Long queues at pharmacies and the associated waiting times for customers is a challenge facing many pharmacies around the world today. This is not a new reality but has become heightened in recent times due the lack of qualified pharmacists available in the market. Traditional methods employed by pharmacies to improve the customer experience have focused on creating comfortable waiting areas, some level of entertainment (e.g. a television) and possibly serving refreshments.
In recent years, however, automated queuing technology has been successfully developed and applied in areas of pharmacy practice that specifically address customer waiting times. These systems are typically PC or internet based and can track a multitude of useful information that was previously very difficult to quantify for pharmacy managers. Variables such as customer arrival and departure times, patterns of arrival, prescription fill time, waiting time, and individual staff member productivity can all be recorded. Customers also benefit through improved access to information such as estimated wait times and their position in the queue. These solutions can also typically place customers in different queues based on their particular needs – such as prescription medication, over the counter medication, or those that may be waiting for a health check-up or vaccinations.
Queue Mobile, while delivering on all the aspects noted above, has taken pharmacy queue management to another level through the integration of Short Message System (SMS) notification with the standard automated queuing technology. Queue Mobile, while providing all the back-end management data needed to improve operational efficiencies, now also frees customers to roam the store, or visit a coffee shop, or get on with their routine grocery shopping etc. while simultaneously maintaining their position in the queue at the Pharmacy. This is achieved through the creation of a virtual queue where customers manage their position in the queue via SMS.
On arrival at the pharmacy a customer is greeted prior to joining the physical queue and asked for the reason for their visit as well as their cell number. The customer is then placed in the relevant queue, notified of their likely waiting time and that they can expect an SMS when it is almost their chance to be served. The customer is then free, as noted above, to complete their shopping at etc. The customers’ position in the queue is then managed virtually and when it is almost their chance to be served they are notified via SMS. They then have the chance to either make their way to the service counter or requested more time (via replying to the SMS) and therefore be shifted a number of places down the queue.
An additional functionality is the possibility of allowing customers to join the virtual queue at the Pharmacy from off-site. That is a customer can send and SMS to the Pharmacy indicating their need and then be placed in the virtual queue before they arrive at the pharmacy. This is great for customers who need to pick up their medication and go.
In summary the key advantages of this system include the following:
- Reduced customer waiting times and the associated frustrations.
- Winning new customers due to the convenience of the virtual queuing system.
- Increased sales as customers waiting to be served at the pharmacy are now freed to browse the greater store.
- Improved operational efficiencies.
Improving customer flow increases increases customer satisifaction and retention thus increases cash flow. Learn more today by visiting QueueMobile.com
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