A waiting line must be constructed logically as well as strategically to successfully do its job: Keep customers moving and keep them happy. The configuration of a queue is half the battle, but what can be found (or not found) within the confines of that line can be the difference between disgruntled customers and satisfied ones.
There are 10 elements that work together to make a great waiting line:
- The single line: Though a multi-line, multi-server queue may seem like it would be the fastest way to keep people moving, the single-line, multi-server configuration is proven to reduce the average time spent in the checkout process. Plus, it reinforces the well-respected and logical first-come-first-served methodology.
- Simple directions: Spell out a clear cue to queue with simple signage (“Enter Here”) and a retractable-belt stanchion, the universal symbol of “The Line Starts Here.”
- A clear path: Will the people in your line have carts or luggage? Large items or tiny items? Position stanchions to give customers a wide berth if necessary, and to simply give them room to breathe.
- Something to sell: In-line merchandising can make great use of what may have seemed like previously wasted space, while simultaneously giving people something to do while they wait, reducing perceived wait time. Win-win.
- Digital data: It’s easy to convey marketing and promotional messaging with digital signage displayed in or near the queue. Not only do screens automatically draw attention and keep people entertained (thereby reducing perceived wait time), they can be wisely planned to encourage impulse purchases as well.
- Signage: A queue is a living, breathing element of your business. And it can do some work while people are standing within its bounds, communicating branding and advertising messages through post-top signage, framed panels, and dozens of other types of sign displays.
- Easily altered configurations: Every business has down times and busy times. Retractable belts create a desirable shortcut that allows a customer to completely bypass a line and get to a service counter promptly.
- Electronic queuing:With a simple call-forward electronic queuing system, a line keeps moving, service efficiency is increased, and wait time is decreased.
- A defined wait point: Customers don’t always know where they’re supposed to be unless you tell them. A concise “Please wait here” sign gets the job done, relaxes customers, and keeps confusion at bay.
- Integrated station lights: Electronic queuing is made even more efficient through integrated station lights that alert customers about which service agent is available. This maneuver maximizes queue efficiency in an unobtrusive but highly effective way.
Learn more about these 10 crucial elements in this infographic: