What is queue management?

Queue 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 your 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.

customer flow management

Why is queue management important?

In customer-facing environments, the importance of queue management is two-fold.

First of all, from an operational perspective. If poor queuing systems are in place, staff are more likely to try and manually organise the queue and hence experience a drop in productivity.

Secondly, from a monetary perspective. If customers decide to leave the queue or are put off from even joining, this leads to a loss in profits. In some instances, a customer will not consider returning to a business that has poor, unmanaged queues. 

A ‘walkaway’ is defined as a person that exits the queue without completing their purchase or resolving the purpose of the visit. Walkaways can significantly damage profits to a business and it can be difficult to measure the true cost of them. As a result, queue management should be utilised to minimise the number of walkaways. 

Download our FREE guide to queue management

If you’d like to find out more about queue management, take a look at our Definitive Guide to Queue Management. The guide includes information on: 

  • Queuing: where does it happen and why? 
  • What issues are found in queues? 
  • Psychology of queuing 
  • The future of queue management

4 benefits of queue management

Why is effective queue management important

Keep queues organised

At busy times, queues can often become longer than the queuing area and interrupt people who aren’t ready to wait in line, causing yet more annoyance. Queue management systems help to organise the queue and make it more appealing to join.
queuing over black friday

Increase customer loyalty and retention rates

In a world where we have the option to ‘do it online’ or visit a competitor, keeping customers happy has never been more important. Fostering a positive queuing experience can increase customer loyalty and improve retention rates.
customer queue management

Improve staff efficiencies

In peak queuing times, many industries can witness a drop in staff productivity. This is due to staff finding themselves trying to organise the queue manually. Using queue management tools takes the pressure away from staff and allows them to continue on with their jobs.

Optimise costs

Intelligent customer management systems allow you to truly understand your customer flow and provide you with insightful data to understand customer affluence, behaviour patterns and distribution. This data can be translated to create a strategic plan to where you place your staff throughout the day.
queue management

Our queue management solutions

Finding the right methods to handle customer flow can be difficult; after all, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

We’ve divided our queue management solutions into two groups: products to organise and optimise queues. These solutions can be used as stand-alone products or can be used together. Don’t forget – you can contact us if you need advice on what’s best for your specific queuing issue.

Book a consultation with one of our queue management specialists

I want to organise queues

Looking at how to organise queues is a fundamental component in queue management. Ask yourself – where do queues occur? Are there peaks and troughs in your queuing patterns? Is your current queue structure working for your business?

Studies have shown that one of the most common issues found is ‘queue anxiety’. A well-designed queuing area can help organise waiting lines, remove the possibility of ‘queue jumpers’ and generally ease the flow of people.

At Tensator, we offer three physical solutions to organising queue layouts.


Our Tensabarrier solution is the world’s leading retractable queuing barrier. It’s a portable system – hence can be brought in/taken away depending on queue levels. Our exclusive Universal Base ensures that queuing areas remain accessible for wheelchair users, pushchairs and trolleys.


ShortcutQ is a new feature that creates a shortcut to the front of the queue for customers to use at quiet times, enhancing the customer experience.

Lawrence Post and Rope

For that extra bit of glamour in your queuing environment – try the Lawrence Post & Rope queue solution. The post and rope solution comes in a variety of finishes and colours to match your branding and can even incorporate signage to effectively guide the customer flow.

I want to optimise queues

The process of optimising the queue can be broken down into two subsections.

Firstly, you want to ensure that the queue is moving as fast as possible. Secondly, you want to find out if there’s anything else you can be doing to improve the customer journey.

eQ – Electronic Queuing

A single line queue has been proven to be the fairest and fastest way to process customers. Our Electronic Queuing solutions have been designed to eliminate hesitation at the front of the queue, meaning that customers are served more quickly and efficiently.

eQ call-fowarding technology is available in both a manual and automated version.

VQMS – Virtual Queuing

With VQMS technology from Tensator, you can receive footfall feedback. This feedback helps you to understand customer affluence, behaviour patterns and distribution throughout your queuing environment. Therefore, you can use this information to design better queue layouts, promotional and marketing strategies to increase sales and drive revenue.

IQM – In-Queue Merchandising

In-Queue Merchandising (IQM™) from Tensator is a system that has been designed to use the queue as a revenue generating area. Not only has this queue management solution been proven to generate extra profits, but also effectively distracts customers from the wait time and reduces frustrations.

queue management

Accessibility in the queue

For customers with disabilities that limit their mobility, navigating public spaces can be a challenge. Today, the purple pound – or the spending power of disabled people – is worth an annual £249billion to the UK economy. Therefore, ignoring the needs of disabled customers is not only morally wrong; it can also be very costly to your business.

When a store is designed, the needs of the disabled customers will, wherever possible, be considered in the core layout. However, these requirements can be unintentionally forgotten in the day-to-day running of a store. Temporary additions to the store layout, such as promotional displays, can often affect accessibility.

Tips to improve accessibility in the queue:

  • Remove unnecessary stock and other clutter around the queue entrance
  • Widen queuing areas
  • Ensure you have high light resources to improve visibility of hazards for the visually impaired
  • Consider your counter heights
queue management

Applications of queue management – which industries can benefit from queuing solutions? 

Queues are not exclusive to one particular industry, in fact, queues are often expected in many situations. Here are four of our favourite queue management case studies. 

queue management


Dunkin’ Donuts are a great example of how you can harness queue management in hospitality. They approached us in the hope of modernising their queuing environment. Our queue solutions helped to address concerns such as how to avoid clutter, organise merchandise and keep walkways clear for customers. 

See the case study in full


Proper government queue management solutions can really help to improve customer service in areas such as a council office like Derby City Council. We helped to minimise queuing times by providing personalisation as well as utilising displays in the centre to give information on wait times and other relevant information. 

See the case study in full

queue management


Maintaining effective queue management in airports can be tricky – due to the fact that there is often a lot of people in a small place, many of whom don’t speak the same language. Boston Logan airport is no exception – the airport sees over 40m passengers go through its doors every year. Our airport queue solutions were able to provide security information efficiently in multiple languages. 

See the case study in full

queue management


Patient flow management is an important aspect of any hospital design. Ensuring that hospitals are easy to navigate, corridors aren’t crowded and public areas remain safe are priorities for all healthcare providers. Queue management in hospitals requires thorough planning – as such, our queue solutions in this example helped RJAH Orthopaedic Hospital manage their patient flow.

See the case study in full

6 ways to improve customer flow management

Consider a ticketing queue system

For those with longer service times or smaller queuing areas, why not consider a ticketing queue system?

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.
virtual queuing

Use customer feedback tools

Use your queues to your advantage! Instantly collect comments from queuers and arm yourself with real-life customer feedback to improve your queuing areas.

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 queue wait times – the next best solution is to distract queuers and make their perceived waiting time shorter.

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 us all and can deter people from even joining a queue.

Take a look at your current queue management tactics

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?

More queue management resources

queuing systems in banks
Queue management in banks

The thought of queuing at the bank can often fill a customer with unnecessary dread. Take a look at our finance brochure to find out about the queuing solutions that we offer to ease the waiting experience in a bank. 


retail queue management
Retail queue management

Keep your customers in line and your profits high with our retail queue management solutions. Our brochure provides real-life examples of how queuing solutions can be incorporated into a retail environment. 


airport passenger flow
Queue management in airports

Anyone managing airport passenger flow will understand the complex balance of ensuring safety whilst try to move people as quickly as possible. Read about our airport queue management solutions for more information. 


Our Clients

Tensator® solutions are used across the world in many different environments and for a multitude of applications. Their strength, quality and versatility means their purpose can range from a queuing system, a crowd control aid, a signage solution or a safety barrier.

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