New Delhi: Queue rage could be the new face of a ‘waiting India’ that lines up in ATM queues, railway ticketing counters, bill collection centres and other payment desks. By the look of it pushing, jostling, brow beating and enraged outbursts as a result of people’s patience running out could become a norm in our metros where people are already operating on limited levels of patience and tolerance.
Turning around established facts about city-specific behaviour patterns, is the latest ACNielsen survey which has just released results of “queue frustration” carried out amongst 1,782 working men and women between the age group of 25 and 45 years across Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
If statistics are to be believed, Delhi seems to be the most patient of the lot with 96% Mumbaikars claiming top slot for being the least patient when it came to waiting in queues, followed by Chennai at 94%, Kolkatta at 82%, Bangalore at 80% and Delhi performing the best, at a substantially lower 76%.
One factor that could be contributing to Delhi’s relatively higher levels of patience is the fact that waiting time of respondents on an average during a week in Delhi was 30 minutes while in Mumbai it ranged between 30-60 minutes.
Bank queues was identified as being the slowest to move at 34%, closely followed by Ticketing queues at 30% and Bill Payment queues at 27%. Resultantly, 26% of the all-India respondents switched to another service provider in the hope of availing of better self-service solutions. We may just see competition hotting up and rival providers citing efficiency that leads to better queue management as their USP!
The survey showed that consumers are getting fickle when it comes to making a switch to a rival operator. With time at a premium in cities where the degree of one’s ‘busyness’ could well denote how popular or successful you are, queue problems could lead to organizations losing out on their customers, who walk away in an attempt to save their minutes and the hassle of being part of a crowd.
Banks in Delhi saw maximum queues, while in Kolkata it was bill payment counters and in Chennai it was various ticketing counters in malls and shoppping complexes. Most respondents reacted to long queues by getting angry, having arguments, canceling or rescheduling plans, changing their service provider and getting “really” angry which could translate into a more violent expression.
When quizzed about a probable resolution to the queue issue, respondents came up with simple, workable options like having another queue, hiring additional staff, stepping up self service and creating extra space to factor in another line.
The kind of solutions that cities are zeroing in on to counter the possibility of losing clients on account of serpentine, ill-managed queues is also an indicator of their economic and business priorities. If Delhi chooses to have extra spaces earmarked to accommodate additional queues, it implies that it has that kind of physical space in the first place. Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata by virtue of having a better service culture and surplus hands, have opted for deploying additional staff at the line counters while Mumbai which harks on its streak of independence and self-sufficiency, has chosen to train people so they can refine the self-service model.
Respondents felt that self-check kiosks at airports, self check-out kiosks at shopping malls and at other ticketing counters would facilitate better movement and a drastic cutting to size of the queues in question. Self-service devices installed at ATMs and kiosks, can offer multiple services including cash, ticketing and bill pay while giving companies a chance to address numerous issues related to queue frustrations. The model may just be replicated across other service centres too.
It is heartening to see some thought being given to an intangible issue like “waiting” and to acknowledge that wastage of time, having harried nerves and people who could be on edge, is a definite deterrent to productivity and bottomlines.