Running a business is not an easy feat, especially a well-established one or a growing business that experiences high customer volumes every day. One of these challenges that can easily get out of hand if poorly managed is the business’s queuing system. One of the things that any customer to your business hates most is spending hours in the line waiting for services. This, however, doesn’t mean that customers don’t want to wait in line. If your business doesn’t have anyone in there, most clients will assume that the products are not good. This is especially true for fast-food restaurants and grocery shops. All that the customer wants is to wait in line for the least amount of time.
Following good management practices your customer satisfaction in your business will be high, thus ensuring more people are served in the shortest time. This will reflect positively on your business sales and growth rate. The best marketer to any business is a satisfied customer, and it is thus important to ensure everyone that walks through your door leaves happy. To get a better idea of products available in the crowd control space visit crowdcontrolcompany.com for a full lineup of useful products specifically designed for barricade and retractable belt crowd control.
Line waiting times also offer a great way of product differentiation for businesses that offer similar services. If two businesses sell groceries, customers will always choose one that has the least waiting time even though both have the same items on sale at the same prices. Proper queue management is thus an important part of the business process, and it is important to ensure that you get it right. It has numerous benefits to the business and should thus be a big priority to a business owner.
The process is not that simple, however. Numerous things go towards proper queue management. First, you have to study your business premises’ nature and evaluate the best places to put stanchions. You must also ensure that the stanchions are long enough to accommodate the huge traffic that is bound to come. The stanchions should also be durable enough to withstand the places they are installed, such as plastic stanchions in the parking lot. Another aspect to look into is where to place your signs conveniently for every customer to see them. Through the signs, your customer can be directed to checkouts, the different items on the aisle, and other places to ensure constantly moving human traffic on the business premises.
The Psychology of Managing a Queue
One of the most important aspects of line management is what your customers think while on the line. This is an impossible thing to know, although it affects the business’s core part, sales. It is important to use different thoughts that run through customers’ minds as they wait in line. This is done through the psychology of queue management. It is through this that a trader can make the customer feel relaxed while in the waiting line. Here are some of them;
The waiting times on all your business lines are similar, although a single line always goes faster and makes the customers have a better perception
Most businesses usually run multiple lines on their checkout counters to ensure the traffic moves faster. This is ideal for making the customers have the psychological feeling that they will not be waiting for long since there are many lines. It can, however, become quite difficult when one line is moving faster than the others. It can often cause people in the slow-moving lines to assume that they are getting a slower service and thus feel like they will be waiting for too long. This shouldn’t be the case. If your business has multiple lines, it is vital to ensure they are all moving at the same pace so that the customers can feel they will all be done in the shortest time.
However, some businesses have taken the opposite direction, and it seems to be working very well for them. Unlike many that have multiple checkout stations, you can also have only a single one. This may seem counterproductive until you see how well it works. Studies have shown that the longer the customer stays at a single spot without moving, the more they feel like the waiting time is long. With a one-line queuing system, this can be eliminated. In the beginning, a single line might look too long and possibly have longer waiting times, but the reality is different. Single lines have a person constantly moving, and it creates a psychological feeling that the line is moving fast.
All the queuing systems are fair to every customer. Everyone is getting served on time
One of the main concerns a business with many lines has to work around is unfair treatment by people on the lines. When a customer has to choose between multiple checkout stations, they will always go for the one that seems to be moving the fastest. Once they get on the line and feel that the cashier is not moving as fast as they had thought, they will feel short-changed and thus report low customer satisfaction. They will assume customers on other lines are getting a better service than they are, thus the feeling of unfairness.
It is important to find a way around this, with the simplest and most straight forward way is using a single line. Once you have a single line, customers will assume that everyone is served depending on the time they got on the line, and since the line will constantly be moving, the feeling of unfair treatment will not be there. Your customer satisfaction ratings will improve owing to this psychological technique.
The more confused customers are about your queues, the more likely they will have a negative experience.
This aspect is mostly experienced with new customers, and once they walk into the store, they don’t know how to proceed. As a business owner, you should ensure a smooth experience for new customers to establish a connection and ensure they come back in the future. The best way to do this is by making them feel as comfortable and in place as possible.
This can be done using retractable belt barrier stanchions and signs. With these stanchions, customers can find the places to queue and know the right places to queue with the help of signs. This reduces confusion and ensures everyone is served in the least amount of time. A satisfied first-time customer will have the best things to say about your business, which will improve the business’s general performance and ratings
What you have to know about queue management.
Regardless of the number of customers you have, it is always important to have the basic line management strategies in mind. This will ensure you can manage your business better and achieve even more results. Here are some of the basics to always have in mind.
The checkout line should have one entrance.
You should ensure the checkout lines in the store all begin at the same entrance. This will eliminate the feeling of unfair treatment and also prevent people who were at the back of the line from passing those who got there early. Thus, this will make the place more orderly and eliminate the feeling of dissatisfaction that is bound to arise.
Regardless of where your customers are on the line, the checkout should be visible to them.
When the checkout is visible to the customer, they can work out the possible waiting time and join the line. They will also see others leaving, and this creates a feeling that the line is moving. However, if they cannot see it, they will make a general assumption that the waiting time is too long, and this can make them not buy anything.
Every time people on the line make a corner, they should be closer to the ending point.
Every time your customer makes a turn on the line, they should always feel as though they got closer to the checkout. This can be achieved by putting the checkout around the corners as once the customers see it getting closer, and they will feel that the waiting time is getting smaller.
Make your lines turn right.
Most people in the world are right-handed and will naturally turn to this direction more easily. Making your lines turn right minimizes confusion among the customers and ensures the lines move faster. Signs should also be placed on the right as this will ensure easier visibility. People often have trouble turning to the left, and by ensuring everything is to the right, people can have a better experience.
Ensure wheelchair measurements are met
When designing a line management system, it is important to have all your customers in mind, including those in wheelchairs. You should ensure that the lines can easily fit the wheelchairs for proper movement and easy turning. This will ensure that everyone who visits your store gets the full benefits and high customer satisfaction.
Make constant adjustments to your line.
Line management should always be informed by the amount of human traffic you are experiencing on any particular day. If there are a smaller number of customers, reduce the number of stanchions and ropes to ensure they move more efficiently. This will ensure a proper line management system that works well for every party concerned.
There are two basic ways of queue layouts. They can either be L-shaped or U-shaped. These types are different, and both cater to different situations. It is important to know which system will work best and where it will.
This is considered one of the most common queueing systems in most places. It is easy to put together and is straightforward for the customers to follow. This line technique is designed to work specifically for concession stands, fast food restaurants, small retail shops, and many other places. It gives the customers a satisfying feeling that the line is moving, and since they can see the check out points, waiting times are reduced.
The stanchions on this system should have a sign at the beginning and all along the line showing where it is headed. This will be important to prevent people from getting into the wrong line. This can be a big problem for new customers and older individuals. These signs can even be used for marketing purposes.
An L-Shaped line with an express section
Express lines are mostly used in banks, groceries, and other places. Their main aim is to cater to customers who are looking to get a specific service. The best way to organize an expressway is by using retractable belt stanchions. These can be well aligned to guide the customers on where they are required to be. It can be further simplified by putting differently colored stanchions for the express line. This will create a clear distinction and ensure everyone is on the right line.
This will ensure faster-moving traffic and thus improve the operations of the business.
Most businesses who use this system enjoy it since it is very flexible. It allows for easy movement and is also quite simple to set up. They are ideal for places with slower services, such as ticketing areas. This system is preferred as it can accommodate many people all in a small space. It also creates the feeling that the line is moving faster and makes the customer believe the waiting time is reduced. It works very well and helps in controlling the flow of human traffic efficiently.
Signs should be placed on the corners of the U-shaped queue to direct the customers and ensure everyone is in the right line. They can also include promotional materials from the business, thus increasing their sales.
A U-Shaped line with an express section
An express line is meant for people with fewer items or preferential customers. It thus ensures this group of people can easily move through without having to wait long. These two should have different colored stanchions to improve flow and ensure everyone is on the right line. These are the correct ways of making a line and ensuring a smooth flow of people.