Forty or fifty years ago, if you got in line for something (or "queued up," as the British say), you had to take a number and take a seat. It was frustrating, having to wait forever to hear your number called, and if your number was called while you were in the restroom or otherwise distracted, you were skipped and had to take a new number. Imagine how telephone call queues would have operated then; they would not have worked that way because it was always 1:1 customer to phone representative assistance. Now, even phone systems can have queuing systems. The following show how digital/virtual queuing systems have changed certain businesses for the better over the years.
The time you had to wait shortened when the DMV/DOT went digital. Then, certain counters were assigned certain tasks, such as two counters for driver's licenses and one counter for title transfers on vehicles. Numbers generated, pulled, and assigned to people were based on the numbers for the particular counters that were related to the kinds of transportation business people wanted to complete. It went a little faster, but not until virtual queuing was adopted by DMV/DOT offices did the process speed up, and everyone could get in and out within an hour or less (usually much less, so long as you do not go on Mondays, Fridays, or during the lunch hour when most service counters shut down for an hour). The process has been streamlined by the virtual queuing systems in use.
When the latest smartphone comes out, or when a limited number of limited edition basketball shoes are released, people physically queue up. The good news is that, in most cases, you can now sign on and virtually queue up before you go down to the location to make your purchase. People with special memberships and passes can usually sign in to store membership accounts around midnight the night before, register for the exclusive items, and get in the virtual queue. This allows them to go to the head of the line when they show up to physically get in line and gives them the perks of being members.
Telephone Customer Service Systems
Customers that either call in with a concern or a product complaint are placed within a virtual queue. Phone reps can see calls in the queues, but only the calls at the top of the list are answered first. Unless a call with a consumer complaint is escalated to another tier (and another list which is answered by supervising phone reps), the calls remain in the order in which the customers called in.
If your customers are tired of long wait times, it may be a good idea to start using a queuing system for your business.