The Case for Single-Line Queuing

The Case for Single-Line Queuing

Last updated: July 12, 2012Perry Kuklin

Happy line-waiters make happy customers, and happy customers make good business. However, one thing we know about waiting in line is this: It always feels longer than it really is. In fact, studies show that people tend to over-estimate the time they spend standing in line.

Another truth is that when it comes to waiting, unfair waits always feel longer than equitable waits. And perceived unfairness leads to anxiety which creates an even worse “waiting in line” experience. For someone whose job it is to manage the queuing process or improve customer flow for your organization you have a strong incentive to make your line faster, fairer, and more enjoyable for all.   So how can you create a better queuing process? Here’s one of the best around:

Go with a single line queue.

single line queuing

First-Come, First-Served

In a single-line queue, there is no rushing to get in the “short” queue to beat another customer – everyone has an equal wait. They are served without favoritism or without “getting lucky” by choosing the fastest line. This sense of fairness reduces anxiety and perceived wait times.

Greater Efficiency with a Single-Line Queue

Besides just promoting fairness, individual wait times in a single-line queue can be significantly lower than the wait times of individuals in a multiple-line system. When you have five service agents and one queue, each person is served on a first come, first served basis.

The resulting speed of the queue flow and service time can be improved by as much as 30 percent. Morale also improves because if one transaction takes longer than another, the queue continues to move and each waiting customer reaches a service agent in an optimal amount of time – no one gets stuck behind the slow poke!

Must-have additions for a single-line queue

Smart single-line queue management also includes the incorporation of a variety of media to aid in improving the overall customer experience. Drive impulse sales with in-line merchandising options. Implement electronic queuing methods to entertain and inform your customers while they wait, while also visually and audibly letting them know when it’s their turn to be attended to by a service agent. Information, honest and accurate wait times, and worthwhile distractions all contribute to the happiness of customers in a queue. In fact, a single-line queue structure combined with an electronic queuing system can reduce reneging by as much as 96 percent. Can’t argue with that logic.

Ready to reconfigure your multiple-line queue into a single-line queue? Consult the queue management experts at Lavi for recommendations about how to outfit your space to satisfy your customers and improve the efficiency of your enterprise.


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