Queue Management Technology Reduces Waiting Times
1 August 2017
Nobody likes queuing. Too long a queue annoys customers, drives them away and makes it less likely that they will return another day.
The most obvious way to reduce queues is to increase the service points available - more retail tills open or more bank cashiers for example. But is this cost effective? A CCTV queue management system gives you the information you need to test which measures reduce queues, and which are the most profitable. The queue management system reports
- The number of people currently in a queue.
- The queuing time of the last person to leave the queue.
- The number of active service points (for example ticket booths or retail checkouts open)
- The average queuing time over the last, say, 15 minutes.
- How many people left the queue before reaching the front.
- How many people jumped the queue.
- The average queue length.
- How often more than seven (for instance) people were in the queue.
- Daily figures, for example, 95% of people queued for less than 5 minutes.
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In a Retail Sensing system, overhead CCTV cameras are linked to people counting units. The system updates queue length and current waiting time every minute and shows it on computer screens. For queuing over a large area, several cameras are connected to together.
Two cameras would be used here, one at the till points (because managers usually need to know how many of their tills are operating) and one for the people still in the queue.
With our queuing information system, managers can test different strategies to reduce queuing times. As queuing data can be integrated with a POS (point-of-sale) system, retailers can check whether reducing queues not only makes for happier customers but also increases sales.
Companies can compare queuing times across bank branches, retail stores and departments, and help managers plan for when to perform tasks like restocking shelves and when to instead have staff looking after customers. It also provides managers with evidence that they need resources for more staff at busy periods.
Monitoring queues is not just useful for retailers. Airports, for example, use video queue monitoring to see how long people are waiting to go through security, and banks improve their service by measuring queue lengths. Theme park visitors around the world are discouraged by queuing - with three-quarters of UK visitors saying that queueing is their chief frustration (Omnico, 2017).
Queues at airport security are monitored with camera and counting technology
The number of visitors at different times is surprisingly constant. A business that is very busy Friday at 4 o'clock will likely be busy at that time every Friday. With a historic record of footfall and queue lengths throughout the day, businesses can predict when more staff are needed to help customers. On a shorter timescale, knowing how many people entered a store 15 minutes ago makes it easy to predict how long the queues will shortly be. Retailers can be ready with more staff to help customers and pre-empt long queues.
More than Queue Management: Business Analytics
The video people counting system can not only monitor queues but measure footfall, generate heat maps of the areas people visit, show current occupancy, record how long people pause and displays and produce other valuable business information.