A Camberwell woman has found a way to help people avoid long queues caused by social distancing – inspired by her experience as a mother, writes Kit Heren…
Sabrina Benjamin has a young autistic son who finds waiting in queues difficult. But with new social distancing measures in place to help businesses keep staff and customers safe, long lines are already more commonplace. People have even queued for up to three hours to get a haircut, according to reports.
To get around this, Ms Benjamin built an app to help customers book places in advance. Q Manager keeps track of all a customer’s bookings for various businesses over three weeks.
She said: “I worked in retail for several years and I’ve been concerned that many shops and small businesses could struggle as people might be put off by the thought of queuing for a long time. The app is supposed to be a way of dealing with that and making life easier for businesses and customers.”
Asked whether this could lead to people booking spaces in a barber, for example, and then deciding not to meet the appointment, Ms Benjamin said: “Yes of course we’ve thought about that, like in a restaurant for example. But because you give your email address and phone number, the business can contact you to follow up.”
When questioned about the possibility that people might be uncomfortable handing over contact details and being contacted by local businesses, Ms Benjamin said that businesses are only supposed to get in touch regarding bookings and any unwelcome calls could be reported. The app is in line with data protection rules, she added.
Because Q Manager holds bookings for three weeks, it can also help people and businesses stay compliant with the government coronavirus contact tracing scheme, Ms Benjamin said. For example if someone has been in a barber with someone else who has tested positive, the business can easily contact them to let them know.
Q Manager costs £29.99 per month for businesses and is free for customers. The app launched recently and just two businesses are using it so far. But several other larger companies are considering joining too, Ms Benjamin said.
She added: “The greatest thing that you can give people is time, and the reality is, people are tired of wasting hours in long queues. Queue management apps are the future.”