A brief review of affordable customer queuing management options.
"No one wants to come to City Hall." This is a sentiment we hear very frequently from our clients. While it's true that a visit to the local permit or tax collection office does not leave customers with the same sense of satisfaction as going to a retail store and leaving with a product, there are ways to make it more predictable and less painful. If you are seeing a large number of customers in person, it is worthwhile to consider whether a "queuing management system" could improve the customer experience and, maybe, take some of the pressure off staff.
This post evaluates queue management-specific solutions at a variety of price levels based on the functional requirements listed below and in subsequent charts. The five assessed solutions were narrowed from a list of 18 potential tools based on their ability to meet government service needs across an array of price points.
The list below describes the meaning behind the criteria used in the comparison chart displayed at the end. Criteria were developed based on key functional requirements commonly encountered in local government settings.
In Lobby Kiosk – whether the solution supports customer self-in on-site using a kiosk tablet or computer
Remote Sign-In – whether customers can sign in remotely online
Front Desk Interface – whether there is an interface for staff to use to sign customers in at a lobby
Remote Scheduling – whether appointments can be booked online
Custom Lobby Monitor Display – whether the solution can display a waitlist with custom information and style in a lobby onsite
SMS Updates – whether automatic sending of user-defined messages regarding wait status can be configured
Bi-Directional SMS – whether the solution can interpret text responses from customers (e.g., cancel, coming, delayed, etc.)
Estimated Wait Times – whether the system can estimate wait time-based either on the customers ahead and historic queue data
Staff-Facing Queue Alerts – whether there is a persistent and audible floating widget to display on staff computers, or similar
Formats – which formats data can be displayed in or exported to
Report Builder – whether the user interface allows users to select specific fields to include in summary reports or raw data exports
Premade Reports – whether the system comes configured with premade reports
User, Desk, Queue – whether reports are available at each level of granularity
Languages - which users can select to receive information in when signing in
Monthly – advertised monthly cost
Annually – advertised annual cost – custom quotes are available for larger enterprises
Users – maximum number of users
Locations – number of separate locations supported
SMS Messages – maximum number of messages
Visitors – maximum number of visitors supported
Exchange Integration – whether the solution can be integrated with users' active directory sign-on and Outlook calendars
Includes Implementation Services – whether the company offers implementation services
Hosting Options – whether cloud hosted (Saas) or On-Premise
Lobby Central has the majority of the features described as desirable. Its biggest shortcoming is language accessibility, but its price is the lowest. Additionally, this firm supports implementation and is available either online or installed on a local server.
Waitwhile is the next most affordable solution. It largely meets feature criteria with robust language access, but it limits texts to 8 per visitor and may not comply with IT authentication requirements for users.
Qless is the second most expensive solution, but it does provide fair language access. It offers generic support via a help site for launching the solution and only supports a single location.
Qminder is the most expensive solution and accommodates the lowest number of users. Further, it offers less favorable language access, limited integration with the Exchange, and is only available online.
Qudini, while popular, may not be an appropriate government solution as it is primarily a retail management solution that is looking to move into the government space. Its features are designed to track multiple store locations and follow up with customers to encourage future sales.
Ready to See It?
The appropriate selection for your organization is subjective. Some of the criteria we considered may not deserve the weight we put on them. So, we recommend you review the charts and determine the weight they would like to place on the criteria identified. Involve your IT department to determine the primary considerations from a technology perspective based on the current city infrastructure. Then click on the links above and schedule a demonstration of the solutions that seem right for you.
TCG does not endorse a particular product, nor were we compensated for this review.