By Michael Felsenthal
Virtual Queuing Applications: The New Post-Covid Reality
Queueing applications have come a long way since the Romans issued tickets by stamping shards of clay. The tokens, known as tesserae, were the size of a penny. Despite the small size, they managed to indicate exactly where its bearer could enter the stadium and navigate to his specific seat. Even back then, two things were true: no one likes waiting in long lines, and people spend too much time waiting in them.

MIT professor and queuing expert Richard Larson claims millions of Americans spend 2-3 years waiting in lines, which is roughly 37 billion hours. The New York Times cites further research stating that people overestimate their wait time in lines by 36 percent.

For this reason, businesses are using queuing applications to lessen the amount of time customers spend waiting in line. The Covid-19 pandemic has added extra urgency with longer lines due to social distancing measures and concerns related to touching surfaces. Even as the pandemic restrictions are relaxed, queuing applications will become increasingly common to lessen wait times in lines. SafeCounter is leading the way in helping businesses introduce simple queuing applications by connecting with their customers' smartphones.
How queuing solves long lines
Queuing itself is not a new concept. Disney is credited with originally creating the concept through use of the switchback queue at the 1964-65 World Fair in New York. Disney has also come up with the FastPass, a queuing application system that allows customers to bypass long lines to the attractions. This same system has since been replicated by amusement parks with the same rate of success.

Queuing applications have become even more relevant in the digital age. Customers are more drawn to shopping online to completely avoid lines in stores. This has forced businesses to find new innovative ways to decrease long wait times. One example is the self-service checkout points often seen in places such as grocery stores and airports.
Covid's impact on queuing
During the Covid-19 pandemic, it became common for businesses to have extra-long lines for social distancing purposes. Furthermore, many businesses had to address the possibility of the novel coronavirus spreading on surfaces. The solution? Queuing applications.

Larger chains such as Target, Best Buy, and Walmart have given customers the option of creating a digital appointment. This gives the customers the ability to choose a convenient time slot to pick up their purchased items. Customers are given the choice to pick up in-store or to arrange a curbside pickup.

SafeCounter is a simple and low-cost queuing application for businesses that want to keep their customers safe while waiting online. Instead of touching a screen to register their spot in the queue, visitors scan a QR code with their smartphone, which activates the queuing system on their own phone. They can track their progress and step away from the waiting area to stay safe, and even use their waiting time more productively, without losing their place in line. Best of all, SafeCounter is not an app that customers need to download on their phones—something we know many customers would rather not do. It requires no new software on the customer end and no hardware on the business end!
The New Reality: Safe Queuing Applications
One of the defining aspects of the digital age is making things more convenient for people. The one thing that will never change is peoples' apprehension towards long lines. This has accelerated the adoption of queueing applications. The pandemic has forced businesses to move ahead of schedule to keep their customers happy and safe. Even as the pandemic recedes in the future, businesses will keep these new innovations in place to enjoy their many benefits.

Get on board and let's drive the change together !

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