Businesses lining up a queuing strategy

At the nearby museum – where staff are well trained in dealing with queues – a sign on the barrier informs tourists and day trippers that they still have two hours to wait.

But the most animated are those queuing at the bus stop – a man in a suit sends a text message, two youngsters play with a stuffed Smurfs toy. All are being handed flyers advertising a local store.

Just like the flyer distributors, businesses across the UK are spotting the opportunities to sell and advertise to sitting duck customers who stand in queues, especially around Christmas, not to mention the January sales.

The modern-day shopper is now scientifically targeted with sights, sounds, and even smells, while their smartphones can be loaded with in-store vouchers and offers.

Some say it improves the shopping experience, others say there is a fine line between entertaining and frustrating customers.


Surveys on consumer behaviour offer differing conclusions on exactly how annoyed shoppers become when standing in a queue.

One poll, for Mintel, suggested that a third of people asked had walked out of a fashion store because they faced too long a wait. The most affluent, aged between 35 and 54, were most likely to walk away.

Another survey by Barclays found that more than two-thirds of shoppers had abandoned a queue because it was taking too long to be served.

The latest poll, from a mobile network, suggested that the patience tipping point while waiting for a supermarket checkout was six-and-a-half minutes.

Sue Eccles, head of education at the Media School at Bournemouth University, is an expert in consumer behaviour. She says that while there is a British tradition of tolerance of queues, there is a hint that people are becoming more impatient.

“New technology allows us to do things in our own time but queues are the antithesis of this,” she says, admitting that the last big queue she stood in was at a post office.

“For many of us, when we are shopping or browsing online, we expect an instant response. That cuts across to other aspects of our lives. If we are going shopping, we expect to go straight to the till and pay fairly promptly.

“We will tolerate short queues but I think people now question the lengthy queues you sometimes see in post offices and some department stores.”

On some occasions – such as the Wimbledon tennis championships or the January sales – standing in the queue for many hours is a source of pride.

“They do not queue just to be the first one to get in. There is a status in queuing. Sometimes a queue is very cool,” she says.Woman stands in front of a mural

The difficult balance to strike, she says, is for businesses and organisations to entertain those who are queuing for the experience, while ensuring efficiency for those carrying out a functional task.

“If you are trying to pay the council tax bill, then you do not want to be entertained. You want simple honesty – no adverts or piped music,” she says.

“The key, as you see in some of the supermarkets, is to have a system where all the tills and queues are staffed at the very busy times, and then staff can be released to do other tasks when it quietens down.

“That is the sort of thing that customers appreciate. That, to customers, is a good queue management solution.”

Scent media

Among those attempting to hit the correct spot on the spectrum of entertainment and efficiency is Mood Media Europe, a business that provides in-store sounds and screens for shops and services.

Its hi-tech output ranges from providing music that sounds like live radio to touchscreens that link up to shoppers’ mobile phones.

The approach aims to reduce the perceived waiting time that shoppers face, explains the company’s senior vice president of corporate marketing, Vanessa Walmsley, in a store that has had a Mood Media makeover.

In this store, screens switch from promotional messages to healthy eating campaigns, but each business has its own formula. One client asked for comedy sketches to be played to people queuing at busy times of the day.

In others, low-cost items are placed within arms length of the queue.

Mrs Walmsley says it is all part of shops becoming smarter and making their store an environment in which people are happy to spend time – and buy more.

In the future, this will mean more targeted messages sent to individual shoppers, perhaps on their mobiles, rather than bombarding them with details of offers.

There is a smell of success too, she says.

“Scent is a tiny part of our business but, of all the senses, it can create the biggest impact,” she says.

These scents are created for fitness centres, fashion stores and hotels, to mask the nastier bodily smells that might hang around and replace them with something more attractive.

Such multi-sensory efforts might not be appreciated by consumers if they are stuck in a queue, according to Sue Eccles of Bournemouth University.

“All these other peripheral things, about queuing systems, videos, and merchandise are seen by most consumers as almost as insulting as standing in a queue,” she says.

Calling time

Some businesses pay for services like these, whereas others can find other ways to limit the frustration of waiting – by giving customers the tools to create their own entertainment.

While waiting in a virtual queue on the telephone, customers will often hear a message explaining that their call is important and an adviser will be with them as soon as possible.

After two minutes, this can often become dispiriting at least, dismissed at worst, so Virgin Media has decided to make the wait an interactive experience.

Anyone waiting on the line for more than two minutes can choose their own hold music.

The idea, which was started by one Virgin service 11 years ago, gives the caller the chance to choose from a jukebox that is updated every month.

Recent callers could choose from a playlist that included Kylie’s Put Your Hands Up, Lights by Ellie Goulding, and Mr Medicine by Eliza Doolittle.

Staff in the company’s call centres decide on the playlist each month, with callers given the option to choose from five different music genres.

So firms are clearly paying considerable attention to the opportunities and restrictions that queues have on their business.

Anyone hoping for an end to queuing may have a long wait. That may well give shoppers something to think about the next time they are stuck in a queue.

El Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos decidió llevar adelante una modernización en el sistema de trámites vinculados a la propiedad del automotor. Como principales novedades, el usuario podrá dispondrá de un sistema de autogestion de turnos de manera online y podrá pagar los formularios de compra-venta de vehículos y patentes, entre otros servicios, a través del sistema “Pago Mis Cuentas” de la red Banelco.Los usuarios ya no tendrán que hacer largas colas para solicitar un turno ante los registros de la dirección del automotor.

De esta manera, los conductores ya no tendrán que ir hacia las seccionales de la Dirección Nacional de los Registros Nacionales de la Propiedad del Automotor (Dnrpa) y padecer las extensas filas para, apenas, pedir una fecha para que sean atendidos.

Los cambios administrativos figuran en las disposiciones 234 y 235 dictadas y aprobadas por el director de la Dnrpa, Carlos Walter, y fueron publicadas hoy en el Boletín Oficial.

Según consta en la norma, los usuarios de automotores podrán  empezar a utilizar la solicitud de “turnos vía web” de manera optativa a través del sitio oficial de la Dnrpa ( a partir del 18 de julio de 2016. Con esta metodología, podrán programar el día y horario en el que podrán concurrir a las dependencias de la Dirección tanto para la petición como para retiro de trámites, o bien para efectuar consultas sobre documentación registral. La asignación del turno será “personal e intransferible”, aunque también “podrán presentarse trámites de terceros, incluso por parte de aquellas personas que tienen derecho al uso de la mesa diferenciada de atención”.

En el caso del pago electrónico, el mecanismo entrará en vigencia desde el 1 de agosto, aunque desde ayer arrancó este tipo de operatoria en modo de prueba. Los trámites de registro del automotor que podrán ser abonados a través de internet o cajeros automáticos son los de informe de estado de dominio, informe histórico de titularidad y de estado de dominio, informe nominal, certificado de dominio, y de denuncia de venta.

De acuerdo con la disposición 235, el abono a través del sistema “Pagos Mis Cuentas” deberá ser ratificado por el usuario en la oportunidad de presentarse en la sede de los registros seccionales, estampando su firma en la “Solicitud Tipo”. Una vez allí, se emitirá el recibo del arancel correspondiente al trámite y se imprimirá la Solicitud Tipo “TP”.

El Ministerio de Justicia impulsa la informatización del sistema de registro del automotor en sintonía con el “Plan de Modernización del Estado”, que ya había sido anunciado previamente por el gobierno nacional.

El objetivo de la medida, según los considerandos de la norma, “agilizar y optimizar la presentación y retiro de trámites y la evacuación de consultas ante los registros seccionales”. Además, el organismo cree que con asignación de turnos vía web “aportará celeridad, eficacia y evitará demoras en la atención al usuario”.

Por último, la dependencia que dirige Carlos Walter sostiene que la informatización “agilizará el funcionamiento interno de los registros seccionales, ya que les permitirá conocer de antemano la cantidad de trámites que se realizarán y los dominios a los que se refieren, pudiendo disponer con anterioridad las medidas conducentes para la mejor prestación del servicio encomendado”.

La Dirección de Registro del Automotor, figura en la norma, deberá poner a disposición para la atención de la mesa de entradas “la cantidad de personal suficiente que asegure el cumplimiento del sistema de turnos, sin detrimento de la atención de los usuarios que se presenten sin turno y de la mesa diferenciada”.

Tag: sistema de gestion de filas