Queue management and customer flow

Customers or clients are crucial for any business. No business can thrive without customers. Imagine situations outside banks or an electricity bill payment counter with long queues. These customers, often standing in long queues causes commotion and dissatisfaction amongst customers. However, missing a payment of a bill is not desirable. Hence standing in the queue and paying it is of utmost importance. However, to manage these queues to give satisfaction to one’s customers is called queue management.

There are various kinds of queues – structured queues and unstructured queues. Structured queues are the ones found outside supermarkets or outside airports where the queue is formed in a predictable manner. The unstructured queues are formed by people from different locations gathered in the queue waiting area, like the queue outside an ATM or taxi queues. There is yet again a third kind of queue called the mobile queue. Here the customers can let the service provider know about their problem through an application in their mobile phones without physically waiting in a queue. Thus these queues in the queue waiting area are nothing but ways to measure customer flow in a structured and easy way. Knowing the number of footfall gives a better view of the business.

Queue Management

Queue management is essential for mainly two reasons: for enhanced customer satisfaction and for reduction of cost. There are many automatic queuing system that are used to count footfall in an outlet or a bank or a supermarket. They use people sensors at entrances or at waiting areas of the queue to measure the number of people and to gauge their behavior.

The automatic queuing system measures the following things : number of people entering the said place, the length of the queue, average waiting and idle time, total waiting time. Overhead detectors are used in areas where queues are long and in locations where the length of the queue cannot be gauged. Also, with advanced technological developments leading to connectivity through network, there is an increased scope of deploying queue management system centrally.

These computerized queue management systems give a more or less accurate data about the customer flow, the time of waiting, the idle time that is wasted between processes and also about the behavior and attitude of people. This in turn helps to improve the services to provide better customer satisfaction. Cost reduction is also possible through these queue management software.

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