What do safe queueing practices during a crisis look like?
A government’s choice to implement laws and regulations for businesses is typically enacted to protect public interest. It is important that businesses abide by governmental laws and regulations and ensure they are always protecting their customer. The COVID-19 response is the most recent cause of government intervention on business operations with the implementation of social distancing measures to protect the health of the public.
Virtual queues and the COVID-19 response
The COVID-19 outbreak of 2020 is a strong reminder that pandemics, much like other rare catastrophes such as the environment destruction of Fukushima in Japan in 2011, and financial crisis of 2007-2008, have and will continue to cause great social and economic destabilisation across the globe. While we cannot prevent such catastrophes from occurring, we can establish measures to minimise the social and economic consequences.
Historically pandemic outbreaks have caused widespread fear, and social and economic damage across societies. While they cannot be prevented, it is important that governments, businesses, and individuals employ preventative measures so that we can act quickly in the case of an outbreak.
WHYQ, in the context of COVID-19, is a virtual queuing system that functions as social distancing software.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to close as governments continue to regulate conditions to best maintain the health and safety of their people. The introduction of social distancing measures has greatly impacted customer facing businesses. Limitations on the number of customers allowed within indoor spaces, the placement of strict hygiene protocols such as 6 ft (1.5m) distancing between people at all times, and the wearing of masks when entering a business, all impact operational procedures. In order to accommodate these measures into day to day operations, businesses need to employ fast track risk management transformation.
Virtual queuing is a perfect tool for effecting preventative and reactive measures to adapt to the newly implemented government regulations. WHYQ, in the context of COVID-19, is a virtual queuing system that functions as social distancing apparatus. The ability to remove any unnecessary contact during a pandemic is a feat that is invaluable to any business.
How do virtual queues work?
There are multiple tools used in Queue Management System (QMS) technology including SMS, mobile apps, digital signage, and customer service selection. Virtual queues create great customer experiences and higher customer satisfaction by offering:
- Personalised experiences
- Optimised service strategies
- Custom workflows
Virtual queues can be both fully virtual, or a hybrid of virtual and physical. Industries such as banking and finance utilise virtual queues to assist walk in customers by greeting them with a service agent who, wielding a tablet with access to an admin dashboard, can assist customers with entering personal details and sign them up to a virtual queue that will service their query more efficiently than waiting in a line at the teller.
Risk management transformation
Businesses have had to rethink and indeed restructure their business model to navigate the recommended government protocols to combat COVID-19. Many organisations have shifted to a remote work model to decrease the risk of infection of their staff by eliminating close contact in offices and during commutes. Certain industries such as retail, hospitality and the medical industry cannot afford this luxury.
Staying open during the pandemic means that typical operations remain limited as social distancing protocols are observed including maintaining a 6ft or 1.5m distance between individuals and groups, and limiting the amount of people who can be present in a business at any one time. This leads to larger queues of people waiting outside, exposing themselves to further risk. By implementing a virtual queuing system, this unnecessary burden can be eliminated.
How virtual queues navigate COVID safety protocols
Virtual queuing systems provide accelerated transformation to enhance efficiency and effectiveness enabling high risk organisations to deal with the pandemic while addressing rising regulatory and cost pressures. Migrating queues to a virtual space allows a business to practice safe social distancing while simultaneously providing the same service to their customer without the inconvenience.
Customers can receive status updates and other relevant information via SMS such as position in queue, estimated wait time, and ultimately informing them of when they can visit the physical location. This eliminates crowding and allows businesses to follow social distancing protocols, providing a pleasing and hygienic service.\