Our Queue Management System Helped Johnstone Supply Co. End the Line for Customers



Johnstone Supply is a HVAC and commercial refrigeration wholesaler serving primarily contractors, with over 440 stores across the United States and Canada. 

The company is the top cooperative wholesale distributor in the country and a recognized national leader in the HVACR industry. As a result, their management teams must be wise when adopting new ideas to maximize performance and improve the customer experience.


As individual locations try new techniques, other stores are likely to follow suit, creating a domino effect when a new method works.


  • 440 locations with different needs.


  • Customers went strait to the queue instead of browsing the store.


  • After QLess was implemented, management saw improvement immediately, and continued to see improvement over time. 

The Johnstone Supply location in Salt Lake City has been a QLess customer since May 2013. Despite getting a lot of walk-in business from HVAC and construction professionals, customers often neglected to browse the store’s 1,500 square foot showroom because they wanted to secure their place in line.

To address this issue, store manager Jake Bishop sought a solution beyond outdated take-a-number systems. While researching virtual queuing solutions, Bishop found QLess.

“We’ve seen a 10% increase in year-over-year returns in terms of dollars per invoice since deploying QLess." 

— Jake Bishop, Store Manager at Johnstone Supply

After a swift and smooth implementation process, Johnstone customers are deeply attached to the QLess system, which not only makes shopping easier and less stressful, but also provides invaluable data for the company to use.


When his branch of Johnstone Supply needed a remodel, Jake Bishop and company, “pumped over $100,000 into updating our showroom, offering a strategic new layout of items.” In spite of these improvements, staff found that this upgrade and store rearrangement was not accomplishing what they had hoped in terms of sales revenue.

Customers would ignore the well-crafted displays and chances to browse the showroom by rushing to the service line and waiting their turn to be helped. Instead of an inviting and profitable showroom, Johnstone Supply of Salt Lake City had a very expensive waiting room.


Because the showroom used a physical queue, customers who left the line to look at new products would lose their place and waste more time waiting. If Bishop and his coworkers didn’t find a solution quickly, their expensive remodel would have gone to waste.

“We asked customers why they weren’t browsing the updated showroom,” said Bishop, “and learned that they didn’t look around because they didn’t want to lose their place in line.”


— Jake Bishop


Bishop knew immediately that he, “didn’t want to offer an outdated take-a-number system.” These sadly ubiquitous ticket machines do nothing to predict actual wait times, encouraging walkaways and offering staff no real aid in anticipating customer needs, all while wasting paper. 

“I wanted something more, something personal and automated.”


— Jake Bishop

Bishop searched for virtual queue options where his, “customers could wait in a virtual line and continue to browse the showroom.” Luckily, his search began and ended with QLess. “QLess was exactly what we were looking for.” After a demonstration of the QLess platform, he signed up immediately, not needing to evaluate any other systems.

The installation process with rapid and easy, immediately saving customers time and helping the Johnstone Supply staff see their expensive showroom start paying dividends. Once signed into the QLess system either remotely or from an in-store kiosk, customers receive wait time updates on their mobile device and are able to move freely including within the store to check out the new displays and make more purchases.


With QLess, Bishop and his coworkers have noticed a substantial trend toward improved business. “We’ve seen a 10% increase in year-over-year returns in terms of dollars per invoice since deploying QLess,” said Bishop.

QLess also helps Johnstone Supply improve its own performance as much as it set customers free to browse. By tracking actual wait times, QLess helps monitor and improve the staff’s ability to quickly and efficiently service customers.

“I like to know what the target is and what the actual result is,” said Bishop. “QLess offers the ability to measure and track that data as well as improve upon wait times, so I put a scorecard out every single day to encourage staff to beat the daily targets.”


— Jake Bishop

Likewise, QLess virtual queues allows employees to know whose turn is approaching and the purpose of the visit, helping to prepare for each customer more thoroughly and personally – not to mention keeping queues clear and giving customers time to browse.

“Customers like that they can roam freely. When you're standing in line, 2 minutes can feel like a long time. Now that customers are not confined to the waiting area, they can browse the store, add items to their purchase, get a donut, peruse our catalog. Since the time spent waiting is productive and satisfying, less time is wasted standing around. With QLess, time in line feels faster."

A lengthy queue can put clients on edge and keep them from enjoying their in-store experience. Even the best customer service can’t help walkaways who leave before they even speak to a representative. Johnstone supply locations have begun utilizing QLess as their queue management software. With a fully digitized queue system, clients can peruse the high-end showroom without being trapped in line.

This QLess merchant indicated that the large investment in a brand new showroom was going to waste. Clients were more preoccupied with not losing their place in line. With QLess’s innovative software, clients can register digitally via their phone or an on-site kiosk. They can then browse at their leisure until they are notified it is their turn in line.

With this new streamlined process, Johnstone Supply locations are seeing a rise in sales, as well as client satisfaction. Without long wait times, visitors can take advantage of the world-class customer service without wasting time waiting in the queue. The Johnstone Supply staff can see this radical change due to QLess client behavior analytics. In addition to a fully digitized queue, Johnstone Supply has access to QLess’s data about walkaways and wait times.

QLess restructures and manages queues to vastly increase profitability and efficiency, and the results can be shown in the data. Integrating it into the Johnstone Supply locations workflow was simple and fast. With barely any time needed to adjust to the new system, QLess promises a seamless transition that begins to optimize immediately.

Efficiency improves, causing customer service and reputation to improve. This all leads to an increase in profits and new leads on clientele. For QLess merchant Johnstone supply, the management system provided the much-needed solution to their long queues. Clients can now focus on the experience, space, and the friendly staff rather than being bogged down by time-consuming queues.

Empower your customers to wait wherever they want with QLess.