Systems can help you improve your healthcare facility; in the end, you can find some results that previous hospitals have achieved.
Queue management systems in retail
Retail customers shop online, on mobile, and in-store. As customers' expectations increase, you, as a retailer, need to create a seamless and flawless customer journey.
By implementing a Queue Management System, you can get the insights to understand, anticipate, and meet the customer's expectations.
Within a Queue Management System, many features help retailers improve customer experience; here are some examples:
Location-based mobile app
Make it easy for customers to find your store with a location-based mobile app, and make it easy for them to purchase online and pick up their purchase at your store.
Let customers check-in via their mobile phone and make it easier for them to browse your store.
SMS and digital signage
Reduce actual and perceived waiting times by keeping the customer updated via SMS or digital signage.
On the page Retail Industry Solutions, you can read more about managing customers' wait time in retail.
Queue management systems in banks
The service quality and customer experience are crucial for banks today. If you do not live up to customer expectations, it's easier than ever before for them to shift bank.
You need to increase the perception of your bank. However, striving for an instant service experience often requires many employees and can lead to unsustainable costs in the long run.
By implementing a Queue Management System, banks can improve the efficiency and quality of service without increasing the cost too much. In the article, Queue Management Systems in banks, you can read more about how banks can benefit from replacing traditional analog queue systems, with new modern Queue Management Systems.
How does a Queue Management System work?
Watch the Video to see how a Queue Management System can work:
How to choose the best Queue Management System
What to consider when choosing a Queue Management System supplier
The key criteria when selecting a Queue Management System supplier:
- Proven track record
- Experience of Queue Management in your industry
- Understanding your specific visitors’ issues and experience
- The ability to engage all stakeholders
- Project management expertise
- Flexible pricing or total cost of ownership to accommodate your budget and needs, now and in the future
- Integration support
What to consider when choosing a Queue Management System
Below are some important factors to consider when choosing a Queue Management System:
The solution should ensure that customer data is secured and protected and that there is functionality to assist with GDPR compliance.
Should the solution be able to accommodate growing demands when your organization or service grows, or when customers’ demands expand?
Offer omnichannel solutions
A wide range of demography may require services in physical and/or digital environments, so consider an omnichannel solution that can cater to the requirements through various channels, without any gaps.
Integrated, from pre-arrival through post-service
To improve your customer journey, you need to consider all customer touch points. Ensure your system integrates physical and digital channels seamlessly.
Collection of data at all touch points
Get the insights needed to improve and streamline your service performance by investing in a system that gather data from all customer touch points.
Ability to match customer needs with employee skills
A more streamlined process that connects customers to the right employee is the key to handle higher demands more efficiently.
Allows third party integration
In the need of customization, the system needs to allow additional third-party features to be built on top if required.
Ability to handle changes without disrupting the flow
A Queue Management System should be able to handle both appointment and walk-in visitors and adapt if someone cancels or comes late.
Easy to configure and possible to personalize the user interface
Organizations are not all the same, and neither are their customers, so the solution should be configurable to manage all the different requirements.
“In the article, Important factors to consider when choosing a queue management system, you can learn more about important things to consider when investing in a Queue Management System. ”
Queue Management System price
The price of a queue management system really depends on what the requirements are. It ranges from a simple manual ticketing dispenser all the way to a fully flexible customer journey management solution integrated with the rest of the business.
How to implement a Queue Management System
The supplier installs and configures the system, but there are some steps you need to think about throughout the implementation phase. Below are a few examples of what we recommend organizations to consider when implementing a Queue Management System.
Identify your business needs
The required functions of a Queue Management System vary among organizations, industries, and countries. Therefore, you'll need to thoroughly identify your needs together with the supplier as the first step.
As stated in the article, How to reduce customer wait times with automation, Steve Jobs once said, “You start with the customer and work backwards with the technology.” When identifying your needs, start with creating a list of all the services you provide. Make sure you separate between the services you provide and the services you perform. It’s a big difference.
Walk the customer journey yourself. By actually going through each customer touch point, you can easily detect gaps and breaks in your customer journey.
Set clear objectives
To ensure high quality, cost savings, and effective timings during the implementation phase, we recommend that organizations mutually agree on objectives and expectations and plan the implementation together with the Queue Management System supplier.
In the article, How to reduce customer wait times with automation, the author define the service level as the maximum time that it is okay for the customer to wait in a queue. One important objective when implementing a Queue Management System is to define this acceptable wait time for each queue. Then you can configure the system to call the customer closest to the end of his/her service level.
Test the system before launch
After the supplier has configured the software and installed the hardware on your premise, you must get time to test and verify that the solution meets your objectives and expectations.
Develop the right skill sets
To maximize the value of the Queue Management System, your employees must develop the right skill sets. We recommend that you require proper training from your supplier.
Evaluate and refine
Make sure you continually evaluate your results from the Queue Management System. Does it solve your needs and meet your objectives? Have a close dialogue with your supplier to refine if needed.
On the page, a world-class client success program, you can read more about how we help our customers design, develop, and implement Queue Management Systems.