All posts by Brandon Munson

About Brandon Munson

Brandon Munson, FACHE, is the Principal Partner at Fulcrum Design, LLc, a strategic planning and technology development firm located in Connecticut. Prior to Brandon's move to full time consulting he was the Senior Vice President of Health Services at Duncaster, a LifeCare continuing care retirement community. Brandon oversaw strategic, administrative and operational responsibility for all of Duncaster’s Health and Wellness programs including the Hartford HealthCare Senior Care Patient Centered Medical Home at Duncaster, Caleb Hitchcock Heath Center, Assisted Living, The Wellness Center and Resident Services. Prior to Duncaster, he was the Administrator of Miller Memorial Community, Inc., a 5- Star, not-for-profit senior care community in Meriden, CT. Also, he was a business consultant for the Meriden-Wallingford Independent Physicians’ Association. Before his work at Miller Memorial, Munson served as the Director of Operations and Network Manager at the Connecticut Alliance for Integrated Care, what is now referred to as an Account Care Organization. Brandon has deep experience in innovation and leadership. He brings a strong background in operations/strategic planning, program development, health information management systems and population health management. Brandon is active in the senior living sector, having served as a founder and the chair of the Connecticut Nursing Home Culture Change Coalition and as an adjunct lecturer in health care studies at UCONN, Charter Oak State College and the University of New Haven. A Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, he is also a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. Brandon received his Long-Term Care Management Certification from the University of Connecticut and now teaches that course at UCONN. His MBA is in Strategic Leadership from Amberton University and his BS is from the University of Central Florida.

Wait Management Software Systems

What’s the Difference: SMS Queue Management App and a Waiting Line Management Systems?

SMS Queue Management Apps and Waiting Line Management Systems are synonymous, both aim to achieve optimal customer flow, however, SMS queuing management apps and customer waiting line management system can be fundamentally different in design and effectiveness. Why it matters, it’s estimated Americans spend 37 billion hours waiting in line annually. Wait time is directly affected by the waiting line system in use.

Exhibit – Queue Mobile:  SMS Waiting Line Software Solution

According to the technology, blog Automate the Wait! SMS queue management apps, such as QueueMobile ™achieves optimal customer flow-through through “virtual queuing”. SMS queue management software eliminates the physical waiting line by creating virtual queues using interactive SMS messaging and digital displays of the wait order across multiple queues. Customer queue management systems that use SMS queuing are purely digital queue management software system. Advanced mobile queuing applications, such as QueueMobile™, go beyond the virtual waiting to include digital workflow efficiencies, creating a seamless customer journey across multiple departments.

Waiting Line Management systems can be Customer Queue Management Software such as electronic queuing systems, using just digital signage to signify to customers in line, the next open service desk. Ideal for retail. Take a ticket system is a common waiting line management system using numbered tickets to maintain order and fairness for services that require a longer wait, such as a deli counter. Waiting line management systems and queue management systems are designed to organize the wait, maintaining a sense of fairness, through the order of the wait, usually first come, first serve, examples include grocery stores and bank. Common physical waiting lines, which often double for crowd control, is stanchions and rope posts, examples include the “velvet rope” at a Hollywood premiere, or perhaps an art exhibit.

Before SMS queue management apps organizations had little choice in how they could manage long queues and maintain customer satisfaction. Fewer attendants might be inexpensive, at least in the short run, but often incurring longer wait times and greater customer dissatisfaction, costing the organization customers in the long run. Typically providing a high level of service is costly, requiring more man-hours, however with SMS queue management apps the additional cost of the software is the only expense, the number of attendants can remain the same, according to Social Mobile Trends. Customers still have to wait but not standing in line. When customers are waiting without standing in line they tend to spend more money. SMS queue management systems generate a return on investment, unlike traditional waiting lines.

Learn more visit QueueMobile.com

 

Automated Court Queue System Technology Suite

Court Q Technology intro

Court Digital Display Directories and Automated Court Queue Management Systems

Court Q’s integrated suite of automated Court queue management solutions is designed to optimizing existing workflow through digital automation, in turn, gaining operational efficiencies over paper-based workflows, saving staff time and lowering the court’s Clearance Rate. 

Digital Daily Docket™

Digital Daily Docket™ is a web-based, paperless, digital docket display directory and attendance solution. The daily court calendar is ported into Court Q, either by an API or manual upload of an Excel file. Designed with affordability in mind, the day’s docket of cases can be projected on to any browser-based monitor or smart TV, no special hardware required.

 A Check-in Kiosk is integrated with the Digital Daily Docket™. A web-based touch screen kiosk with features such as case lookup by name, case number or citation is an excellent attendance solution. As customers check-in, the Digital Daily Docket updates in real-time, push updates to CASE Call, a courtroom case queue management system. Optional features of the Digital Daily Docket include Court Q Messenger™, customers can opt-in to receive court reminders and case information by text messages. Building a permission list of court customers opting in to receive court text messages. The most effective communication and engagement channel for court reminders and mobile collection efforts.

How It Works

Upon check-in verification using the Digital Daily Docket kiosk customers can opt-in to receive text messages by entering their mobile number. Court Q Messenger™ will then text the docket case information and an optional wayfinding mobile map right into the hands of your court customers.
kiosk mock u[CASE Call™

As customer’s Check-in the Digital Daily Docket will push real-time updates to CASE Call™, Court Q’s Courtroom Case Queue Management, and Attendance system solution. CASE Call is designed to lower court’s clearance rate by improved case throughput. CASE Call’s Court Clerk User Interface makes it easy for clerks to manage their case flow by CASE Call’s courtroom digital display queues or SMS virtual waiting lines. 

CASE Call Court Queue Management

1 Case Call exhibitCourts that permit the use of cell phones, can significantly benefit from Case CALL’s virtual queue management solution. CASE Call can be programmed to automatically send text alerts by the queue position(s) a customer is in. Customers receive a text alert, calling them back into the courtroom.

Probate and Family Court Q is a customer queuing and digital workflow system. 

Familyworkflow3

Outcomes – Achieve Key Measurable Perspectives

Court Q is designed to meet the High-Performance Court Framework: 

A Road Map for Improving Court Management, established by the National Center for State Courts(NCSC). The Framework focuses on four key perspectives. 

  • The customer perspective;
  • The internal operating perspective;
  • The innovation perspective; and
  • The social value perspective.

The two perspectives that can be measured and benchmarked are:

  1. The customer perspective, these are the areas of effectiveness and procedural satisfaction.
  2. Operating perspective, these are the areas of efficiency and productivity.

Court Q™ achieves the customer perspective with the satisfaction associated with a sense of autonomy that comes with virtual queuing. No standing in line nor sitting and waiting anxiously in a crowded courtroom. Customers can now wait outside of the courtroom, choosing how best to make use of their wait time. 

The operating perspective is the efficiencies gained by reducing or eliminating manual workflow. The internal savings and reallocation of staff time to important projects.  

External efficiencies gained from Court Q’s queue management system’s digital workflow. Leveraging the digital workflow supporting the court customer journey can potentially increase the timeliness of collections. 

For example, CASE Call™ can be extended beyond the courtrooms, to include the cashier. Court Clerks can update and share a case verdicts information such as fines and fees within CASE Call. The clerk can transfer the customer to the Cashier for collections before the customer leaves the courtroom. The court customer will get a text notification informing him of his position in the Cashier’s virtual waiting line. When next to be seen, the Cashier can summons the customer to come to the window and pay. Likely reducing the number of cases that go to collections when not paid the day of the hearing.

Court Electronic Display Directories

Case Call Curved

Courthouses that prohibit cell phones entirely will benefit from Digital Docket Display Directory to help your customers find their assigned courtroom without huddling around a spreadsheet taped to the wall. Each courtroom can benefit from CASE Call’s digital display visual queuing system.  

Visit Court Q, http://Courthousetechnology.com

SMS Student Queue System for Colleges & Universities

Student Q™ the first SMS queue system designed specifically for colleges and universities by higher education users.

Student Q queuing app Slideshow 2

Today’s “always  connected” students have high expectations when it comes to technology and higher education. SMS mobile queuing software is an essential technology solutions that meets expectations.   However, not all SMS queue systems are created equal or at least designed and developed with higher education in mind.

Student Q, goes beyond the virtual waiting line for colleges and universities, with a Mobile One Stop Express. A flexible configurable platform for both centralize or decentralized student support service models. Offering multiple student access points to join a queue. Self serve student kiosk for example, can be configured to offer student’s access to multi-department queues or to a single linear queue.    What Makes Student Q the Right Choice for Higher Ed.

One Stop fearues.gif
Student Q 3.0 a One Stop Mobile Express
  1. Engage students while they wait in a virtual queue.
  2. A collaborative platform with a simple and intuitive user interface designed to create a seamless customer service centered journey across multiple departments.
  3. Resulting in: ROI side

 

Student Q, the the first SMS Waitlist Management software for colleges and universities.

Santa Q™ Break Through: Leveraging the Digital Customer’s Preferences to Increase Visit Volume & Satisfaction

Appeasing the Local Shopper - Eliminate the Wait
Survey of local retail shoppers identified that 87% of shoppers would be willing to use a technology if it would keep them from waiting in line at a retail store for more than 15 minutes. waiting in line at a retail store. 66% or 2 out of 3 respondents said they would use an online check-in or download an app if that would save their place in line at a local business.

Abstract: Fulcrum Design’s Center for R&D  solved the cost benefit conundrum of improving the family experience or suffering the loss of revenue associated with fewer visits due to the added minute and half to add a family the virtual queuing system. This important business decision, is particularly difficult when peak season is only 8 weeks.
What We Discovered: Applying the lean characteristics required to attract and retain local Digital Consumers results in increased revenue, a decrease in (per Digital Consumer) transaction time on the Santa set by 1 to 2 minutes as a result of the digital consumer preference to schedule and pay for their visit online.  To put it in perspective, 80% of local consumers are web savvy, we estimate 60% will book online if given the opportunity.
The savings in transaction time associated with 60% of families opting to book online far exceeds the minute and a half required to input a family into Santa Q.  Offering the freedom to avoid standing in a long waiting line is the least we can do in turn for solving a difficult and costly dilemma.

logo_santa Q 300How Does It Work
First, the data science behind the break through through Accenture Consulting’s 2015 Digital Customer research and report. The report’s survey revealed 60% of customers are digital-consumers.   

The break through results in three important tactics that will require customizing your existing queue system.  
1. Offer your customers the digital technology they have come to rely on an such as an Online Customer appointment portal with the capability to purchase online in advance.
2. Offer the virtual same day booking system on the set through our iPad App.
3. Is what makes the magic happen.
 They prefer to do most things online. MOSTY IMPORTANTLY is how to configure the software (Contact Brandon to learn more).

Why DIY Online is Hot
The reason -largely due to the “additional time required to have a conversation” with the agent and or work through a phone tree and worst of all is the phone tag to schedule an appointment, when all we really need is the date and time you are available.
40% digital-consumer are typically middle to upper income and ideal market to invest in.
A characteristic of this digital consumer is they expect to pay online as well. That characteristic, eliminate the time it takes to make the purchase on the set with or without a virtual queue. In the least we should offer online booking to your walk up malls. While the walk up guest is paying, the online appointment guest can be visiting Santa. That’s maximizing visits while exceeding guest expectations.

Digital Display
Santa Q, Santa set Australia

QueueMobile, a SaaS suite of software designed to promote customer satisfaction by eliminating physical waiting lines with virtual waiting lines on premise.  We also offer same day appointments through our iPad our iPad kiosk.  We now offer the revenue enhancing online appointment booking widget.

Holiday event pop-up operators are a courageous lot. Whether it’s Halloween, Christmas or Easter they have to maximize, what is usually 4 to 6 weeks to generate a profit while satisfying hordes of stressed out young families, not to mention their clients, typical mall operators.   Fulcrum Design developed Event Q a lite weight, high volume virtual queue management system that has been serving the niche sector for Canada to Australia for over 5 years.

There are services environments, that process improvement or structural redesign, cannot entirely resolve waiting in a line, especially at peak times, resulting in overcrowding or long wait times. The agencies or businesses involved, have to balance the cost of benefit of the additional 2 minutes of inputting a party into a virtual waiting line system to mitigate the emotional frustration or leveraging the additional visit volume associated with those 2 minutes to capture additional revenue.

You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Fulcrum Design is a pioneer in the innovation of virtual waiting line solution.  In 2010, Mobile Matradee with developed on behalf of Max Restaurant Group, to avoid the costly expense associated with traditional restaurant coaster. Shortly there after Dave & Busters and Top Golf USA were the first national restaurant and entrainment companies to adopt the cell phone pager technology and they choose Mobile Matradee.

Unfortunately, customer retention requires more than the delivery of a service or product. Long, unpredictable wait time result in a negative emotional reaction starting with aniexty, then frustration followed by anger. At this point there is a good chance you lost this customer and the customer has lost repect for management. Examples are Emergency room urgent cares, DMV and seasonal events like Santa sets at the mall.

Happy Santa Claus looking on the mobile phone
Happy Santa Claus Mobile

No other  Seasonal event draws a crowd like Santa
QueueMobile, a virtual interactive waiting line system,  is the least costly alternative that will generate ROI through enhancing customer flow and customer satisfaction.  QueueMobile uses SMS text messaging engagement to create a virtual waiting line. Our virtual lines enables customers to interact with the system, such as reply S to monitor their status QueueMobile or Santa Q, will reply back with a current status demonstrating progress forward in line, now unencumbered to make better use of her time for what matters, shopping.

Queue theory continues to be a popular subject matter of human behavior in sociology. In many cases, if a customer can avoid a line until check out they will continue to shop and spend money.  QueueMobile is used across a broad range of service industries from restaurants, college campuses and special marketing events to manage crowd control.  Eliminating physical waiting lines with hybrid virtual queue management and appointment booking solutions is what customer want.

Santa Sets the Mall Experience
Commerical event photography companies host Santa and Easter set. They are usually contracted by the malls to provide an annual staple event. Mall Managers take these events very seriously and realize the benefits. However working in a mall over the 8 week holiday season can be challenging considering the placement of the pop-up Santa set.  The lighting, electrical and internet capacity are just a few key consideration.  Not to mention the family with two or three kids under the age of 7 in line for 45 minutes to get 2 minutes with Santa and a couple of portraits.

Another challenge with the malls, is the technology infrastructure, particularly for web hosted or cloud-based software solutions such as a POS or virtual queue systems relying a shared wifi infrastructure. The free wifi at most malls are lowband and not terribly stable as more customers sign on to the service.  The same phenomenon, known as congestion, occurs with the cell towers closest to the mall.

Santa Q Designed to Handle Variable Environments
Santa Q is not your off the self-virtual waiting line system.  It runs as an iPad App, designed to work in offline mode and sync back to the cloud when the signal regains its connection.  Thanks to Managing Partner Stefan Hutton of Scene to Believe, Santa Q was born out of trail in error Down Under, where in its first season processed over 34,000 families in 8 weeks.  Australia is a particular challenge due to the vast antiquated copper telecom infrastructure.  SMS comes in one size, standard 10 digit phone numbers, which means 40 x slower than commercial U.S. shortcodes.  Santa Q is now configured to rotate 10 digital numbers to maximize the speed of messaging. The application is optimized to work over a 3G Hotspots with minimal latency. Lastly the system is configured with  3 international SMS gateways, which means, the line doesn’t stop on the account of a single gateway going down.

If you think you can benefit from an online appointment system, a virtual waiting line or in of fast, instant and reliable communication system for you staff and stakeholder please don’t hesitate to reach out. Brandon Munson, FACHE

SMS Queuing System for Retailers and Consignment Shops Increase Sales.

Virtual Waiting Line Management for Retail Stores.

CustomerQBusy Retailers and consignment shops need Queue Mobile, the Virtual Waiting Line Queue Management System.
A customer survey by Great Clips, a hair salon franchise, discovered retail operators without a queue management system risk losing business. The study revealed customers become dissatisfied when wait times exceed 10 minutes, the number 2 complaint in Great Clips, survey. The survey revealed that 94% of those respondents agreed that a reasonable wait time is less than 10 minutes. Customers become dissatisfied when wait times exceed 10 minutes, the number 2 complaint. The survey revealed that 94% of those respondents agreed that a reasonable wait time is less than 10 minutes.

There is likely a correlation between the number 1 complaint, Rude Staff and the number 2 complaint of Long Wait times. This is where the value proposition of an SMS queue management system compared to traditional queuing systems such as take a ticket system or multiple waiting lines. Virtual Queue Management systems such as Queue Mobile’s Retail Q, may not eliminate the wait time or lower to less than 10 minutes during peak times, however, it creates the perception of not waiting by not restraining the customer to a physical wait. Keeping customers waiting more than 10 minutes may seem a trivial complaint, but it can surely cost retailers. Once a customer makes them wait, 48 percent assume your business is poorly managed, and 52 percent take their business elsewhere.

Why Managing the Waiting Line Experience is Worth the ROI: Today’s society, particularly consumer, expect instant gratification, a bridge too far for e-retailers, which is likely the reason brick and mortar retailers are not extinct, at least not yet. In other words, don’t ignore the wait time complaints, it’s not “a cost of doing a brisk business”, investing in queue management system to satisfy your customer’s during peak times can increase your business b 52% (that’s equal to the percentage that walks away when they see long physical lines). Retail Q by QueueMobile, for example, is much less money and more reliable than increasing labor cost you can’t sustain due to the unpredictability of demand. However, QueueMobile’s analytics can help your staff, by using its reports to find trends in peak times and staffing accordingly.

Fortunately our consumer driven society that expects instant gratification from retail and most other service sectors are willing to go high tech: 87 percent of consumers are willing to use some type of technology if it keeps them from waiting in line at retail stores, and 67 percent would use online check-in or download an app that saved their places in line at a retail business.

I appreciate your post on waiting and how beneficial the Art of Zen is to transcend our suffering through waiting, (waiting in terms of the consumer experience is usually anything more than 8 minutes and we start to lose it).
Is it fair to have such little patience for our retail service sector (who invest heavy in strategies and training to complete on service delivery)?

Furthermore, we think we are Michael Porter and assume (something Dr. Porter doesn’t do) it’s an externality of the service sector, translation, uneducated, low wage, incompetent and careless employees. When in fact it is rarely the root cause. The root cause is demand management, which is the duty of the educated, highly paid retail executives.
Contributing Editor Brandon Munson, FACHE

Reducing ED Wait Times

The Diseconomies of Queue Pooling: An Empirical Investigation of Emergency Department Length of Stay

by Hummy Song, Anita L. Tucker & Karen L. Murrell

OVERVIEW —Improving efficiency and customer experience are key objectives for managers of service organizations including hospitals. In this paper, the authors investigate queue management, a key operational decision, in the setting of a hospital emergency department. Specifically, they explore the impact on throughput time depending on whether an emergency department uses a pooled queuing system (in which a physician is assigned to a patient once the patient is placed in an emergency department bed) or a dedicated queuing system (in which physicians are assigned to specific patients at the point of triage). The author’s measured throughput time based on individual patients’ length of stay in the emergency department, starting with arrival to the emergency department and ending with a bed request for admission to the hospital or the discharge of a patient to home or to an outside facility. The findings show that, on average, the use of a dedicated queuing system decreased patients’ lengths of stay by 10 percent. This represented a 32-minute reduction in length of stay—a meaningful time-savings for the emergency department and patients alike. The authors argue that physicians in the dedicated queuing system had both the incentive and ability to make sure their patients’ care progressed efficiently so that patients in the waiting room could be treated sooner than they otherwise would have. Key concepts include:

  • This study tests the impact of a queuing system structure on the throughput time of patients in an emergency department that had recently switched from a pooled queuing system to a dedicated queuing system.
  • Patients experienced faster throughput times when physicians were working in a dedicated queuing system as opposed to a pooled queuing system.
  • The benefits of a dedicated queuing system may be due to greater visibility into one’s workload and the increased ability for physicians to manage patient flow.


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A Patient Waiting Room Satisfaction Solution
A Patient Waiting Room Satisfaction Solution

Patient Q® is a patient waiting rooming satisfaction solution designed for hospital Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Centers to effectively manage the patient experience by creating a virtual waiting room.

Patients can access the ER or Urgent Care waiting room portal from the hospital or clinic’s website, choose the next most convenient and available visit time. Complete the online forms to expedite registration and prepare the ED team ahead, which will reduce the patient’s wait time and visit time, as revealed in Dr. Song’s study.

Patient Q can be effective at capturing new patients from your competitor as a result of our value-added search engine optimization which brings patients right to your online portal.  When a patient finds they have a choice to avoid waiting hours in a waiting room versus the comfort and convenience of their own home they will likely choose the convenience of their living room. Patient Q will call or text them as their visit time approaches.

Many quality hospitals and providers suffer from poor patient satisfaction reviews associated with long and unpredictable wait times. Patient satisfaction is core quality measure that is publicly reported and could result in lower reimbursement not to mention the damage to your brand reputation, particularly in the era of social media where your brand is now in the hands of social media fans or foes. To learn more visit http://QueueMobile.com or call 203-715-4780.

Patient Q is only for nonlife or limb threatening conditions.