Queue Management Systems for Managing Customer Flow

Posted by on Sep 15, 2012 in Advertising, Industry, Insight

Managing supply chain and operations is not just for products and manufacturing facilities. It also finds huge applicability in managing customer flow for ticketing and other purposes. Using these types of queue management and customer flow applications can and have been integrated with digital signs. It will certainly prove necessary. This post will discuss some of the benefits of queue management, customer flow and its integration with digital displays for clinics, DMVs, hospitals and any other type of waiting room where keeping track of and servicing waiting customers and patients is necessary.

Patients and customers can login to a patient’s request terminal or and/or recall terminal where all staff-help and self-help ticketing terminals and machines can be linked to the system for feedback and information exchange. The primary servers can be built to manage the reporting to all clinics and queue rooms and generally each server is supported by SQL database engine to maintain the records imported and obtained by the queue management system (QMS). QMS servers can also be designed to allow staff to allocate the necessary patient slots to be opened to public for appointment booking via online websites. This allows the public to book slots which may appear in the system by simply logging on to the organization’s website. This online feature often has pre-alerts built-in which gives patients alerts for their up-coming appointments.

SMS and Mobile Integration

The newer eQMS apps also integrate nicely with mobile phones, almost eliminating the need for printed numbers on small pieces of paper. Do you recall the last time you were at the DMV and they gave you that number and asked you to sit down? QMS apps allow you to book your time the night before you go and they also give you updates via a text message of your status for the appointment. And, instead of a number when you arrive, you would simply input your cell phone number and the system alerts you when it’s your turn to be served. This works at the DMV, at the doctor’s office and at any restaurant. No longer do we waste our Earth resources on printing paper which is thrown away moments later. The QMS reports via the signage and mobile devices when persons are ready to be seated and/or served.

Admin Tools

Each location can also receive regular reporting stats from the QMS web-server, giving information on efficiencies and how operations and customer/patient flow can improve. The system will also most certainly include role-based administration where this type of information can be viewed by various users. This will allow for administrative users to choose the level of granularity to which each user can login to the system. The admin has the ability to add new users, view users, remove users, assign user to admin and can manage a limited number of user accounts for the server.

In addition, there is an admin panel included which allows administrators to monitor the queue-flow and workload of all departments. The online queue portal also gives the unique ability of any admin to be able to view the queue status in real-time.

User-friendly interface for flexibility of changing system parameters and service types for configuration and reporting within the system. The system needs to be able to know a min and max for number of transactions per day. Pricing for queue management systems can range, depending on the number of these potential transactions. Billing management is usually a standard feature in any enterprise QMS as well.

The system also has the ability to detect any fault or breakdown through health monitoring of each location. Any malfunction of the system in one operation, whether in hardware or software, is detected by the system and reported back to administrative users. Additionally, the admin portal of most QMSs allow for the changing of the parameters of each queue ticket and for the ability of any administrator to search through databases for selected records, giving them information power. Finally, the admin portal can include several types of feedback reporting, useful to administrative users:

  • Total users served in a month, week, day, or hour.
  • Total and average wait times for each patient/user
  • Total number and percentage of potential customers who had been served within the waiting time target.
  • Number of open counters and rooms
  • Number of patients waiting to be served by their queue number at the time the number was issued.
  • General average waiting times and service times

Where Does Digital Signage Fit?

After having read all the potential features of such a system, you may be asking yourself, “what does this have to do with digital signage?” Interactive kiosks and digital displays are generally the means of successful reporting of such systems for both patients/customers to administrative staff. Scheduled queue management integrated with enterprise digital signage software is yet another powerful method for targeting what used to be “captive audiences.” While digital signage may be considered luxurious at times, QMS is an efficiency increaser which gives power to ordinary digital signs by feeding audiences extremely relevant and timely information via a digital medium.

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