Research grants in the US must be pretty easy to come by.
Sanford University has just completed research, commissioned by Wells Fargo, on how to keep bank queues short. The research used some fairly advanced calculations and computer simulations, which has produced some interesting results, however we would question the overall usefulness.
While the most obvious way to shorten queues is to introduce more ATM’s, branches and hire more staff, there are obviously cost considerations there.
We often mention the merits of alternative banking patterns, like Internet or phone banking, so perhaps education of customers would be a factor, which should be included in any calculations, but from the information available this does not seem to have happened.
A snapshot of some of the results show that if an ATM is utilised 80% of the time then the average queue length would be 3.2 people, for 90%, the queue length is 8.1 people, for 100% the queue length would be infinite. We can’t quite follow the last result, as there are a finite number of people, so how could the queue have an infinite number in it, a point worth pondering.
If the last result is possible, then I would hope never to find that ATM, although I think I’ve gone close on occasion!