How to successfully implement a retractable barrier system

retractable barrier system

You know effective queue management is one of your business’ fundamentals. Successfully implementing a retractable barrier system can improve safety, ease your customers’ ‘queue anxiety, speed up throughput and get your cash registers ringing.

But what is the best way to attack this strategy?

Here at Tensator, our expertise goes further than manufacturing world-class queue management products. Our consultative approach means we can advise you on best practice for implementing a queue management strategy in your industry.

In this blog, we’re going to break down the process of successfully implementing a retractable queue barrier system. We’ll be diving into these topics:

  1. Configuring the layout and design
  2. Choosing a barrier
  3. Implementing COVID safety measures
  4. Reducing accidents
  5. Avoiding ‘queue anxiety’

retractable barrier system

1) Configuring the layout and design of your queue

Understand your customers

The first step to implementing a retractable barrier system is to understand your customers and how they queue.

For example, are you looking to manage a queue within a toy store with lots of excited kids that just want to get out and play with their new toy?

Or are you managing a queue within a quieter environment, like a museum, where customers may be more willing to wait and be educated whilst queuing?

The type of customers you have will ultimately decide the layout and design of your queue.

If you have lots of children in a store that might be able to easily pass under retractable barriers, then you could consider using in-queue merchandising to block queue lanes and to capture last-minute impulse sales. Or, you could use entertainment like digital signage and media to distract them from the fact they’re even queuing at all; then before they know it, they’re paying and on their way!

You can also use queuing time to educate customers on where to go/what to do. In a museum, you might want to show a video reel of some of the exhibitions on-site and include some top facts, or information on how to get there.

By making your queue entertaining you are reducing the perceived time queuing, making for a happier customer experience. Read more about the psychology behind queueing.

Deciding on the length of your retractable barrier system

This might seem like a simple one… Put together some retractable barriers, zig-zag customers in and out and you’re done.

But thinking like this could lead to a lot of frustration.

Your queue needs to account for all volumes of customers coming in and out. This means reducing the amount of zig-zagging they have to do during quiet periods and increased zig-zagging (or queue length) during busy periods.

So, either you can use your retractable barriers to reconfigure your queue manually to allow for different periods. Or you can use shortcut gates which can allow customers to take a shorter route through the queue when there are fewer customers.

Consider single line queuing

Have you ever stood at a checkout where there are multiple queues and somebody in an opposite queue who has been waiting for half the time has been served before you?

That can be one of the most frustrating moments in a queue.

To make queuing fairer and just to generally improve your customer experience, use single line queuing.

By having a single queue all of your customers will be served according to when they got into the queue.

Also, studies have shown that although the actual time queueing might be exactly the same when queuing in one line or five lines, the movement actually seems faster in one single line.

Unoccupied time (standing still) feels longer than occupied time (moving)… we prefer to keep moving.

The other perk of using a single line queue is that it can easily enable you to use an electronic call forward system – making your customers queuing experience even easier.

Positioning your queue

The start of the queue:

Ensure the entrance to your queue is obvious. You can make this clear by using signage. Post-top signage and Totems work great here and can be used directly in conjunction with your retractable barriers.

The end of the queue:

Your queue should end in a position where the person and the end of the line can clearly see all checkouts and notice a vacancy.

retractable barrier system

2) Choose the right products to make your retractable barrier system effective

Tensabarrier is the world’s leading retractable queue barrier. Flexible to your dynamic needs, it’s a portable product with a low universal base that enables easy queue access for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

It’s optimal 38’ height reduces queue-jumping, one of the most common sources of agitation and friction for your customers.

And the 1.1mm thick stanchion post gives it one of the sturdiest builds in the market, too, which makes it stand the test of time and represent tremendous value for money.

High-quality webbing is often an overlooked consideration in purchasing a retractable queue barrier.

But think about the wear-and-tear that gets placed on the webbing and the cassettes over the years.

Tensabarrier belts are made from 0.89mm military-grade webbing and are substantially thicker than those on our competitors’ products. The thread on the belts will not unravel when cut, and the webbing’s digital dye offers a much higher quality print.

Your business deserves products that are built to last and look attractive, too.

Your queuing system will literally fall apart quickly with low-quality hardware.

queue management systems

3) Implementing COVID safety measures to your retractable barrier system

Of course, every business in the present circumstances needs to consider its health and safety procedures with regards to COVID-19 transmission risks.

There are two main reasons for using a queue to control the spread of COVID-19.

Hand hygiene

When implementing your retractable queue barrier system, it’s highly important to consider hand hygiene to safeguard the risk of infection. Customers are entering commercial premises expecting hand sanitiser provision somewhere.

Our customisable hand sanitiser bracket can be placed on top of Tensabarrier posts, offering your customers the option to sanitise their hands whilst they queue.

Social distancing

Further Covid safety measures you can take with your queue system include using our safe distance floor markers to demarcate 2 metre spacings in the queue.  

For clear communication, you can use our custom social distancing webbing with any of our Tensabarrier® retractable barrier products, to carry the latest messaging that explains the government guidelines.  The webbing can be entirely customised to show any messaging or graphics that you like.

safe queuing system

4) Reduce the likelihood of accidents

The Tensabarrier® low leading edge decreases the risk of trips and falls for the visually impaired.

But in low lighting, the product’s universal base design can only do so much.

Low lighting increases the risk of not only pedestrian accidents – but motorists, too.

It’s essential to have reflective queuing barriers for outdoor queues at nighttime.

Accidents – as well as causing distress to the casualties – present legal, financial, and health and safety compliance threats to your business.  A smart retractable queue barrier strategy will include high-visibility hardware in its execution.

Tensator NightView™ features two strips of highly visible reflective strands which are directly woven into the Tensabarrier® webbing. This is great for outdoor queuing barriers within car parks and outside of stores.

retractable queue system

5) your retractable barrier system should be designed to avoid ‘queue anxiety’

Customer queue anxiety can lead to a major leakage point in your sales strategy.

Queue anxiety can be triggered by a variety of factors, not limited to:

  • Lack of in-queue stimulation
  • Perceived long waits
  • Poor communication

Your customers don’t like to stay static – they want the queue to be managed effectively and they want it to move!

World-renowned customer behaviouralist Ken Hughes advises that customers like to receive notice of how long their queue experience is going to take.

Customers can be deterred from joining a queue in the first place if they anticipate a long wait, which can lead to lost sales.

Digital queuing solutions such as our Tensator® Virtual Assistant and eQ™ call forward solutions can be fully customised to incorporate messages about waiting times, reducing your customers’ anxiety and keeping them informed as they wait in line.

Who does this advice apply to?

There are many industry types that will enjoy successful retractable queue barrier system implementation by following the guidelines in this post, including:

You can find application examples right here.

As you can see, the steps to maximising the effectiveness of your retractable queue barrier system are simple to take. All it takes is some forward planning to ensure that your customers have the best possible experience when they queue on your premises, and no one in the industry is better placed than us to equip you with the ideal products and implement them in your business with the smartest strategy.

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