Friday, August 20th, 2021 .

One key benefit of using a system like Waitlist Me is the increased customer satisfaction that comes with providing more accurate wait time quotes.  It can be challenging for staff to estimate the wait times correctly, and it can be frustrating for customers when they are told wait times that don’t turn out to be correct.  There are several ways Waitlist Me helps you make smarter wait estimates, and we have recently added new features to the browser version of the service that can be accessed by logging into our website.

Experience has shown that being able to see the actual waits next to the wait estimates helps people improve their wait estimates over time, as it provides a key feedback loop for knowing how accurate estimates are and when they need to be adjusted based on changes in traffic patterns.  

In addition, Waitlist Me has a couple ways for suggesting wait times based on rolling averages and historical wait times.  The rolling average method recalculates estimates every time a party is marked as served and includes settings for how long of a time period to use and how to treat parties of different sizes.  The historical wait method provides suggestions based on daily patterns by using past data for each hour and day of the week.  

In addition to seeing real-time smart suggestions as customers are served, there are graphs that show this data over time and by party size.  These graphs have been available in the tablet versions of the Waitlist Me apps and are now available in the browser version.  Check out this article for more details on the smart wait estimates and graphs.

Saturday, August 14th, 2021 .

The pandemic has changed many aspects of business and everyday life, and the importance of customer convenience is absolutely not going anywhere. Consumers have become used to almost every interaction being as fast, simple, and convenient as possible, and this trend is encompassing every industry in our lives.

Grocery shoppers are still doing curbside pickup, ordering an entire household’s supplies with the tap of a few buttons.

The routine of getting a haircut includes reserving a time slot online at a salon or joining the waitlist at a barbershop.

Getting your car worked on at the dealership can now include them sending you a text when that brake job is done.

Society is quickly learning that this isn’t a fad like the Atkins diet in the early 2000s. This way of doing business is here to stay, and businesses that fail to adapt are simply going to get left behind. Customers are done with wasting away in a lobby or waiting room when they could be relaxing in the café down the street.

Here’s a quick 10 second thought exercise: Let’s say you bring your dog to one of two groomers that are right next to each other in the same strip mall. These groomers are nearly identical, and there is about a one hour service time for both of them. The only difference between the two? One of them has an electronic service that will text you when Fluffy is ready, allowing you to grab a milkshake at your favorite burger joint down the street. The other groomer has a lovely waiting room that offers the luxurious aroma therapy of wet dog scent, and the tranquil sounds of a dozen dogs that very much do not want to be getting a bath. Which would you choose?

Everyone has to wait in life, but not everyone has to wait the same. Processes that were previously mere conveniences have turned into must-have features across many industries, with wait times and crowds being two of the main factors that need to be optimized.

Keeping customers waiting can have a devastating impact on any business. They might spend less, leave a bad review, or walk out your door, never to return. Waitlist Me is an app that keeps customers happier while they wait.

How do we do that, exactly? It’s a breeze. Waitlist Me brings your waitlist from a crowd in your lobby to an easy-to-manage digital interface. Our app makes it simple to see waiting customers at a glance, provide accurate wait estimates that are tracked in real time, and notify customers with a text or automated call message when their table is ready. It also has a number of other features like reservations, table/resource management, and the ability for customers to add themselves from a kiosk, your website, Google, or even a QR code. Letting customers join the list before arriving and skip waiting in the lobby is a great recipe for customer happiness, which can also lead to higher revenues and better reviews.  

Monday, August 9th, 2021 .

For serving customers more effectively, Waitlist Me has a set of features for managing tables across a couple main views.  The floorplan view displays tables as they would appear spatially across one or more rooms with the basic table sizes, shapes, and positioning.  The grid view gives a flexible way to sort and view tables by different dimensions such as section, size, and status.  The views can be used together or independently, depending on business preferences, to track availability and easily know where to seat the next customer.

Previously, the phone versions of our apps only offered a list view of tables, optimized for smaller phone interfaces.  To provide more flexibility in managing customer visits across devices, we have recently added the floorplan view and features to our apps for iPhones and Android phones.  While detailed floorplans can often be more efficiently managed on larger devices like iPads or Android tablets, the phone versions are great for managers that may want to zoom in on a particular area or servers wanting to keep tabs on their sections from their phones.   

Features for setting up and managing sections and layouts are also now available on the phone applications, along with the tools for placing tables, lines, and data elements in the floorplan edit mode.  Check out this page for more information on setting up floorplans.

Monday, June 28th, 2021 .

Want to save time entering customer information when using Square and Waitlist Me together? Our new integration passes basic customer information between the two systems to make serving customers more efficient. For example, when you add a customer to the waitlist or a reservation in Waitlist Me, you can pull it up later in Square when it is time to pay. Or for scenarios where customers pay first or are already in Square, you can look up their information when adding them to Waitlist Me to manage their wait and send notifications when their order is ready. In these and other cases, businesses can save time by not having to add customer info twice.

To get started, in your Waitlist Me app go to the gear icon and select Square Integration. Select On for the Square Authentication option, and you’ll be prompted to enter your Square login information. 

An acceptance page will come up; choose Allow to let Waitlist Me read and modify your customer information. Once you’ve done that, you can then turn on one or both of the next two options. 

Square Customers Search, when enabled, would allow you to search your Square customers in the Waitlist Me app by phone number. Start typing their phone number to see a list of matching names and phone numbers as you type.

The last option lets you add customers to your Square customer database from the Waitlist Me app. Choose Yes to have them all automatically added, or Ask Me to be prompted whether to add customers. 

If you’re using multiple devices, your settings will sync across devices automatically. 

Monday, June 21st, 2021 .

Whether you’re using the Waitlist Me web widget to let customers self-schedule or your team is entering reservations or appointments for customers, there are some optimizations you can make in your settings to get the most out of the scheduling features. 

If you plan to use the widget, on the Waitlist Me website go to Account > Settings > Add Yourself. The Main View section has a feature called Time Increments, which will control how frequently the time selection option shows reservation slots to customers. You can choose every 5, 10, 15, 30 or 60 minutes. (If you haven’t started using your widget yet, also see this page for the basic setup information.)

Click Waitlist at the top to go to the main waitlist page, then click on the settings gear icon and choose Reservations. You can customize the time increments you want displayed on your calendar view and the average time a table or resource is occupied.  Based on these settings you can block out your reservation availability visually in your calendar view.

Choose to show tables as occupied either by how many parties will be arriving in a time block or by how many parties are expected to be currently seated in the time block. The Arrivals option shows the total number of people arriving, with the number of groups in smaller font below if more than one group is arriving in that time block:

The Scheduled option shows the total number of people and groups being served, regardless of when they arrived:

Some settings (including many view settings) are device-specific. These settings for how you prefer to view reservations would also need to be set on tablets you plan to use. In the tablet you can navigate to the calendar and press in any time block to see an additional option on the upper right for changing views.

A Waitlist Me Pro or Platinum subscription offers more controls for scheduling. You can set up party size limits by going to Account > Settings > Add Yourself > Input Fields. Under Size Limits, select reservations, waitlist, or both. Then you’ll see the option for minimums and maximums. There are also more scheduling features available with Business Hours, Display Hours, Scheduling Rules, and Blackout Dates. Please see this page to walk through these features.