Thursday, March 24th, 2016 .

Waitlist Me has a couple options for allowing customers to add themselves to the waitlist and reservations.  It also offers variety of ways to customize the process to the needs of different businesses.

A few months ago we released a web widget that businesses can easily add to their websites.  Many businesses told us how much they liked the new widget.  As part of the feedback we received, we found ways we could make implementing and using the new widget even simpler, and we added an option to use the widget on a hosted page.

The new widget page allows businesses to just link to their unique URL from a website, blog, email, or whatever.  The widget page is easier for less tech savvy businesses, and there is no need to involve a web developer to make sure it is added correctly to the website.

The widget page is also especially well-suited for businesses that allow people to add themselves to the list when they arrive at the business.  All you have to do is put the URL into the browser of any tablet and you have your own check-in station.  By setting the widget option to only show the “Add Yourself” screen, and not the estimated wait you might show on a website, it simplifies the page even further. You can also add custom instructions and images to the bottom of the page for more clarity.

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When asking customers to enter themselves, the simpler you make the interface, the less chances there are for mistakes and frustration.  The hosted widget page makes it easy for your customers to add themselves, which makes it easier for you.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 .

We are happy to announce the opening of a new headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina.  Waitlist Me started in the Silicon Valley by former Google employees as NoshList, a popular restaurant app, and expanded to serve businesses across multiple industries.  As part of the company’s aggressive growth plans, Waitlist Me considered a wide range of options and was attracted to Charleston for a number of reasons.

“Charleston is a true hidden gem for tech start ups,” said Brian Hutchins, Waitlist Me CEO, “When you consider the beauty of the area and all the things the city has to offer, it is hard to beat the quality of life, and that is a key strategic advantage in attracting and retaining top talent.  Furthermore, smart investments made in infrastructure and programs to support business innovation are starting to pay dividends in Charleston, and the local tech economy is evolving rapidly. Waitlist Me has an office at the Charleston Digital Corridor, is part of the Harbor’s Propel accelerator program, and will be exhibiting at the DigSouth.  These are a few examples of very valuable initiatives that have come into their own relatively recently.”

To celebrate the occasion, the company will be giving away a free year of its Premium service to ten Charleston businesses that need it most, based on suggestions from locals.  The offer is designed to raise awareness around how technology can improve wait experiences in Charleston.  It also opens up ways for the broader community to engage and share ideas.  Many businesses are still struggling by using paper or clunky buzzer systems, and don’t realize there are better ways to manage their waits.  People that visit these places feel the pain though.  Nominating a business for the prizes is as simple as visiting www.waitlist.me/charleston and sharing a business name and experience that could be improved.

Charleston is well known for its hospitality, and Waitlist Me is tool local businesses can use to help offer the exceptional level service that makes it a top tourist destination as well as a great place to live.  Instead of just standing around bored or frustrated, waiting customers could take a nice stroll, experience more of the city, shop, and more.  It’s a win-win for everyone, and we are hoping people will help us spread the word.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 .

Building on the set of resource management features we rolled out a couple months ago, we have added more flexibility for creating and tracking custom resource statuses. These statuses can be used to visually highlight different stages of your occupied resources in different colors to help make assignment decisions faster and easier.

Here is a new video on resource management, including the new custom statuses:

 

 

For example, say you are managing restaurant tables and using Waitlist Me to view what tables are available or occupied. You can sort tables by the times they have been occupied for a better sense of which ones will become available first. Now with custom statuses you could improve on those estimates even more by changing the states of tables that are waiting for their bill or being cleaned. Marking tables with customers waiting for their checks as “billing” can give your bus boys a heads up on which tables would need cleaning soon. Similarly, you can change the status of tables to “cleaning” when they are being cleared and prepped. Using more detailed statuses can help your staff at the front of the house know what tables will be available soon, which means they can quote better wait time estimates and seat customers faster. This means more revenue for the restaurant through more table turns and improved customer satisfaction.

This is just one example of how it might work in a restaurant, but the flexibility of the naming and usage of statuses means they can be tailored to different processes in different businesses.

To change a status in Waitlist Me, all you have to do is press on the resource and an action bar will appear at the bottom of the screen. This area shows information on customers currently occupying and waiting for the resource, and has actions for moving and clearing customers. Pressing on the status on the left will bring up a list of statuses, and selecting one will change the status and color of the resource. In the list view, just tap on the status color to change it.

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Note that when you choose a custom status you can see both the total time a resource has been occupied as well as the time spent in the current status, which is shown in parenthesis. This makes it easy to see total visit times and times in specific statuses at a glance, so you can tell if a certain stage is causing more delays than others and how that might be affecting total wait times.

Accompanying the custom statuses are a couple of new sorting options in the Grid view, where you can view your resources grouped by Status. Select “Status the ABC” to have all the statuses grouped together and then ordered alphabetically by the resource name or “Status then Time” to have them ordered by the length of time they have been in that particular status.

To customize your statuses, go to your Settings and then press on “Manage Resources” and then again on the “Statuses” in the upper right. In addition to the default “available” (green) and “occupied” (red) statuses, you can add four of your own statuses. Just add the names and move the sliders on the right to turn them on or off. Statuses will show alphabetically in the options when you select them, so you can set the naming accordingly. The green and red statuses for available and occupied resources are always required, and custom statuses are treated as states of an occupied resource.

status - settings

 

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 .

We are happy to announce a number of new resource management features that extend the power of Waitlist Me through the whole customer visit, from checking in to leaving. Whether you assign customers to tables, staff, or other resources, you can serve them better by effectively tracking and managing the assignments with Waitlist Me.  By using a dynamic representation of resources, Waitlist Me simplifies the amount of data needed in different scenarios, so you can make smarter decisions faster.  Here are the details of how it works:

Assigning Customers

Customers can be assigned to one or more resources upon arrival or while waiting.  When choosing assignments, any available resources will show at the top of the list in alphabetical order with a green status.  Resources that are already assigned will have a red status and be sorted in order of how long they have been taken.  So when things get busy you can see what is available or coming available soon much faster, since they will be at the top of the list.

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If a customer is already assigned to a resource from the waitlist or as a reservation, the estimated serving time for that customer will show along with any notes that were added.  Businesses that serve groups of customers can also define resource sizes and view those sizes in the status areas. For example a restaurant hostess seating a party could scan for open table sizes that would seat six or for smaller tables that could be combined.

Assignments – Grid View

The Assignment Grid view provides an intuitive way to get key information on assignments and availability at a glance.  It also has several options for changing the sort order and levels of information displayed.

grid view

 

 

At the simplest level, the colors of the boxes show whether the resource is available or not, so it is easy to do a quick scan and find ones that are open.  Across the bottom of the boxes are the resource sizes and time counters when it is in use.  Depending your preferences and goals the resources can be sorted in a couple ways:

ABC – Sorts alphabetically by name
Time – Shows available resources first and then taken resources by how long they have been in use
Size then ABC – Groups by resource sizes first and then alphabetically
Size then Time – Groups by sizes first, then ones that are open, and then ones in use the longest

The Grid view also has a control for changing the size of the boxes and amount of details displayed. For places with higher number of resources, the small size may work best to avoid scrolling, whereas for places with fewer resources the large or medium size might work better.  The smallest size has all the main information, including the resource names, sizes, time occupied, and estimated times for upcoming customers.  The medium size will also show the names for the customers scheduled and currently assigned to the resource, and the larger size will show any notes on these customers.

Assignments – List view

There is an option for seeing assignments in a list format.  Just press the toggle in the upper right of the Assignment area to switch between Grid and List views.  The resources in the list view are sorted to show available resources at the top and ones that have been taken the longest after that.  In both the assignment views, selecting the assignment gives the option to clear the resource, and more options will be coming soon.

list view

 

Assignments are integrated with the waitlist so that when a customer that has been assigned a resource is checked off the waitlist, that resource will automatically switch to taken in the assignment view.  If a customer was using that resource it will switch them with the new customer without any additional steps.

Assignment Analytics

The more you use Waitlist Me to manage assignments, the more data you will have on how well you are managing your resources, and there are a number of new downloadable reports that can be run in the Analytics section of the Waitlist Me site.  Look for trends over time with the Assignment Overview, do deeper analysis with the more detailed data in the Assignment Logs, and see results split out by assignments and sizes in other reports.

Settings

Resources can be set up in the app settings as well as the online settings.  Add and edit the resources you need and set the size for each resource.  There is an option to require an assignment when adding the customer to the list so you don’t forget.  You can also switch back to the simple resource entry method if you like.

The new resource management features are part of Waitlist Me Pro, which has unlimited usage and all the other features for an introductory price of $39.99.  More feature will be coming soon, so lock in the low rate now, and keep it when the price goes up for others!

Friday, October 30th, 2015 .

Looking for an easier way to take reservations?  Waitlist Me has a new feature for customers to schedule reservations (or appointments) from your website, and it as easy as adding a link or line of code to set up.

You don’t need to set up any complicated rules for how many reservations are available at what times, as reservation requests will come to you for quick approvals within the Waitlist Me app.  You’ll receive a notification alert so you know when to check, and reservation requests will be highlighted at the top of your main waitlist page as well as on the daily reservation views.

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When you approve a request in the app, the customer automatically gets a confirmation text with their time, and the request becomes a confirmed reservation and appears in the reservations area of Waitlist Me.  If you decline it, the customer receives a text notifying them that it could not be scheduled.

The new remote reservation feature builds on the previous remote adding functionality for waitlists, so now businesses can choose between options of allowing customers to add themselves to the waitlist, schedule reservations, or both.

To enable the feature, log into Waitlist Me, go to the Settings area, and then choose to customize the Public Waitlist Page.  From there you can turn on remote reservations and customize things like the information you require from customers, whether you’d like to skip the approval step to have them automatically scheduled, and more.

Here is how the Settings look:

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The Public Waitlist is one are where customers can see the Make Reservation option.

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And when they press on that it will allow them to enter their info and requested reservation time.

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Another option is to use the Widget on your own website.  Here is an example of how that looks and you can customize the look and feel of the web widget in the Waitlist Me settings.

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