BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Customers waiting in long lines to get their cars washed can get angry, and extended wait times can lead to bad reviews and lost revenue.

Wait line management, or queue management, can allow carwashes to avoid customer complaints and reap the profits of a busy wash day. Carwashes can design their own systems to help them manage this process. Station Auto Wash designed a timer system to help it keep customers moving through the line.

Customers do not like to wait in long lines without an explanation of why they are waiting so long. Weather conditions, exhaust smells, medical conditions and even hunger can lead customers to become agitated.

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Customers can be comforted by being kept informed of how much longer they will wait in line. Basic systems include:

  1. “Take-a-number” tickets
  2. Hard-wired buttons that service personnel use to advance numbers
  3. Flashing indicator lamps to identify open spots

More advanced systems using wireless controls and memory can also help track customer numbers.

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