Reasons to Care About Customer Flow in Your Waiting Line

3 Good Reasons to Care About Customer Flow in Your Waiting Line

Last updated: August 13, 2012Perry Kuklin

Customer flow describes the way in which customers flow into and out of your store, facility, or venue. When customers flow smoothly, there's a clear path from beginning to end and stress is minimized, which makes for fewer disgruntled individuals. When the flow is interrupted or disorganized, many unwanted side effects result, namely unhappy customers who may leave your place of business without finishing what they came there to do.

At Lavi, we typically talk about customer flow as it relates to queuing or waiting line systems. The goal here is to decrease wait times, boost sales, and enhance the customer experience. And that's exactly what a well-managed queue can do by facilitating smooth customer flow. When you're planning or evaluating your queuing system, keep an eye on customer flow. Here's why it matters: 

1. It will increase the efficiency of the line.

One of the first and most important reasons managers begin considering customer flow is to increase the efficiency of their waiting line. When you have a clear, well-organized path from start to finish, customers will wind their way through your line in a much more efficient manner. Not only does a clearly marked and well-designed queue cut wait times, it also improves service agent productivity – win-win all the way around.

2. It will improve the customer experience.

You want your customers to be happy. You want them to come back to your place of business and spread the word to others about why they should patronize your facility. There are several ways to reduce the anxiety and frustration that customers can develop from waiting in line:

    • Keep them busy. Unoccupied time just allows irritation to fester. Keep your waiting customers busy and distracted through digital signage that plays videos or advertisements, or consider a virtual queuing system that allows customers to relax or even shop more, as the case may be, as they wait for their turn. Anything is better than allowing people to stew in a busy line with nothing to do.
    • Let them get started. Offering people the opportunity to do things that directly benefit them while they wait in line will increase customer happiness and the efficiency of your line. Enable people to unload their cart before it’s their turn to be waited on or complete paperwork before they reach the front of the line. The waiting is over once action begins.
    • Tell them how long they have to wait. Avoid feeding uncertainty in your queue because that fuels anxiety in your customers. Known, finite waits reduce the antsy feeling and impatience because there is an end in sight for the informed consumer. Electronic queuing systems that offer visual cues, audible cues, and digital signage can all get the message across and keep that line of customers flowing.
    • Make it fair. First come, first served is a wise mantra to follow when it comes to queue management. No one wants to feel like someone else is getting better or faster service. The best way to promote fairness is by having just one line which eliminates queue jumping. Mark the territory with stanchions and barriers.

3. It will maximize the profits on each customer visit.

The more people who stay in line and are quickly moved through the line, the less chance of people reneging on their transaction and the better your bottom line will be. A smart customer flow strategy includes in-queue merchandising as a way to keep people engaged, occupied, and capitalize on the more than 65% of sales that result from impulse buying. Plus, few customers will balk on their place in the queue when there are enough goodies to distract them from the act of waiting itself!

Address customer flow in your queue with the experts in public guidance.

Talk to a queuing expert at Lavi to find out how your space can accommodate your customers, keep them happy, and improve customer flow.


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