Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 .

It’s a retailer’s dream to boast a line long enough to wrap around a city block. A lot of the promos and products you dream up might even be designed to attract these 6-o’clock-news-worthy waits. Think: Black Friday doorbusters, innovative croissant-donut hybrids, and once-in-a-lifetime bear-stuffing deals.

But the reality? Well, it’s not as dreamy as it seems. In fact, it’s kind of nightmare. The history of long lines is plagued with stampedes, riots, and heat stroke victims. Yikes!

And that’s just for the people who join those long lines. For every customer that’s willing to wait, there are tens to hundreds that won’t be. Think about it this way: What would you wait hours for? What would make you want to camp out on a sidewalk?

If you did it at all, it would have to be for something truly incredible. A dinner at a new-to-the-neighborhood restaurant? Not likely. A shopping spree at a boutique? No way. An after-work drink? Forget it. A pilates class? Never.

How a long line hurts your business

A long line might get you a few dozen customers who are willing to wait in exchange for a first look or a door prize. But at what expense? That line might stretch wayyy down the street, but when hundreds of other passersby see it, they’re going to think that your business is the last place they want to be.

Sure, they might stop and ask what the line is for. Sure, they might talk about your establishment. Most of that conversation may be negative, though. Many of those on-lookers are going to be saying, “Some people waited 3 hours for a burger. How dumb is that?!” rather than: “The line for the best burger in town was 3 hours long yesterday. I’m going to go get one tonight!”

The truth is that long lines alienate customers. They dissuade people from giving you a chance. Potential customers have long memories. They will remember one or two long wait times, and forever associate you with inconvenience. Those customers are going to go somewhere else.

Why? Because…

* They don’t want to hop on the next-cool-thing bandwagon. Some customers instinctually rebel against hype. They’ll opt for a just-as-good competitor, instead. And because they didn’t have to wait, they’ll perceive your rival as being better than you are simply due to that lack of a long line.

* They’re worried the customer service stinks. Long lines can indicate efficiency problems. Guests encounter them and assume that someone at the front is lollygagging or that you’re understaffed. That’s ding No.-1 against your reputation for a top-notch guest experience.

* They aren’t interested in hanging out in a crowd. Some folks love feeling like sardines packed in a tin, but most don’t. A crowded business creates unnecessary pressure on the customer to hurry through their experience, regardless of whether they’re shopping, eating, or doing something else.

* They’re concerned something is wrong. Have you run out of the product you’re running a promo for? Are the cash registers down? Are you understaffed? Is this whole waiting-in-a-crazy-long-line thing all going to be for naught? Cue customer anxiety.

A better alternative

It is great when you have something everyone wants, but you don’t have to make them suffer in a long crazy line to get it. Waitlist Me makes it easy to manage a line virtually rather than physically. Add people to your waitlist so they know they have a spot in line and have visibility into the wait process, while allowing them the flexibility to walk around or do something else while they wait. Then simply press a button to notify them with a text message when it is their term. It is simple, and effective.

 

 

Thursday, November 1st, 2018 .

Want to improve your queue? Whether you’re looking to shorten lines or lose fewer customers, you need the science behind waiting to be on your side.

Luckily, there’s an expert for that.

His name is Richard Larson, although he also goes by “Dr. Queue.” Larson is recognized world-wide for his research on queuing theory—and before you ask, yes, that’s a real thing. He’s one of the handful of scientists who look forward to the hour-long lines as amusement parks rather than the rides themselves.

Dr. Queue wiles away wait times by puzzling over what makes waiters content to queue. Larson explores what kinds of waiting environments keep customers happiest, what systems best manage traffic flow, and what causes queuers to bail rather than wait out a long line.

We designed Waitlist Me with queue theory in mind. Take a look at how you can use our app alongside the psychology of waiting to make your customers happier.

Distractions make waits appear shorter

You know the old saying, “a watched pot never boils”? It’s not quite true. The pot always boils; it just seems like it takes longer when you’re staring at it. The same can be said for any sort of wait. It’s why doctor’s offices invest in magazines and restaurants let you hang out at the bar.

Whether you manage an eatery, a store, an office, or a gym, Waitlist Me lets you notify customers when they reach the front of the line. Our text notification feature sets your queuers free, allowing them to find their own distractions until you’re ready for them.

Anticipation improves customer satisfaction

Is the food at a four-star restaurant better than the food at a neighborhood pub? Maybe. But built in to that four-star restaurant’s rating is the anticipation. Whether they’ve been awaiting their reservation or reading review after review, customers are already primed to enjoy their dining experience.

With our public waitlist feature, Waitlist Me lets you keep your diners salivating even if the bread basket is 20 minutes out of reach. You can sync the public waitlist to a TV in your waiting area and include enticing photos and videos along with daily specials.

Managing wait-time expectations leads to happier guests

Calling the cable company has gotten less painful over the last few years, yet we dread doing it. Why? Because we still remember the interminable minutes of hold music with no end in sight. The waits might still be long, but they’re much less tedious now because the companies let you know how many people are in line ahead of you.

Guests want to see a finish line no matter where or when they’re waiting. Waitlist Me’s wait time estimates and comparisons of actual and quote times help hosts and receptionists quote accurate wait times based on real-world data. And, after customers are added to the waitlist, they can check their place in line right from their smartphone.

Social fairness limits anxiety and stress among queuers

The first to arrive in line should be the first served—that’s social fairness. While it’s nice in principle, it doesn’t always make sense for businesses. Sometimes, a two-top that just walked in the door of a restaurant can be seated before a party of four that’s been waiting for 30 minutes.

Waitlist Me offer the appearance of social fairness that guests are looking for. Because our features free your customers from your waiting area, no one’s the wiser about which guest has been queuing the longest.

Thursday, October 25th, 2018 .

If you listen to the internet’s many critics, millennials are self-obsessed complainers with a penchant for arrogance, an aversion to risk, and some serious Peter Pan Syndrome.

They also eat out five times a week, are looking to make big purchases, and prioritize investments in their mental health and physical fitness. Their spending power is estimated at $3.39 trillion. By 2020, they’ll be the ones paying for one-third of the world’s goods and services.

Millennials are increasingly becoming the customers you need to know inside and out. Who are they? How do they spend their money? What do they want?

Let’s take a closer look.

Who is the millennial customer?

Most people who consider themselves to be “young adults” fit into the millennial category. They were born between the early 1980s and the turn of the century (the generation’s end date waffles between the mid-nineties and the early 2000s, depending on who you ask). Today, millennials range in age from about 16 to 36. They are just now coming into their own as college graduates, young professionals, married homeowners, and parents.

Millennials make up the majority of the workforce in the United States. By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce world-wide will be made up of this one generation. The world is their oyster, and their wallets are open.

How do millennials spend their money?

Millennials pay more for brands and experiences—if the business in question offers them some sort of added benefit. That could mean more convenience, an alignment of their personal values, a better user experience, or greater perceived value.

They’re also incredibly loyal. Once they find a brand they love, whether it’s a store, a restaurant, a hotel, a gym, a salon, literally anything, they’ll stick with it. And, thanks to their penchant for social media, they’ll spread the word. With millennials on your side, referral business can become your new best friend.

What do millennials want?

This generation grew up as the internet was finding its legs. The oldest millennials were computer-savvy before Google was a thing, while the youngest can’t remember a world without YouTube. They’re gamers, emailers, texters, and content-consumers—and they expect the rest of the world to keep up with them.

What does that mean for you?

Eliminate the wait

For millennials, on-demand everything is the norm. A long waiting list is a major drawback. A long line? For those not enticed by hype or the cool-factor, long lines mean finding the next best thing: your nearest competitor.

Waitlist Me shortens lines and makes them invisible to new customers. The app lets you accurately estimate wait times and track your business’ resources, which can help you become more efficient over time. It also frees customers from your waiting area. This gives the illusion of shorter wait times, which makes more people want to stick around.

Be available on your customers’ terms

With the internet comes 24/7/365 availability. Does your small business need to be open all the time, every day of the year? Absolutely not! But to win over a millennial crowd, you need to create a digital presence that is open to customers around the clock.

We make it easy to do just that. Waitlist Me offers an add-yourself widget, which you can easily include on your business’ website. The widget lets customers add themselves to your waitlist, reservations, or appointment schedule from wherever they are. You can also display black-out days, specials, and more.

Go mobile

Just because a millennial doesn’t leave home without a smartphone doesn’t mean they want to dial your number and speak to you one-on-one. This generation infinitely prefers texting over phone calls.

That’s why Waitlist Me built text message notifications directly into the platform. Forget about hollering out names in a crowded vestibule or passing out buzzing pagers. With a single gesture, you can send a message directly to the party next in line. Your guest will get the message on their phone instantly, wherever they are, just the way they like it.

Thursday, October 18th, 2018 .

Don’t let Amazon’s billion-dollar bank account make you close up shop. Sure, ecommerce is gaining traction, but that doesn’t mean retail is dead. Far from it!

It’s time for a retail revolution. It’s time for boutiques, mom-and-pop shops, and big-box stores alike to delve deep into the one frontier ecommerce institutions can’t touch: one-one-one customer service. Make it your No.-1 selling point, and you’ll turn walk-ins into loyal customers, and loyal customers into raving fans.

Keep reading for our best tips on how to improve your retail store’s customer service today with a little help from Waitlist Me, a waitlist and appointment app.

Ax the long check-out line (and turn returns into exchanges)

As the holiday season comes into view, we can look forward to swelling lines and swelling tempers. Instead of forcing customers into wait in endless serpentines or a series of parallel lines, try using a waitlist. When customers leave fitting rooms or start heading toward the register, add them to the list. While they wait, let them wander…and maybe add another item or two to their basket.

Set customers free from dressing room lines

What’s worse than a long line? Easy: waiting in one with hangers digging into your forearm. For those shoppers who know they’re going to try on a closet’s worth of clothes, Waitlist Me’s kiosk mode makes it a cinch for them to hop on line for a dressing room as they rifle through your clothing racks. A fitting room attendant can call them over (or text them!) when they make it to the front of the line.

Offer appointments for special shopping trips

Whether they’re hunting for 52-inch HDTVs or formal dresses, there are all sorts of different occasions where shoppers walk into stores looking for assistance. Using a simple appointment system, like the one built in to Waitlist Me, allows these customers to arrive knowing that they’re going to get VIP treatment from a sales associate who can help them find whatever it is they want to open their wallets for.

Transform complaints into kudos

When there’s only one manager on the floor to handle everything from returns to complaints about that one employee who’s having a bad day, everyone feels frustrated. A waitlist is a simple solution to keep guests happy and staffers on their A-game, and thanks to Waitlist Me’s multi-device sync feature, every employee has access to it. It makes for a smooth customer service experience (and far fewer ruffled feathers).

Create a complementary personal shopper service

Personal shopping isn’t just for jet-setters! Any retailer, from luxe boutiques to thrift stores, can bring superior service to every single customer who wants it, simply by giving them the option. Waitlist Me offers a same-day reservations feature. Shoppers can book a time that works for them and leave a note with what they’re looking for, and you can staff up (and set aside a dressing room) accordingly.

Monday, October 15th, 2018 .

Did you know there’s a way to make the world better—to make your community better—just by giving your restaurant a tiny upgrade? We’re talking about making your business more accessible and welcoming for guests with a variety of needs and abilities.

The best part is you can started today, right here and right now, with a few minutes of your time. Here’s how a simple app called Waitlist Me can help you upgrade your restaurant’s accessibility, no contractors necessary.

Let customers wait where they’re most comfortable

Some guests need more space. Others need a comfortable place to sit or room to walk or air conditioning. When your restaurant is jammed with customers jockeying for waiting space, you don’t leave them with many options.

Waitlist Me changes that. The app sets customers free from whatever space you’ve set aside for your queue. They can relax in the car, they can explore the area, or they can kill time in a more comfortable environment—all without losing their place in line.

Notify waiting guests by text

We’ve all been there: standing in a too-loud vestibule wondering if there’s a better way to get guests’ attention without shouting, relying on vibrating devices, or requiring them to crowd around the hostess stand.

It turns out there is. Waitlist Me lets you send customers a text when their table is ready. That means they can get the word ASAP in a way that works best for them.

Allow guests to make reservations (or join the waitlist) online

Speaking on the phone doesn’t work well for everyone, which is why it is important to have simple options for guests to add themselves to the waitlist or send reservation requests online. That way, all your customers can jump on line from wherever they are, regardless of their abilities.

The add yourself web widget is one more feature that makes life easier for everyone. It’s simple to pop it on to your website and allow your customers to send requests from their computer or phone. Then you just approve them in the Waitlist Me app when they pop up.

Keep track of every customer request

Anyone with special needs, from wheelchair-accessible seating to dietary restrictions, gets to used to repeating themselves. However, just because it’s the norm doesn’t mean it’s not a hassle. Impress these customers with your ability to asks once and remember always with Waitlist Me’s notes feature.

It’s simple for your host to access and add details to, and because the app can sync to multiple devices, employees who are preparing tables and running the kitchen can keep track of these requests, too.

Give more accurate wait time estimates

The most frustrating part of waiting in line is when the ETA keeps changing. You and your staff know this better than anyone! From stink eyes to toe tapping to the constant “how much longer?” refrain from hungry guests.

Our app helps you do away with all the fuss. Waitlist Me gives wait estimates and helps your team make more accurate wait times by seeing actual waits next to quoted times for each customer. Plus, the customer waitlist view feature lets guests check on their wait time from their smartphone. That gives them visibility into the waitlist so they don’t have to ask several times about the wait and can be sure to be nearby when it is close to their turn.