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Queue Management

From the Physical line to the virtual queue: technological innovation can help

Any clerk window service implies the problem of waiting time for users.

The fundamental aspect is the order in service access: users must be served in the same order they arrived, safeguarding specific protected categories, like the elderly, pregnant women or disabled users.

 

The most simple and common way to face this aspect has always been the queue, with people physically lining up, waiting in front of the window. However, the physical queue forces people to stand in line for long periods of time and, moreover, implies a space problem, requiring sufficient room to be available in the waiting hall; this problem is particularly relevant when the number of people in line rises and it is further worsen by possible opportunists.

Physical fences (fixed or made by tape and pedestals) may partially solve this problem, but it certainly doesn’t eliminate the long and tiresome standing in line for users.

 

The ideal solution comes from a queue management system, composed by a numbered-ticket dispenser and a call module on the window side. In this case, once the user obtains a number, he doesn’t need to stand in a given position anymore: until his turn is called, he can manage his idle time as he prefers, sitting or strolling; if he estimates that he will have to wait for long enough, he can even manage to run some errands, always with complete freedom.

 

In the case of more complex facilities, it is also important to manage the sorting process; in a facility providing different services, divided by category (for example, a civil registry), it is necessary to take in account the different amounts of time taken by a service compared to another. A long queue in front of a window, while the operator of the next window is visibly idle (because there’s no user requesting the service he provides), is certainly not the best way to show a company’s efficiency to its public.

These are just a few aspects that a queue management system can deal with.

 

In an advanced queue management system, the ticket dispenser is connected to the call terminal, so that it can manage the calls based on the requests collected by the dispenser.

 

A centralized application gathers the data about the service requests: every time a new number is drawn, it receives this information and it can evaluate the number of present users and the service they requested, calculate an estimated waiting time for the given service, to be communicated to the user by printing it on the ticket supplied.

Furthermore, if the teller at the window is qualified to carry out any task, the application can automatically direct users to available windows; it can evaluate the specific turnaround frequency for each service provided, keeping in account waiting users and the average speed of completion of the service.

 

The queue management system, as innovative features, introduces the most advanced technologies, as multimedia interfaces or IT platforms, so that providing a service is as flexible and reliable as possible.

This way, the users don’t perceive inefficiency in the service and feel confident that the queue will be respected so they can wait for their turn wherever they prefer, with an evident gain in reputation for the service supplier.

 

There are some further benefits that come from implementing an advanced queue management system, such as the ability to methodically analyze times and modalities of implied by the implemented services: this allows the identification of new organizational procedures, to enhance provided services and therefore the customer satisfaction.

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