Customer Queuing Systems
Each queue system has its advantages and disadvantages, but with no doubt each company’s goal is to cut down on the waiting time and that customer returns. In particular, we examine their implementation of both processes and try to find solutions to improve the waiting line process. The Customer Queuing Systems Waiting in line is a common occurrence in our everyday life. It is well known that most activities in which a service is provided require customers to wait in a queue during the experience (Cope, Cope III, Bass, & Syrdal, 2011, p. 3). Not all companies utilize the same queuing process due to the nature of the service facilities. The degree of contact between the customer and service provider has an impact on how individual services are designed and delivered (Russell & Taylor III, 2011, p. 195). For example, Home Depot utilizes the single-server waiting line process. On the other hand, United States Postal Service (USPS) uses the multiple-server waiting line structure. This two waiting line structures will be the focus of our discussion.
Like any other system they all have their advantages and disadvantages. In a waiting line system, managers must decide what level of service to offer. Decisions about waiting lines and the management of waiting lines are based on these averages for customer arrivals and service times (Russell & Taylor, 2011, p. 200). Therefore, improvements are required to reduce customer wait times. One company that uses one of the queuing systems is Home Depot. The Home Depot is a retailer of home improvement and construction products and services.
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The company uses the single-server waiting line with one single channel per server or multiple lines with several servers that are available for when a large number of potential customers arrive to be served. This queue system is the most familiar by customers. The single server model is advantageous to the design layout of the store. The single-service line system has the advantage of quickening the queue, but the customer does not have the option of selecting his clerk (Jones, O’Berski, & Tom, 1980, p. 91).
On the contrary, the single-server structure is not capable of effectively supporting the increase of customer service rates, especially during peak times periods, as well as able to accommodate customers conducing small purchases. Two other disadvantages in this queue system would be increase of balking (occurs when a customer even before joining the queue get discourage) and reneging (customers after joining the queue, wait for some time and leave the service system due to delay). Another disadvantage of this type of system is jockeying (occurs when a customer changes from one line to another, hoping to reduce the waiting time).
As mentioned above, there is very little to prevent a customer from balking at a single-service checkout system should he find it not to his liking and shopping at nearby store that elected to continue the use of multiple-service line systems (Jones, O’Berski, & Tom, 1980, p. 90). Another company that uses the other type of queuing system is the United States Postal Service (also known as USPS, the Post Office or U. S. Mail) is an independent agency of the United States government responsible for providing postal service in the United States.
USPS utilizes the multi-server waiting lines with one single line and various servers available to service the customer. The advantage of using a single line when multiple servers are available is the customers’ perception of fairness in terms of equal wait time. That is, the customer is not penalized by picking the slow line but is served in a first come, first served fashion. The multiple-server waiting line approach eliminates jockeying behavior. A single-line, multiple-server system has better performance in terms of waiting times than the same system with a line for each server. The multiple-line configuration is appropriate when xperienced servers are used or when space considerations make a single-line model inconvenient. On the other hand, the multiple-service line system provides the customer the option of selecting his clerk, but check-out may be considerably slower (Jones, O’Berski, & Tom, 1980, p. 91). There are many ways to minimize customer wait times. One way to reduce customer wait time is to decrease the expected service time. This can be accomplished by identifying best practices among all the servers, standardizing processes based on best practices, and enhancing training to ensure that best practices are followed.
Also, you may choose to offer employee incentives that encourage working faster as a way to decrease service time. Another way to impact customer wait time is to decrease the rate at which customers arrive to be served. If your service operation experiences peak service hours at certain times of the day when your customers prefer to be served, then management could offer the customer promotions geared to increase traffic during off-peak times. Finally, by adding more servers you will be able to reduce customer wait time. Conclusion
There are many ways to reduce customer wait time, but it all depends on how management views the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of customers. In deciding whether to implement single-service line or maintain multiple-service system, the manager must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative in relation to his specific marketing strategy and target market (Jones, O’Berski, & Tom, 1980, p. 91). Management doesn’t have an easy task of reducing customer wait time. The more servers there are, the less wait time a customer will experience.