Customer flow management is the practice of effectively overseeing the movement of people around a store, library, hospital, airport or any other customer-facing environment.
No matter the industry, in a lot of instances, it’s how queues are dealt with that becomes the issue, rather than the fact we have to queue at all.
COVID-19 safety measures have meant that customers are queuing more now than ever before.
However, a lot of queues implemented during the pandemic have had to be done quickly, without much time to plan. Whilst this is totally understandable, a queue is likely to be the least of your worries, if your queuing experience if poor it can negatively affect your business.
Bad queuing experiences can 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. As queue management experts, we give our 7 top ways to improve customer flow management.
7 ways to improve customer flow management
1). Make customers feel confident and safe
COVID-19 has seriously affected your customers’ confidence. They can no longer just enjoy your services without thinking about 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 government guidelines. Having webbing that clearly says ‘Hands Face Space’, for example, would show UK customers that you are complying with government safety measures. Check out our social distancing 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 is one of the best ways to ensure customers are protecting themselves from COVID-19. Giving customers lots 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.
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). Use customer feedback tools to understand queuing journeys better and make business-specific changes
Use your queues to your advantage! Our new bring your own device (BYOD) in-queue survey ecosystem allows for feedback to instantly be collected within the queue based on questions posed by the space owner and then instantly act on it depending on the action required. This information can arm you with tailored knowledge to help you continue to improve customer flow management in your queuing environment.
Further information on how to improve customer flow management and queuing systems
For more information on how we can help to improve customer flow management – why not take a look at our brand new queue management guide? To download, please click below.
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Tensator® has been leading the customer journey since 1881. Today, we provide customer experience management consulting and turnkey queue flow solutions to customers in over 150 countries around the world.
Our ability to deliver strategic solutions with a superior ROI has made us a preferred supplier for large-scale enterprises that depend on the effective movement and organisation of people.