Customer flow management is the practice of effectively guiding and overseeing the movement of people around a customer-facing environment. This could be a queue in a grocery store or a piece of signage directing passengers in an airport.
No matter the industry, it’s how queues are dealt with that becomes the issue, rather than the fact we must queue at all. In fact, for customers to be dealt with efficiently, supply and demand need to kept in a careful balance.
No queue usually means too many staff, which is clearly inefficient. A long queue usually means too few staff, which is clearly no good for customer satisfaction and retention.
Bad queuing experiences can also lead to a drop in staff productivity, smaller profits and in extreme cases, irreversible customer dissatisfaction that discourages people from returning. Finding the right methods to handle customer flow can be difficult; no two businesses are the same and often these solutions must accommodate both peaks and troughs in queuing times.
7 ways to improve customer flow management
1). Continue to make customers feel confident and safe
It’s fair to say the COVID-19 Pandemic seriously affected your customers’ confidence. They are now far more conscious of the space they are leaving to the people around them, or when they last sanitised their hands. So it’s important that your queue is setup to help reassure them that your queue is a safe place to be.
A couple of ways to do this include:
Custom queuing barrier webbing to reinforce your message to your customers. Whilst previously this could have been a ‘Hands Face Space’ message, for example, this could now be altered to whatever message you feel would be most appropriate to reassure your customers. Check out our customisable webbing that can be added to any new or existing Tensabarrier®. *Note that the webbing can be entirely customised to show any messaging and graphics that you would like.
Placing hand sanitiser throughout your queue. Hand sanitiser remains one of the best ways to ensure customers are giving themselves that extra layer of protection. Giving customers plenty of opportunities to use hand sanitiser not only ensures that their hands are clean, but it also helps to ease any anxiety. Seeing other customers use the hand sanitiser will help them to feel more at ease knowing that everybody is taking the same precautions.
The Tensator Customisable Hand Sanitiser Bracket can be placed on any Tensabarrier® or any post with a 2.5″ diameter. The bracket allows you to place hand sanitiser dispensers on top of queueing posts, which could be used as part of a queue or in other individual site applications.
2). Occupy the time in the queue and shorten perceived wait times
If staff shortages and other logistical factors mean that you can’t physically shorten queuing wait times – the next best solution is to distract queuers and make their perceived waiting time shorter.
Turn customer flow into cash flow with our In-Queue Merchandising system. This solution can be placed in front of the point of sale to capture last-minute impulse purchase revenues from waiting customers. In fact, it’s been proven to boost impulse sales up to 400%.
3). Reduce ‘queuing anxiety’ by making the wait time known
We’ve all fallen victim to ‘queuing anxiety’ at least once or twice as a customer – when you have no way of estimating how long it will take for you to be served. It’s a frustrating experience for customers, and can deter people from even joining a queue.
Digital queuing solutions such as our Tensator® Virtual Assistant and eQ™ call forward solutions can be fully customised to incorporate messages about waiting times.
4). Take a look at your line queue system design
Taking things back to basics and altering your current queue design can make a real difference when it comes to customer flow management. It’s important to consider both peaks and troughs in queue lengths – is your waiting area able to accommodate both eventualities?
Our Tensabarrier® range is portable and can be brought out/taken away depending on queuing levels. The new Universal Base ensures that wheelchair users, pushchairs and trolleys have no difficulty navigating around the post. As the webbing is fully customisable, it can be designed to remain in keeping with any brand requirements.
5). Consider a ticketing queue system
For those with longer service times or smaller queuing areas, why not consider a ticketing queue system?
Virtual Queuing Solutions (VQMS) from Tensator® provide businesses with the ability to take the pressure away from queuing. Customers take a ticket in the order that they arrive, leaving them free to browse or relax whilst they wait for their ticket number to be called.
6). Promote ‘queue fairness’
Allowing customers the opportunity to queue jump can cause annoyance to others who’ve waited fairly. Tips to remove the possibility of queue jumping include creating a single line queue – this format of queuing encourages a ‘first come, first served’ queuing culture and avoids the possibility of allowing people to queue jump.
7). Consult a Tensator expert
Solving customer flow management challenges is our bread and butter at Tensator. We’ve provided solutions to over 150 countries worldwide since 1881.
We don’t believe ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to customer flow management and work with each individual client to find the right solutions regardless of the size of the business.
We’ve adopted a collaborative approach where we we disover and discuss your needs, before testing the concept in live environment before finally implementing the solution. You can learn more about some of the solutions we’ve provided via our free of charge case studies or contact us below.