Tips & Resources

Queue Management Systems (QMS) 101: How to Control The Flow of Waiting Lines Effectively

Jessica Day
By Jessica True
15 June, 2022

Your ultimate guide to queue management systems 2022. Engage customers & optimise your business image with the best queue management system.

Queue Management Systems (QMS) 101: How to Control The Flow of Waiting Lines Effectively

Queues are an inevitable part of life. If your business works with drop-in customers, you’ll know this as well as anyone. 

Controlling the flow of your business’s waiting lines is essential to running a smooth business, ensuring your customers are happy and engaged with your brand, and relieving stress for everyone concerned. 

queue management app helps reduce wait times and makes your customers’ waiting experiences much better. Further to this, an effective queue management system manages customers’ waits by keeping them informed at every step of the queue.   

Let’s explore this in more detail. 

What is Queue Management?

Queue management is a set of processes aimed at controlling customer flow and making queuing experiences more efficient. The goal of queue management is to reduce actual and perceived wait times and increase the number of customers served and their overall satisfaction.  

What is a Queue Management System?

Queue management systems come in many forms. From physical barriers at events through to theatre ushers, these are all queue management systems in operation. Ideally, queue management systems would prevent queues from forming in the first place, but that’s not really a practical scenario. 

Joining a queue is one of the first stages of a customer’s interaction with your business. By managing this first step effectively, you optimise your customer’s experience and encourage them to stick around. 

By asking yourself, “What is business communication like in our company?”, you can easily identify areas of ideal communication and areas for improvement. A QMS instantly improves your business’s communications with customers by notifying them of expected wait times. 

Queue management systems are essentially a combination of tools that equip your business with the information needed to observe, prepare, forecast, and manage your customers’ experience from arrival to departure. 

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Perceived Wait Time 

Perceived wait times detail the amount of time your customers feel like they’re waiting. Disorganised and lengthy queues add to customers’ perception that they’ll be waiting a long time to be served. 

A robust queue management system should enhance the customer experience by effectively managing wait time perception. When your business can manage both the perception and expectation of wait times, your customers will automatically become more satisfied. 

Some methods of achieving this include:

  • Start the check-in process early.
  • Communicate accurate wait time expectations.
  • Create methods of occupying waiting customers.
  • Split waiting times up into sections.
  • Preempt unexpected delays by communicating early.  

    Control the Flow of Your Waiting Lines 

    In this article, we focus on digital queue management solutions that act as automated tools to optimise your customer queuing experience. Digital QMS can be combined with some of the following features:

    • Appointment scheduling: Automated reminders and diary scheduling. 
    • Virtual queuing: Allows customers to check-in to a queue, regardless of their location. 
    • Capacity control: Data insights from customer arrivals and exits determine accurate occupancy levels.
    • Automated wait time alerts: Real-time updates on unexpected delays to keep customers informed. 
    • Self-service customer check-in: Some providers offer QR code functionality for customers to scan and join a queue. 

    One such virtual queue management solution by TIMIFY works to allow customers to wait conveniently off-site, reduces congestion at your premises, and improves the safety of your team members, customers, and visitors alike. 

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    Different Types of Queues 

    Depending on your business, you may experience different types of queuing methods. The type of queuing relevant to your company will dictate the type of QMS that works best.

    1. FIFO (First In, First Out)

    Customers are served in the order they arrive, with the customer waiting the longest served first. 

    2. SIRO (Service in Random Order)

    In this queue method, customers are selected randomly from the queue. 

    3. Priority 

    Priority queues are used in healthcare settings to service customers according to the severity of their problems. 

    4. SPT (Shortest Processing Time)

    SPT queue procedures are used for businesses that operate different processing times according to the service required. 

    What Are the Benefits of a Queue Management System?

    For your customers, the benefits of a queue management system can include:

    • Lessening of customer anxiety.
    • Aiding social distancing.
    • Smooth and contactless queuing. 
    • Improving customer satisfaction. 
    • Personalised service. 

    And for your business, you’ll experience:

    • Fewer demands on reception staff.
    • Increasing staff productivity rates. 
    • Boosting staff morale. 
    • Capability to make data-backed business decisions. 
    • Better customer-business relationships. 
    • Areas of improvement that are easily identified. 
    • Centrally-controlled management.
    • Valuable data collection.

    Integrating a queue management system into your business operations enables you to plan staffing schedules effectively and allocate team members to areas of your business where they’re needed the most. Advanced QMS features allow for customer segmentation into different queues, so that you can match team members’ competencies to the most appropriate customers. 

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    How to Choose a Queue Management System

    Much like choosing an automation platform for your business, considering the best fit QMS depends on several factors, some of which are highlighted below. 

    1. Customisable Solutions

    Look out for personalised customer email and SMS templates to ensure your software delivers an on-brand solution. Choose a QMS that offers customisation options to tailor your business’s services and specific processes. 

    2. Security

    Your customers’ data must be secure with the software solution and adhere to GDPR compliance. 

    3. Configurable Options 

    Your QMS solution should integrate with your existing software and be an enhancement, rather than a distraction. Check the capabilities of integration options with the QMS you favour. 

    4. Mobile Optimised Software

    Your team members must be able to operate the QMS software on different devices to optimise the customer experience. A seamless transition between tablet, mobile, and desktop is essential. Mobile compatibility means that customers can join your queue from different locations by checking in on their mobile devices. These features all serve to enhance your customers’ perception of your brand. 

    5. Real-time Monitoring 

    QMS software that functions in real-time helps you to make rapid business decisions based on accurate data and encourages quicker process enhancements. Customer flows must be frictionless, so ensure your intended software links the entire customer journey at every touchpoint to maximise data collection. 

    6. IoT App Development 

    Seek an intuitive queue management system that offers complete APIs. Doing this means that as your business grows, you can incorporate IoT app development opportunities into the mix and offer your customers even more. 

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    Queue Management System Features 

    When you’re looking for a QMS, here are some features that’ll make your business run smoothly:

    • QR scanning functionality.
    • Recurring bookings.
    • Calendar sync.
    • Unlimited booking capabilities. 
    • Appointment scheduling.
    • Self-service customer check-in.
    • Capacity control. 
    • Intuitive notifications using instant messaging apps for business.
    • Pre-defined resource allocation.
    • Priority status.
    • Accurate wait time displays.
    • Virtual queuing. 

    To make the most of your queue management system, train your staff to abide by these queuing method principles:

    • Greet: this initial phase handles the registration of customers by taking their relevant details. Get this part right and your customers will already feel valued by your company. 
    • Inform: let your customers know of their approximate wait time in the queue. 
    • Serve: deliver exceptional customer service now your customers’ wait time is over.
    • Analyse: a QMS provides valuable data about your customers, queue insights, and information you can use to improve your queue management in the future. 

      QMS Data Analysis

      Intuitive queue management systems enhance your business’s decisions by providing meaningful insights into customer behaviour and preferences, revenue, and resource usage. 

      Create and track important KPIs that are relevant to your business and industry to enhance your customers’ experience with you. For instance, you may like to track the source of your bookings to monitor online marketing conversion campaigns and the effectiveness of your Keyword Density efforts. 

      Analyse key data, including:

      • Peak sign-up times.
      • Booking cancellations.
      • No-shows.
      • Frequently booked resources.
      • Service revenues. 
      • Online marketing conversions. 
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      Which Industries Benefit the Most From a Queue Management System?

      Every industry benefits from happier customers and fewer queues. Specifically, industries such as government offices in the public sector, healthcare establishments, and retail stores are prime locations for QMS software.  

      Does Your Business Need a Queue Management System?

      If your business handles online bookable services, and you feel as if you’re losing the endless queue battle, it’s probably time to invest in a QMS.

      Consider the functionalities of a QMS that would best suit your business model. To do this, it’s helpful to assess your business’s workflows and identify areas to improve. 

      Walk your customers’ journeys to pinpoint where improvements can be made using the QMS solution. Take note of any areas that are barriers to excellent customer service. If you find that the QMS software you’ve selected takes care of all aspects of customer satisfaction, queues are shorter, your team members are happier, and your customers are more satisfied, you’re on to a winner. 

      Queue Management Systems: FAQ’s

      1. Will Your Business Benefit From a Queuing System?

      Your business will benefit from a queue management system if you deal with queues daily. 

      2. How Much Does a Queue Management System Cost?

      You can find pricing plans for all business types online, depending on how many users and licences you need.

      3. Is It Hard to Set Up a Queue System?

      QMS are typically intuitive and user-friendly systems.

      4. Once the System Is Set Up, I Don’t Need to Do Anything?

      Your QMS will need to be monitored and work as part of your overall customer engagement strategy.

      Jessica Day

      About the author

      Jessica True

      Jessica True is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a virtual PBX system and modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns. Here is her LinkedIn.

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