Five strategies for effective queue management

There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer or patient than being told ‘you’re next’ before waiting another 45 minutes. Efficiently managing customer waiting time is one of the most important parts of running a business or organisation.

These strategies are simple to put in place and can help you to effectively manage queues and retain customers.

1. Train your employees

It’s your employees, whether that’s shop assistants or secretaries, that are the first port of call for waiting customers or patients. Making sure your employees are proficiently trained to manage customers and clearly communicate information to them can stop issues from arising. A well-trained, friendly member of staff can diffuse a situation and turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one.

2. Manage expectations

Part of efficient queue management is managing expectations. If a customer or patient arrives and thinks they have only a short waiting time to discover they have longer to wait, they will naturally be dismayed. Telling customers or patients they have a more prolonged wait than expected gives them time to do something else, be that go out for a coffee or wander around the shops. This will stop them from sitting or standing in one place and becoming frustrated.

3. Look after your waiting area

Nobody wants to wait in a grey room that may or may not have been cleaned since 1975. Look after your reception area, leave reading materials to entertain customers and stop them from getting bored. If your customers usually have longer waits, make sure there are comfortable seats for them to sit in. Always make sure there is enough seating, as standing customers will be the first to get agitated.

4. Install a queue management system

Manage waiting customers with a digital queue management system. Allowing customers to join a virtual queue using their mobile phone can allow them to queue remotely, and spend their ‘waiting time’ the way they want. Once their turn comes they will be notified on their mobile phone and then all they have to do is go along to their appointment. This will enhance their customer experience, making it more likely they will return to your business.

5. Perfect your service recovery

If a customer does have a poor experience it’s important your staff are also trained in service recovery. If they handle a bad situation well this can turn anger into loyalty. Keeping calm, accepting there is an issue and offering helpful resolutions can turn a situation around, and create an even more satisfied customer than if everything had run smoothly.

QLess is the leading queue management system, used around the world by educational institutions, government agencies, retail and healthcare organisation. Get in touch to find out how our award-winning queue management system can help you to eliminate customer queues in your organisation