Longish queuing leaves anyone frustrated. But a scientific way to swing into action and retain customer loyalty has now been evolved by a Taiwanese researcher.
The "balking index" of Professor Pen-Yuan Liao of the National United University in Miaoli, could help managers to come up with an optimal staffing policy.
Multiplying the balking index, the queue length, and the mean arrival rate gives you the number of frustrated customers who will leave their position in the queue in that time period.
No one enjoys queuing, so even small reductions in waiting time will result in better quality of service and lead to enhancing customer loyalty and so increased sales, Liao says.
"Estimating balking loss enables a store manager or other person in charge of staffing levels to determine the optimal number of servers by minimizing total cost, including service cost and balking loss," says Liao. He has successfully tested the formula in advising a fast food manager on how many staff to have serving at any given time depending on the balking index.
"By using this formula, approach, restaurants and other services that have queues can cut costs and improve customer loyalty," he says, "Customers benefit from much reduced queuing times."