Monday, April 13th, 2020 .

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated just how important it is for businesses to manage what we used to consider minor details: the spaces we occupy, the items we touch, and the people we come into contact with.

But for manufacturers, distributors, and logistics professionals, there’s no detail too small to be optimized—and that’s been true for far longer than the modern world has combatted highly contagious illnesses like COVID-19, SARS, or Swine Flu. Since the 1960s, supply chains and production lines around the globe have adopted a leaner operation. It’s called just-in-time manufacturing, or JIT. 

What is JIT?

Just-in-time manufacturing is built on the principles popularized by Toyota’s production processes in Japan. It’s also known as continuous-flow or demand-flow manufacturing.

No matter the name, its goal is the same: JIT seeks to make production more efficient by ensuring that materials and finished products are always in transit rather than sitting around, waiting to be used. This decreases business overhead because goods in this system require less storage space.

It also makes for a smoother production process. Raw materials arrive the moment they are needed. Finished goods are shipped out as soon as they’re completed. There’s no lag time, no costly delays, and no square footage going to waste.

How to use just-in-time principles to fight COVID-19 (and improve your customer’s waiting experience)

Other businesses, from retail stores to restaurants, doctor’s offices to mechanic shops can put the principles that power JIT to work for both their bottom line and the overall safety and satisfaction of their customers. Watilist Me is a simple tool to make some of these concepts easy to implement.

Here are five ways your business can use Waitlist Me today to smooth out the kinks in your waiting process:

  1. Let customers wait elsewhere. Waitlist Me makes it simple to text customers when ready for them and see their replies. That means you customers don’t need to be crowded in a waiting area. They can wait in their car or somewhere nearby. 
  2. Keep queuers in the know. Our public waitlist feature lets your customers check their spot in line from their smartphone. With just a few taps, they can see their ETA and plan their arrival at your business just in time to be served.
  3. Add guests on the go. With the add-yourself web widget, individuals can hop on your waitlist from wherever they are, whether that’s home, in transit, or in the car in your parking lot.
  4. Educate customers on pick-up policies. When you add someone to your queue, Waitlist Me can send an automatic text confirmation. You can customize the information in this text to include coronavirus-specific instructions, like how to facilitate your no-contact pick-up service.
  5. Confirm details using two-way texting. Waitlist Me Pro and Platinum allow businesses to send custom text responses to their customers. You can use this feature to clarify orders, pick-up instructions, or any other questions guests may have.

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.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 .

The demise of fast fashion darling Forever 21 might have you reaching for a Xanax, but should it? Not necessarily. After all, while one empire has fallen, some fast fashion brands are thriving.

Look at Target! Their private label pivot in 2018 has been hugely successful. Look at Old Navy! The Gap, Inc. brainchild plans to open 800 stores in the next decade. Look at Gymboree! The beloved clothing brand for babies and toddlers is making a comeback as a pop-up shop concept within The Children’s Place retail outlets.

See? There’s no need to panic. From new merchandising tactics to rebooted branding and marketing initiatives, there are all sorts of ways to keep a fast fashion business profitable. One of our favorite ways to keep your retail venture in the green is to improve your customer experience.

Not sure how to wow your customers? Keep reading for our favorite strategies.

Make customers feel welcome

One prominent reason many consumers turn to online shopping: pushy sales tactics that make them feel uncomfortable. While you should always greet walk-ins with a smile and a cheery “hello,” it’s time to reconsider retail standards that feel like the opening of a sales pitch. Instead of, “Can I help you with anything in particular?” try deploying friendly small talk. A comment about the rainy weather or a compliment on the cute sweater they’re wearing will make the customer’s experience feel more conversational than transactional.

And speaking of conversation, there’s no reason for your employees to avoid it. We’ve all been the only customer in an otherwise-empty shop, shrinking under the microscopic gaze of associates. Awkward! While private conversations should be kept off the sales floor, bantering about TV shows, sports teams, and other harmless topics can make customers feel at ease in your store. Remind them, though, that their body language is important: They need to look approachable 24/7 and they should always be paying attention to customers, ready to offer help on finding a size or snagging a dressing room.

Eliminate long lines

Online fast fashion retailers like Amazon and ASOS struggle with shopping cart abandonment. Brick-and-mortar retailers should be concerned about a similar situation: long waits for fitting rooms and cash registers. 

Lines have the tendency to intimidate rather than to encourage. Many shoppers will load up their arms with potential purchases, then turn to the line for the changing room and wonder if all these goodies are worth the interminable wait. One solution is to use a waitlist and appointment management app like Waitlist Me, which makes long lines disappear by taking them digital. Retail staffers can hold on to the merchandise customers are interested in and let them continue browsing while they wait. A quick text lets shoppers know when they reach the front of the line.

Improve staff productivity

Top-notch customer service starts with staffing. If your sales associates are overrun by to-dos or traffic, they’ll be too frazzled to show the level of service that results in sales and customer retention. Adding an app like Waitlist Me to your toolbox can help retail store managers make smarter real-time decisions based on how busy the store is.

Waitlist Me allows managers to easily view things like how many customers are waiting for help or a fitting room, and how long fitting rooms have been occupied. Keeping tabs on traffic patterns means that they know where bottlenecks are emerging so they can direct employees accordingly before customer experiences start to suffer.

Monday, August 6th, 2018 .

Did you know you can add a button to your Facebook page to take reservations or appointments? Allowing customers to book directly from social media is easy, and a great way to increase bookings.

Start by logging into your Waitlist Me account and copying the unique link for your hosted Web Widget. You can find this at www.waitlist.me > Account > Settings > Add Yourself. The link will be at the top of the page.

Next, go to your business’s Facebook page. Choose the Add a Button option on the right.

 

Choose Book with you, and then Book Now.

 

Select the Link to Website option, enter your Waitlist Me link in the pop up, press Save and then Finish. That’s it! You now have your very own reservation (or appointment) button on Facebook.

 

Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 .

Still using a paper waitlist or reservation book? Clinging to outdated paper-based solutions can be a drag on a restaurant. Here are six reasons to switch to a digital waitlist and reservation app like Waitlist Me. Read more at Restaurant & Cafe