By Victor Adar
We all know the depressing feeling one gets when one has to queue for hours on end to pay that electricity bill, or make a transaction at the bank. Haven’t we all seen people ask others to “hold the line” for them as they are unable to stand for long?
The good news is that things, it appears, have started to change, as far as customer service is concerned. A spot check in several banks reveals that, with increasing competition, financial institutions are implementing some creative customer service models.
In contrast to queuing, bank customers can now get tickets or tokens from ticket dispensing booths and sit comfortably in the banking hall as they wait to get served thanks to electronic queue management. Popular as eQMS, electronic Queue Management Solutions use intelligent queuing process and an advanced digital display network to manage and monitor the client service experience, thereby keeping people informed, engaged and relaxed as they wait to be served.
Its branch reporting focuses on customers, staff as well as information management, showing real time statistics of the branch such as the operator status, tickets in wait and those already served, total customer count and stats, as well as average waiting and service time. It also demystifies detail of the day; total tickets issued tickets in wait, tickets in queue and tickets served.
Further, managers can view live screen and branch statistics from a single location while performing internal service audits using staff performance reports, service reports, and branch performance with respect to customers.
Anthony Maina, CEO of Biometrics Technology, the supplier of these systems, says he saw a gap in service delivery, adding that the greatest loss for businesses these days is poor customer service.
“The differentiating factor right now is customer service,” he says. “When customers remember small details about you, not because you have always reminded them, it shows you have put in place a solution that works. And therefore anybody who is going to position him/herself in efficient customer service is going to have an edge over others. Many institutions are embracing queue technology.”
The system can readily be integrated into existing digital displays that an institution may currently have and, depending on size of an organisation, the components costs between Sh200,000 to Sh300,000.
The system entails four main components: The ticket dispenser (this is where you will get your ticket), the status display which is basically where you will look and see as your ticket number is called out, the teller unit counter display, which is bundled inside (where the teller sits) together with the reporting platform.
The dispensing unit kiosk is a 15-inch touch screen LCD with a brushed steel exterior, windows based solution that handles more than 60 service and sub- service categories and boasts dual printer with multilingual interface with ticket printing functionality. Businesses also benefit from the machine’s dynamic and static advertising as at idle status you can communicate key messages guaranteeing brand visibility. The modular LED and LCD displays are built in all shapes and sizes and can project any type of data and media content in vibrant colours. There are also the digital display solutions ideal for high-contrast indoor or extreme-weather outdoor usage.
As the radical shift takes place, especially with more and more institutions acknowledging the place of automation, Biometrics Technology is angling for the party. The system was piloted by Equity bank for two years starting 2011, and Mr Maina is upbeat at being been recognised as the leading customised queue management solutions and information display solutions provider in Kenya with close to 30 installations so far. He also has a regional presence, having installed the systems in countries like Rwanda and South Sudan. Within the local banking industry, Barclays, Co-op Bank, KCB, Equity, and CBA are some of their biggest clients.
“I see growth… In the next three years, I see literally any waiting area having a customer kiosk. Every service industry will need this. The beauty is that one is able to determine staff productivity, say, how many people served, and you are able to make certain decisions,” he concludes.