Mobile App Provides Wait Times, Helps Branch Users Avoid Queues

A nifty little app tells customers how many people are queued up at their favorite branch and what the longest wait times are.

“When’s the best time to go to the bank?” It’s a question nearly everyone has wrestled with at one point or another. No one likes heading down to their usual branch only to find a crowd already packed inside. Common wisdom says to avoid branches on Fridays and lunch hours, but going at other times is no guarantee. One would think there wouldn’t be a crush of customers on a Tuesday at 10:30 am. But you never really know for sure how long you’ll have to wait.

Well here’s an innovative solution to the age-old “wait time” dilemma. Better Branches, a provider of automated branch management and sales solutions, has rolled out a mobile app that banking consumers can use to monitor how many visitors are waiting as well as the longest wait times.

The app is accessed directly from the financial institution’s website, so no download or installation is required — just click and go. Users can easily bookmark the service to the their phone’s home screen, putting wait times within the touch of a single button.

Left: The mobile wait time app. Right: The web-based branch queuing module.

For each branch equipped with Better Branches lobby management system, customers can determine the best time to visit their preferred branch just by pressing a couple buttons on their smart phone. If their first choice branch is busy, they can look for an alternate location nearby.

The service isn’t limited to mobile users, however. Anyone can check branch traffic volumes simply by visiting the financial institution’s website, where the number of visitors and wait times are also posted.

The benefits to banks and credit are obvious. Not only does the service cut down customer wait times, it helps shift branch traffic from peak times and congested branches to non-peak times and under-utilized locations. This type of “load balancing” helps the financial institution cut operational costs.

It lowers staff stress caused by serving members who have grown tired of waiting. It provides a high tech point of competitive differentiation. It’s a practical, value-added service that any bank or credit union could easily market. It would be both fun and easy to promote.

If implementation costs weren’t a consideration, this type of service would be a no-brainer for retail financial institutions.

The next step? Give users the option to schedule an appointment when wait times are too long.

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