"Unfair Waits Are Longer than Equitable Waits," according to David Maister in "The Psychology of Waiting Lines." David also explains that:
· Anxiety Makes Waits Seem Longer
· Uncertain Waits Are Longer than Known, Finite Waits
· Unexplained Waits Are Longer than Explained Waits
The brain perceives the same amount of time as longer or shorter depending on these factors and more. Given this information, companies should attempt to reduce customers' anxiety by ensuring that waits are fair and of finite length. One of the best ways to do this is with a Take-a-Number system.
With a Take A Number system, once customers have a ticket, they know they have reserved their place in line (a fair wait).
They have reduced anxiety about being skipped or physically defending their place. They can also begin to predict their turn (finite wait) by comparing their ticket number to the number now being served, taking some uncertainty out of their wait time.
Together, these things will improve the waiting customers' experience and help them perceive the wait time to be shorter.
Over the last several decades, Microframe has become a leader in Take-a-Number solutions and technology by continuing to develop products that meet and exceed customers' expectations.
Microframe has a wide range of Take-a-Number solutions. From the most basic, mom and pop deli ticket systems, to intermediate multi-clerk systems with integrated voice announce, to the most advanced "MicroframeQ" multi-queue multi-clerk installations with integrated texting, computer interface, and reporting functions.
The most basic Take-A-Number system consists of a ticket dispenser, where customers take a ticket to reserve their place in line, and a "Now Serving" display, so customers can see they should proceed to a designated service area. One waiting area or queue reduces the number of employees needed to manage the waiting room. "Now serving" displays can be purchased with or without the "voice announce” feature. With "voice announce," the LED display will audibly say the number every time a new number is shown. Using such a simple solution can quickly bring order to a common waiting area and reduce perceived and actual wait times.
A slightly more advanced system would consist of one waiting area or queue, being served by multiple clerks. Each clerk would have their own "Now Serving" display in this installation and a button to increment their LED display to the following highest number in the queue. An optional "Lobby display" would be placed in the waiting area to show all customers the current number being served. When a waiting customer sees their number on the Lobby display, they proceed to the clerk window with their number. This system can also be used with or without a "voice announce" LED display.
Microframe developed the new "MicroframeQ" system for the most complex waiting environments. MicroframeQ is a web-based queuing solution with integrated texting, reporting, and LED display connectivity. Exploring every scenario that MicroframeQ can tackle is beyond the scope of this article, but here are a few examples of its uses, benefits, and features.
- Service Multiple queues from the same waiting area. (i.e., a shared waiting room in a doctor's office with multiple doctors.)
- Paperless "Take-A-Number." By utilizing cell phones and text technology, customers can text to receive their "ticket" and reserve their place in line, then receive another text when it is their turn to be seen. Microframe's LED "Now serving" displays can be integrated with MicroframeQ to show customers which clerk will be serving their number.
- Data Analysis. Since MicroframeQ is web-based, it can collect data on average customer wait times and clerk efficiency. In addition, managers can log in to their accounts and see how many customers are waiting at any given time.
Microframe's team is ready to assist you in finding the perfect solution for your waiting area Take-A-Number solution. Don't hesitate to call 800-635-3811 and speak with one of our solutions specialists.