Queuing system

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Queuing system

Post by adjman on Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:23 pm

There has been some discussion over email regarding queuing systems for when repairers are busy, if people could share ideas here that would be fantastic!
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Re: Queuing system

Post by adjman on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:20 pm

Hello everyone from Manchester Repair Cafe! Possibly soon to be renamed to something more specific. as our city has a new cafe starting this Saturday in Levenshulme - the movement is growing!

We operate a similar system to the one Lucy describes. People are greeted in our reception area, read the rules and sign the declaration. Then they are allocated a 15-minute slot with a repairer. They can then go off and come back later, or are encouraged to hang out and have a cup of tea. We try to have two volunteers on reception so there's always one to be taking visitors over to their repairer while he other stays at the desk. But also so there's someone for people to chat to while they're waiting. This method works well, although the layout of our space probably helps - y's a long thing room, pretty small, so there isn't space for visitors to crowd around repairers.

Our biggest issue was people spending too long with their repairer - lovely that they wanted to chat but not fair on those waiting in line!

Looking forward to chatting more via the forum - it's a really great idea - thank you everyone for starting it, and Adam for setting it up.

Best wishes,
Bryony
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Re: Queuing system

Post by adjman on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:20 pm

At Llandrindod Repair Café we used to have a problem with people standing
right by the repairers' table waiting for their turn. (They would
sometimes refuse to sit down even if a chair was brought over to them,
which is rather off-putting.) We have introduced a very simple and
effective queuing system, which works well. When visitors come in, we get
them to fill in and sign a form that includes the standard disclaimer. A
numbered raffle ticket is stapled to the form. The person at the reception
desk then takes the form and attaches it with masking tape to the wall
behind the repairers' table. The forms will then be taken in numerical
order (unless there is a good reason not to, such as a particular item
needing to be dealt with by a particular person). This works well because
visitors can see that there is a queue and where they are in it.

I should add that we only do this for electrical items: we have a
reasonable number of electrical fixperts (three dedicated ones, and a
couple of people who can do a bit), but electrical items are the majority
of items brought in, so there are generally more items than fixperts.
Other types of repair are generally quicker (sharpening) or there are
fewer of them (textiles, leatherwork, jewellery, woodwork, miscellaneous
fixing). Also, we try to have two people at the reception desk so that one
can step away to put forms in the queue.

Our events are 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. We
used to find that there was a rush when we opened, but now visitors tend
to be spread more evenly. This is probably because we started putting in
the press releases that the start of the café was often very busy but the
later part of the afternoon was quieter.

I agree that we could do with a forum to discuss these things, which would
also act as a more permanent record/useful resource for any other Repair
Cafes that start up in future.

Best wishes,

Lucy
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Re: Queuing system

Post by adjman on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:20 pm

Hi everyone from the Cambridge Repair Cafe Network

Really useful to see what everyone is up to. We have 14 Repair Cafes here in Cambs, with most holding two a year and about 3 or 4 new ones starting each year. This has been brilliant but as things have grown faster than we could have imagined we are now having to review things like forums, capacity building, URLs etc so this thread is useful :0)

RC organisers here all run things in a way that suits them, some use Eventbrite, smaller ones may be drop-in and wait and many use a booking system (using a google form and an email address) and have drop-in and wait too. Our slots tend to be 40 mins as many of the repairs are electronic/electrical. It can sometimes get confusing with different groups waiting so we have a 'booked and waiting' list and a 'drop-in and waiting' list. We find that having a really narrow entry/registration and exit point works really well to ensure people do sign the disclaimer/pick up the feedback form on the way in and give a donation/hand in the feedback form on the way out.

We keep a register of repairers (using Survey Monkey). On that, new repairers express their repair and location preferences - this has been useful for new Repair Cafes as we can then share those details to help the newbies get going. There's been a nice chain reaction effect with one experienced cafe/area supporting a new neighbouring area and so on.

Very best wishes

Nicole
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Re: Queuing system

Post by adjman on Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:22 pm

At Royston Repair Cafe over 95% of our visitors have booked in their
items (via Eventbrite) in advance, so we have their contact details and
we know what repairers to have in attendance. Although we say people have
to book in in advance, we usually get some who show up without booking
and we don't send them away.

We tell people in advance we can't give them a specific appointment time
because we never know whether a fix will take 3 or 30 minutes and it
depends on being able to match the right repairer with the right broken
item. We say 'don't all turn up at the start time, and don't turn up 15
minutes before the finish time'. This works OK because we also warn
people they might have to wait (and the physical space means that while
they wait in the refreshments area they can see repairers are busy with
other people, not just sitting around doing nothing). If they can't be
bothered to wait we politely tell them we're offering a free service and
repairers are giving up their Sunday mornings for free!

But I agree that queuing systems is a tricky one!

Chris
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Re: Queuing system

Post by adjman on Wed May 30, 2018 7:59 pm

We employed a cloakroom ticket system this time round and it seemed to work well, this way people are given a cloakroom/raffle ticket when they sign in and the number is written on the repair form which is delivered to the repairer - then when they reach that number the person can be found by a "runner" who then directs them to the correct repair station to have their repair carried out
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Re: Queuing system

Post by Brymac on Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:33 pm

At Chailey, we book people in using a form/disclaimer and one of our reception team allocates them a number, which is written on a space on the form. The forms are then put in a tray at the relevant work station and the next available repairer picks up the form with the lowest number. Simples....!!!

Bryan

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