Friday, July 14th, 2017 .

What’s the secret to transforming a run-of-the-mill retail experience into one customers flock to? It’s all about the customer service. Waitlist management apps are a not-so-obvious way to one-up your competitors and wow your customers. Here’s how you can use an app like Waitlist Me in any retail setting:

Cell phone store

Selecting a new smartphone is a blast. Sitting through the activation process, though, is less than thrilling. Waitlist Me lets you set them free. Our public waitlist feature allows you to display your waitlist and an estimated time of completion on a screen in your store, which means they can wander around, play with other devices, and shop accessories while they wait.

Electronics store

Laptops, cameras, home entertainment systems—shoppers making big-ticket purchases in these departments depend on your sales associates’ expertise. But let’s face it: When customers compete to flag down help, nobody wins. With Waitlist Me, you can greet shoppers when they walk in, add them to your waitlist, and assign them to the staff member or department that can help them best.

Jewelry store

When people are making emotional purchases—say, when they’re buying engagement rings or anniversary gifts—they want to forge a personal connection with sales associates. Waitlist Me allows stores to check shoppers in (and add them to a waistlist), send them off to browse, and give them your full attention when it is their turn. Bonus: Waitlist Me manages reservations, too, making by-appointment shopping an easy option.

Athletic store

Specialty equipment requires specialty knowledge. Whether your team are helping moms pick out their kid’s first pair of cleats or long-time athletes dive in to a new sport, the education you’re giving them is what makes sales happen. Leverage that knowledge base by offering your customers a waitlist experience to ensure that they get one-on-one assistance—and walk away with the perfect product for their needs.

Clothing boutique

Short on dressing rooms and jammed with customers? Waitlist Me lets you handle a busy afternoon with ease. The app allows you to create a waitlist for your dressing rooms and display the public waitlist feature on a screen in your store. Customers can see where they are in line in a glance, and keep shopping while they wait.

Consignment store

A loyal clientele is your bread and butter. Keep them coming back with their best items to consign by streamlining your valuation process. Add them to a waitlist and encourage them to run errands, head to work—whatever it is they need to do! Waitlist Me’s text alert features lets you instantly inform your clients when their product estimates are ready.

Department store

Specialty services like personal shoppers and in-store tailoring are assets that your retail business ought to make the most of. Using a waitlist app to manage these services will give customers a VIP experience while also improving your efficiency. Because the Waitlist Me app syncs across multiple devices, customer service desks can field personal shopping requests while sales associates and cashiers can add guests to tailoring waitlists.

Home design studios

When custom orders are the norm, long check-out times come standard. Once your design consultants have the details down, there’s no need for customers to remain chained to a desk. Instead, add them to a waitlist and let them wander through your showroom while your associates put together the order details. Waitlist Me’s text alert feature lets you bring them back to swipe and sign, and then send them on their way.

 

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.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020 .

From the perspective of a restaurant customer:

If you had told me in January that 2020 was going to the year of a pandemic, that wearing a mask to the supermarket would be necessary, and we’d all be forced into quarantine for weeks on end, I would have laughed out loud. This year has been nothing but strange, I think we all agree on that, and as we begin to transition into “normalcy,” we are all curious as to what the new normal will look like. And as nerve wracking as it may be, I personally can say I am excited. I’m excited to see friends and family, I’m excited to go to the beach, and I’m most excited to get back to restaurants. 

I’ve always had an immense passion and love for food, and as much as I love to cook, I am very over it. As cities and states begin to roll out their reopening plans, restaurants are opening their doors to customers for both patio and indoor dining options. But even as restrictions lift, there are still rules and regulations in place to keep both guests and staff safe, which I appreciate deeply. Although I am excited to sit with friends and enjoy a meal at my favorite places, I also want to ensure that we are being safe and remaining healthy.

My favorite restaurant might not look identical to pre Coronavirus times, nor are the rules in place going to be the same. But, as a guest, it’s important to respect and embrace these differences. My server will more than likely be wearing a mask, I may not be able to sit at a table with 10+ of my closest friends, and I may be asked to wait in my car, rather than at the bar, for my table. All of these changes are ok! I will survive! The restaurants are doing the best they can during a seriously challenging time and it’s important as guests to show up, show support, and show understanding. 

The list of differences from past to present can go on and on, but I think focusing on the future and adapting to what many are calling the “new normal” is what is most important. Restaurants are equipped with the best systems, staff, and regulations and we now have to be the best customers and come equipped with all they ask for. 

Top Three Things to Remember When Dining Out:

Social Distance: Remember to stay 6 ft. away from anyone outside of your party, when possible. To help both the customers and the staff during this transition, restaurants may invest in an app like Waitlist Me. Waitlist Me provides staff with easy and effective ways to manage their waitlist and reservations both in Coronavirus and non-pandemic times. Being able to send a text message to a guest when their table is ready so they don’t have to wait inside is a great feature for reducing crowds. 

Hygiene, hygiene, and more hygiene! It may be the restaurant’s job to sanitize more frequently and ensure their staff is healthy; but it is your job to always wash your hands, and to check your own health before walking in the doors.

Respect the guidelines put in place by each individual restaurant. Many restaurants are urging guests to wear masks when possible. Some are asking you to please sanitize your hands before entering. And, others have detailed layouts for guests to follow to help prevent exposure. The list goes on, so pay attention and read the signs! 

You might look at this list and scoff, but remember, the restaurant may not look the same and the rules might not be the same but the food IS still the same, and that’s really what is important. So if you’re like me and you have a deep admiration for all things food, then get out and support your favorite spot (and all their new quirks) – again, and again, again. 

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019 .

Owning or managing a business today is significantly more stressful than it was 10 years ago. So is being a human living in 2019.

We’re more stressed now than we’ve ever been before. Blame it on politics. Blame it on the economy. Blame it on your zany Aunt Maude. Regardless of the numerous places our stress is coming from, we know one place that can use some improvement in the stress department.

The bustle! The noise! The tight squeeze! There are all sorts of ways your waiting room could be skyrocketing your customers’ stress levels. Want to prevent walk-outs and increase customer loyalty? Here are three stressful problems in your waiting area and easy, inexpensive ways to fix them today.

A wall-to-wall wait

Achieving the right level of fullness is an art. An empty parking lot at 7 p.m. on a Friday night sends the wrong signal to hungry diners. But a jam-packed foyer? That sends a message, too, one that might intimidate a walk-in.

Stressor: The line is so long! I’ll be waiting forever!

Quick fix: Vacate your waiting area just enough by using Waitlist Me to notify guests when you’re ready for them. This leaves them free to explore the area while they wait—and keeps new customers feeling like they won’t be waiting an eternity.

“Was that me?” worries

A little background music, ordering drinks at the bar, nodding along to a conversation—it doesn’t take much to distract guests from a long wait. However, those little distractions come with their own problems.

Stressor: Did they call me already? Did I miss my table?!

Quick fix: Replace bulky buzzers and hovering hostesses with text notifications through our waitlist app. That way, your guests will be notified in a manner that suits them best. Plus, our public waitlist feature allows customers to check their place in line on a TV display in your waiting area or directly on their phone. That reduces the anxiety over how-much-longer ETAs.

Invisible customer syndrome

Hey, mistakes happen! But when you’re using a messy grease board or a hard-to-read, handwritten appointment book to keep track of your waitlist, mistakes happen far more frequently than if you brought your business into the 21st century.

Stressor: Um, excuse me? Did you forget about me? I’ve been waiting an hour!

Quick fox: Nobody wants to feel invisible, and nobody wants to hang out in a foyer for 25 minutes before realizing they’ve been skipped by accident. With a digital waitlist, you can cut down on those negative experiences. Waitlist Me is straightforward. Think: One easy-to-read list and zero confusing scribbles. With a single glance, hosts can see exactly who’s waiting for what sort of table, how long they’ve been tapping their toes, and when you can get them seated.

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.

image_5

 

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!