Due to the current global pandemic situation, and the necessary social distancing protocols in place, people today are often required to wait in queues before being granted permission to enter into a POI (point of interest). These outside queues are typically very long, exposing customers to harsh weather conditions (cold, heat, rain) for extended periods of time. Therefore, people are being forced to sacrifice their valuable time to conduct tasks essential to life while risking COVID-19 infection.
Because each POI is lawfully required to maintain a locally prescribed customer/square footage ratio threshold, the number of customers allowed into each POI is significantly reduced from normal operations.
Unfortunately, the world in which we live has been forever changed. This is the new normal — there’s no going back. Thankfully, advancements in technology are helping to overcome the challenges we are enduring, including crowd control at locations offering essential products and services.
An electronic queue booking system, organized in a hierarchical structure. With the SaaS being the Web App Platform Service Provider, the SaaS is identified as the SuperAdmin.
The ideal client is a retail company with a broad network of brick and mortar POIs. Each client is provided with a client sandbox user interface (UI), whereby personnel appointed to serve as client admin can monitor reporting and billing systems, view queue status reports, and manage local POI admin and greeter accounts.
The client’s local POI admin UI (dashboard) allows local store administrators to manage greeters’ accounts, obtain reporting statistics, and view the status of queues in real-time.
The client’s POI greeter UI is designed specifically for those enforcing customer threshold compliance and typically staged at the POI entrance. Greeters give guests access to the POI in accordance with their appointed time slot using mobile devices (tablets). Via their dashboard, greeters can see in real-time the current number of patrons already inside the store and can add or remove customers as they enter and exit.
There is no need for customers to download an app to their preferred devices, Instead, customers access the E-Q platform via a browser-based web app (E-Q.one). The platform operates universally, regardless of browser (Google, Safari, Firefox) or device operating system (iOS, Mac, Android, Windows, Linux).
Customers can choose to register to use the platform or utilize the “guest” mode option. Once the platform is accessed, customers may choose their desired POI, view available time slots in a queue, view the number of other customers already present in their POI of choice, book, cancel, or reschedule a time slot for themselves. Registering to use the system allows users to maintain a history of visited POIs and receive promotional incentives from POIs. Those users who choose to utilize the platform as a guest are not afforded the same additional benefits.
Booking Verification Process:
- The customer accesses the web app and reserves a time slot.
- Approximately one hour before check-in, the customer receives a notification via email where they must confirm their attendance by clicking on a link within the message. At this time, the customer will have the option to confirm, cancel, or reschedule their current booking.
- Upon arrival at the booked POI, the customer will check in with the greeter at a specially identified queue and give their unique booking number. After booking number verification, the customer will be granted access to the POI.
- During check-in, Local Admin establishes an estimated timeline for the customer’s visit inside the POI. Following the expiration of that pre-established timeline, the customer will receive a notification via email to either confirm their exit from the POI or request an additional allocation of time for their visit.
- Again, the customer will receive a notification once the second allocation has expired and must confirm their exit.
- Greeter UI presents customer threshold-based indication for allowing new customers to enter into POI (red screen = no more customers can be granted access, green screen = more customers may be granted access)
- An optional feature is available to the client admin: should the customer fail to confirm their exit, they will not be permitted to request a new booking.
- Client POIs are identified by map-based coordinates
- Customers can use the geolocation feature of their preferred device to locate POIs
- Currently available for North America with future expansion for global use
- Accurate time slot availability based on real-time data
- Incentives (discounts, coupons) available for registered users to encourage bookings during off-peak hours
- User data stored on secure servers in North America
- Batch network import option of detailed ROI-based data for clients including booked time slots versus walk-in customers
- All functionalities are customizable based on client intent to allow flexibility in booking availability schedules
- Option available to clients to bulk cancel all bookings due to situational changes in local law movement/stay at home orders
Pros for Clients:
- Brand Image:
- “We are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our customers and employees.”
- “We care more about our customers than our profits.”
- “We are safer than our competitors.”
- “We are working diligently to improve our services to our customers.”
- Guaranteed threshold/visitor compliance
- Ability to indicate and enforce number of family members entering POI at any given time
- Based on registered customer booking data, ability to notify all customers who visited POI at the same time as someone who tests positive for communicable disease (COVID-19)
Pros for customers:
- Booking time slots allow for convenient time management in scheduling visit to POI
- Guaranteed access to POI
- Reduced exposure to environmental conditions (snow, rain, heat)
- Minimized risk of disease exposure
- Overall reduction of stress related to traveling to and visiting POIs during pandemic-type situations
- Incentives for off-peak hour POI visits (discounts, coupons)
While the web app is free for use by customers, each used booking code will cost the Client a fixed amount. Because the Solution Owner Admin must have a detailed, flexible, and scalable reporting system to obtain accurate billing data from each POI, group of POIs, and ClientsSandbox account, data must be detailed to the level of each customer/visit/booking queue.
Options for Future Implementation:
- Loyalty points system for clients routinely arriving on time and rarely change bookings. POI can offer special points-based discounts.
- Book an order pickup queue (requires prior online purchase of items)
- Connect with store systems API to automatize exit event
- Connect with store door systems to gain entrance access by a booking code