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Queues: how can you physically and relatively reduce waiting time for your visitors?

Updated: Feb 29

Queues have a particularly negative impact on your visitors: frustration, anxiety, dissatisfaction and a definite deterioration in the customer experience... People tend not to queue when there are more than 6 people in front of them and become impatient, on average, after waiting 6 minutes*.

For any establishment open to the public, such as a shop, restaurant, museum or public administration, it is more than necessary to consider queue management as a strategic element that will have a direct impact on the experience and therefore the satisfaction of your users.

Thanks to advances in new technologies, the elimination (physically or relatively) of your queues is within reach! We give you an overview of the best queuing solutions and explain how you can easily take the plunge.

The first step is to measure your waiting time and communicate it to your visitors.

Waiting in a queue without knowing in advance how long you'll be there is a real source of frustration for visitors. It's a good idea to let them know how long they'll be waiting, to relax and reassure them. They can then optimise their time as they see fit: their wait becomes active and enjoyable!

To obtain this data, you need a device capable of measuring it. There are many such devices on the market, including 3D counting cameras and AI counters. What's more, some of these technologies can also be used to measure how busy your venue is in general!

File d'attente au musée du Louvre
Queuing at the Louvre: one of Affluences' first customers

The whole point of these counting systems lies in communicating the waiting time to your visitors. First of all, we advise you to display it on one or more screens in situ. Obviously in strategic locations so that all your visitors can see it easily. But our Affluences solution goes even further and can help you communicate the waiting time on different media to enable visitors to prepare their visit in advance: our website, which generates 600,000 visits a month, and our mobile application, which has more than 1 million users! We also provide WebAPIs that make it easy to broadcast this information on your own channels!

Site web communication temps d'attente de 30 min avec les prévisions
Example of Affluences API integration

Finally, this waiting data will provide you with relevant indicators that can be used internally! You can analyse your performance, gain a better understanding of your visitors' behaviour and increase your operational efficiency by optimising your flow management: making new resources available, opening several waiting lines and checkouts, etc...

A virtual queue system: to take queue management a step further.

Setting up a virtual queuing system is also a great way of getting rid of your physical queues! The principle is relatively simple: your users enter a virtual queue by taking a ticket via different channels (an on-site ticketing terminal, a web ticketing system or a mobile application) and are then notified via a screen and/or their phone (SMS, application) when it's their turn. The important thing is to choose the channels that best suit your audience!

Queue virtualisation has a number of benefits:

  • Ease of deployment: a solution that can be 100% digital and requires no human intervention.

  • Flexibility: it saves you and your visitors time if the queue moves faster than expected.

  • Improved comfort for your visitors: rather than waiting in a traditional queue, your visitors can go about their business while waiting their turn. They are no longer forced to wait standing behind a crowd of people. You reduce stress and anxiety, and your visitors are calmer and perceive waiting in a more pleasant way.

Although this solution has many advantages, we still recommend using it as a complement to physical queuing, as this could lead to frustration among the less technophile. Just think of the big fast-food chains: you can order both from a kiosk and directly at the till!

To go even further in managing waiting times, we also recommend that you combine your virtual queuing software with an online appointment booking solution!

And finally: liven up the waiting periods!

That's why it's important to entertain your visitors, to find ways of occupying this waiting time and making it more enjoyable!

For example, we recommend that you place display panels or screens all along the waiting line, showing ..:

  • The waiting time, since you now have this information at your disposal ;)

  • Videos about the history of your establishment for storytelling purposes, or any positive image that will improve the mood of your visitors.

  • News feeds such as your latest offers, current promotions, etc.

Provide entertainment to keep your customers amused, and music to relax them. You can even offer them a coffee or snack to keep them waiting! The aim is to create a certain atmosphere that will make the wait more bearable. However, it's essential to ask yourself beforehand whether these solutions are relevant and will really interest your audience.

So you've got it: information, communication and distraction are the key to good queue management! It's important to think about the entire customer journey, even before visitors arrive at your establishment. Thanks to these solutions, you'll be able to improve your image and enhance the experience and satisfaction of your visitors. The disappearance of your queues and a reduction in waiting time (at least relatively speaking) will be more than guaranteed!

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