If long queues are testing your patience, this startup might be the answer to your woes.

Ajay Madhukar  |  Singapore
Published 2015-07-31 15:04:29

Imagine this familiar scenario—walking up to a counter at a post office or a customer service center, getting a token for the service you need, and then just waiting in line with the rest of the crowd. Most of the time, you just have to wait without the knowledge of when you’ll get your turn. Sometimes, the wait may only take 5 minutes, and at times your painful wait may be up to a period of 3 hours.

Apple is one powerful brand that can initiate the longest queues. Here people are lining up for the iPhone 5s at SS2. (Image Credit: The Star)
Apple is one powerful brand that can initiate the longest queues. Here people are lining up for the iPhone 5s at SS2. (Image Credit: The Star)

The Birth Of Qtix

Well, we weren’t the only ones getting our patience tested. Three young minds, Hanif, Ellyas and J isheng also stumbled upon the same problem and they felt they were called towards action.

“We don’t mind waiting, our problem is that we can’t estimate what time our number will be called, and we are afraid that we will miss our number. Imagine sitting on the chair, observing the screen, waiting for your number, and not going to the toilet for more than 3 hours because you’re afraid of missing the number,” the team said.

Both Hanif and Ellyas had numerous complaint sessions and they eventually came up with the idea for Qtix a year ago. As luck would have it, they met Singaporean angel investor Anne Cheng at a competition called MAD-SUN Pitching Challenge organised by StartupNation Singapore. Anne Cheng gladly offered her help and the pair later approached their college buddy (they were still students), Ji Sheng with the hope that he’d join their team of two. And he did!

The team came up with Qtix, a mobile integrated queue management system that enables users to get their queuing number, they will be able to keep track of the current and next number being served and they will also be able to know the estimated time of their turn.

Image Credit: TechInAsia
Image Credit: TechInAsia

“We took quite a while to develop the app, around 9 months. During that time, we were not familiar with the concept of validation, which is building what the customer wants.”

“This stalled our process as we ended up building what we wanted. As a business, we need to fulfill the customer’s needs and we learnt it the hard way. We pivoted the concept of Qtix for a few times and we ended up coming up with a ‘just nice for everyone’ system. “

“We owe a big gratitude to Anne Cheng, for guiding us and helping us along the way. Currently we are still acquiring customers in making Qtix a reality, we need to have everything, such as the system integration in place. We got mixed reviews from our customers, but we would say that having the edge of helping them improve their customer service, the overall reaction is positive. Currently we haven’t officially launch Qtix, but 2015 will be a good year to launch it,” the team said.

The Young Brains Behind Qtix

Qtix’s team is currently made up of the “Cool-5”. Hanif Marzuki (21) handles the business end of things, Muhammad Ellyas (21) handles the finances,Tan Ji Sheng (21) is the team’s developer, Sanjevi (19) handles the UI/UX and Guruballan (19) is the team designer. It’s important to note that all of them are still studying in Multimedia University at Cyberjaya, except for Eilyas who is studying at UniRazak.

Hanif and Ellyas have known each other since high school and they been navigating the world of entrepreneurship together.

Image Credit: Qtix
Image Credit: Qtix

“We printed T-shirts for the club and societies in high school, which is a boarding school. After SPM, we started a website called thehardlead.com, a website similar to Vulcan Post, but we failed miserably. We realise, we failed because the lack of market research, lack of content and lack of knowledge in terms of SEOs and other important components for a website.”

“We continued our entrepreneurship journey and founded TableTalk Resources, a talent management and branding Consultant Company. What we mean by talent management is that we supply university students to the industry by demand.”

Ji Sheng on the other hand is a developer with an entrepreneurial spirit who frequently used to attend inspirational talks. Sanjevi started programming at the age of 13, building apps like an unofficial app to read MalaysiaKini, among others. Along with Guruballan, they started TaskTick but they are currently putting their ideas on hold for Qtix.

Is It Really That Big Of An Improvement?

“Using Qtix, we will make your queuing more efficient. By downloading the app, you’ll get the estimated time of the start of your service, so during the waiting time, you’ll have a chance to do other errands.”

“Furthermore, you’ll get other important info such as which service centre is more relevant to perform your service and how many people is queuing at that service center. For example, if you want to renew your license, you can either do it at JPJ or at the post office. We’ll give you the best options.”

“We always say that Qtix will not make the queuing faster, it will only make your queuing more efficient. Efficiency is actually a subjective thing. It depends on the user. If the user, using Qtix, just sits around and watches the screen available at the service centre, the situation will be the same as if he were to take a queuing ticket from the printing machine,” the team added.

Image Credit: Qtix
Image Credit: Qtix

Every time I visit the post office, a common issue is that when a person’s number is called, that person is nowhere to be found. And then time is wasted as the number is called multiple times before moving on to the next one.

Fortunately, Qtix has a solution for this issue as well.

Hanif said, “The user’s ticket is only valid within a 100m radius from the service centre. If you take a ticket and go out of range, the server will be notified and your number will not be called. So your number will be skipped till the moment you come back to the service center. We’ll issue you a new estimated time, just adding 1 or 2 numbers in front of you to stall the time, depending on your distance.”

Will It Work In Malaysia?

That’s a question that most startups need to figure out when they embark on their journey. I asked Hanif about his perception about the Malaysian market and he optimistically said, “For Qtix, our market focus is the customer service market, which is more than $100 mil in Malaysia. It’s a big chunk of value considering the number of banks and other service centre which in dire need of a smarter queuing. We predict that we can grow fast, considering two factors.”

“We can secure a deal with most of the big players that have a service centre and we can acquire a large volume of users to use the app. We are positive that we can fulfill the factors as currently, we are one of the few Malaysian startups who are in the MaGIC accelerator program, which will help us to open up doors to the market, local and regional; and fundings.”

They also work alongside their investor, Startup Nation Singapore in the areas of tech development and their investor has also provided them with guidance during growth.

Image Credit: Qtix
Image Credit: Qtix

“The app will be ready for download as soon as we finalise our clients, which is soon. And we are leveraging our client to increase the download quantity. In terms of growth, we hope to penetrate the market by this year and continue our market domination plan from there,” the team said.

Verdict: 3/5

startup rating starstartup rating starstartup rating star

Qtix is currently finalising things with their clients to provide value to the users to change the way we behave in queues. They are working with key partners like MaGIC and SUN to guide them in terms of business strategy and market penetration. However, as an enterprise startup, I can only imagine the number of hoops they have to go through in terms of testing the app and ensuring that they meet the needs and regulations of their larger clients. Let’s also not forget that they need a relatively large volume of users to make Qtix a success.

The Qtix app is going head to head with the legacy system that we often see at banks. The app is looking to replace that system but I don’t see that happening—at least not just yet. Companies in the service industry have to cater to a wide range of people and they also need to cater to people that either don’t use smartphones (yes, they are there) and also to people that either don’t have the app downloaded onto their phones or are unwilling to download the app.

In my opinion, I think it would be a waste of resources to have two types of systems running on the same premise. A possible way around things would obviously be to merge both Qtix and the legacy system together, so that it can be of use to all customers. Then, Qtix will be able to maximise its influence and change the way we queue.

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