Improve Customer Service in a Busy Corporate Environment: The Take-a-Number System

Posted on November 30, 2012

The take-a-number system of organizing crowds has been used by the most successful businesses for centuries now. The system has many advantages including the fact that, even in its most basic form, it relaxes customers who are no longer defensive about their position in queue. Even more important, it allows them to further browse the shop and perhaps chooses more products and the system can still be used in its original form and is still used that way today. Initially it was just a roll of tickets with numbers and the customers would take a number as they entered, and the sales people would call out the next number as soon as they were ready to serve.

Needless to say, that system has certain disadvantages, not the least of which being that it forces the sales l personnel to be very careful about the way they keep track of the numbering system. The problem becomes even more difficult when there is more than one teller and they have to synchronize each other, keeping track of not only their numbering system but also where their peers are. Still the system has worked extremely well for many years now, and a trained group of employees can use it almost automatically without being distracted from their work. The customers are a different story in this kind of situation because those who are not accustomed to the system may not even be aware that they need to draw out a ticket or feel comfortable about using it.

Then again, most customers feel very comfortable with the take-a-number system and are grateful for the clear order it creates. For that reason alone, a modern electronic system is a good idea because it shows that the management teams is respectful of their clients’ needs and are trying to improve their systems. But there are also other reasons why an electronic system is a welcome improvement over the manual system.

First of all, the electronic system also has a prominently displayed counter that everyone can see from the very moment they enter the store, and they can go directly to take a number. In addition, the system takes away the strain from the tellers who merely push a button to indicate that they are ready for the next client.



As seen on Forbes, Mashable,

The system automatically allocates the clients to next free teller and can even spread them out according to their specific needs. That is to say that the system can be programmed in such a way that the client will be asked about the general purpose of his visit and will be automatically routed to the most appropriate teller. And then, if that person should be on a break then the system can compensate and redirect the customer to the next available employee.

More advanced systems also have a recall button so that a client who decides that he does not want to wait will be able to let the system know. Of course, this system implies an investment by the store, but the advantages in customer satisfaction outweigh the costs, and successful entrepreneurs will know how to use it in their advantage.

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