The iconic queues that immediately spring to mind when we think of people standing in line are surely the images of our historic elections in 1994. We were all bursting with pride as we emerged as a democracy – with a global superhero as our president, our beloved Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

The queues were, in fact, so long that the Independent Electoral Commission extended the elections to a 4th day in areas such as KZN, Transkei, Ciskei, Venda and Gazankulu as they acknowledged that the waiting periods could be attributed to their own difficulties in managing the rush of voters to polling stations. In this way  they managed to ensure that the elections remained free and fair. Oh, the joy and relief we all felt when we could finally open the door to majority rule and democracy.

Today, in the time of the virus, we could never imagine such an overwhelming, unifying event. What a privilege it is to hold the memory.

But let us peek into the psychology of queuing. Evidence points to the fact that how people feel when they are standing in line matters much more than the length of the waiting time. Lines have become a fair way in which to deal with situations where there is a high demand for a product or a service. In general, people do not like to think they are wasting time. So, the lesson for business is to make sure that their customers are distracted while they are waiting. Put simply, make sure the experience is a good one.

In the 1950s in New York City, when elevators were first installed in skyscrapers, it soon became clear that shoppers became impatient and irritable while waiting for the lift to arrive. The solution was to install ‘floor indicators’ so that customers could gauge the waiting time. Uncertainty seemed to make waiting worse. And then, department stores added full-length mirrors to amuse people as they were able to observe themselves.

It also became apparent that one snaking line was much more reassuring than multiple lines. It meant that people did not have to keep wondering which line might be faster so that they would not be overtaken in the queue.

In a time of social distancing, we now have the best news of all – Queue Management Solutions. Your customers are now able to download a free app which allows them to book a place in the queue. This avoids unnecessary waiting in a space where people are gathered together in relative proximity to each other. Clients can now book an in-store session in your outlet via their mobile phones.

The app allows for real time tracking of the number of persons in-store while keeping a central registry of visitors. The console that is installed is cloud based, and retailers, banks and the like do not need any special additional hardware or software to access the system.

Folks, it seems we’ve just seen the end of endless queues. But maybe, just maybe we will one day again experience the thrill of a line of likeminded people who were yearning for freedom.



Altron Bytes Managed Solutions

1 Vlak Street, Selby Ext. 5, 2092, Gauteng,
South Africa
PO Box 3591, Johannesburg, 2000,
Gauteng, South Africa

+27 (11) 373 4000

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