Sunday, February 25th, 2018 .

Byline: Brittany Taylor

If you’re American, you may recognize the word “queue” from your Netflix app. If you’re British, you can’t think why anyone would use the word “line” when “queue” is the obvious choice. If you’re Canadian, you’re more likely to think in terms of waiting in line, but probably wouldn’t worry too much if told told to “queue up.” Whether you think in terms of a waitlist or queue management system, Waitlist Me can help.

What’s behind the way we wait? Let’s take a look…

Where the idea of “lining up” came from

Despite the eternity you waited in traffic this morning, the idea of forming an orderly line hasn’t been around forever. It didn’t become a popular convention until after the turn of the 19th century. That was when the industrial revolution began to concentrate large populations in towns.

As more and more people moved into cities, the way they bought things changed. Instead of markets, individuals frequented shops. What else changed? The way people worked. As factories, mines, and, later, offices became the norm, workers had to get through the door—literally—and lines became a daily occurrence.

What’s up, Britain?

Across the United Kingdom, the queue reigns supreme. Like its penchant for afternoon tea, though, queueing is an imported custom. The word itself is French for a braid or plait, and it’s derived from a Latin word that means “tail.” By the early 19th century, it had come to mean a line of people, but it wasn’t until World War II that the idea of the queue became part of the British identity.

As Great Britain entered the war, its government talked up the notion of citizens doing their duty and taking turns. Queueing became a symbol of that, “of decency, fair play, and democracy,” reports another British institution, the BBC. After the war, opposition politicians flipped that idea on its head. Queueing became a sign of societal problems and government inefficiencies. Public resentment grew and the occasional queue-related fisticuffs ensued.

Today, Brits are still ardent queuers, and while they’re proud of their reputation for polite queueing, they’re not very happy about the waiting itself. For many, it’s a stressful experience focused on doing one’s duty and ensuring everyone else does, too.

America’s love-hate relationship with waitlists

Lines, like most things before the Internet Age, came to America a little late. Once they arrived, though, they took hold. Many moments in U.S. history come with their own lines, from the bread lines of the Great Depression to gas lines during the oil crisis.

The American approach to lines is pretty similar to America’s approach to life. On one hand, there’s egalitarianism. This is the United States, after all, the land of plenty and equal opportunity! There’s enough for everyone, and if you wait for your turn, you’ll get what you want. On the other hand, there’s capitalism. In America, it’s a race to the top. We’re always working for more, and sometimes there isn’t enough to go around.

This dual approach is why Americans are both happy to wait their turn and anxious about the whole waiting-in-line experience. Americans want to be good citizens, but they also want what they want, and if getting it is in question, they start stressing out about what they can do better to make their goals a reality. Could I choose a shorter line? Can I cut? Can I bribe the hostess?

It’s a competitive experience that’s uniquely American, but it also creates a build-up of unnecessary stress. Folks in the U.S. wait in line an average of 37 billion hours each year. That’s a lot of anxiety!

Then, there’s Canada, the chillest line-waiter of them all

The Great White North is all about maple leaves, Mounties, and, yes, waitlists. While using the word “queue” won’t raise many eyebrows, Canada falls firmly on the “we wait in lines” side of the debate.

Canada takes its lines—or lineups, as they prefer to call them—seriously. Our favorite example: International students at Canadian universities are often required to take etiquette classes during orientation. Mastering the lineup is on the syllabus right after learning how to say “hello.”

True to form (and its reputation as the global nice guy), Canada’s relationship with lines is based in its dedication to upholding polite society. Along with apologies and punctuality, the omnipresent lineup is an unspoken agreement that every Canadian, can mind their manners, relax while they wait, and still get what they want.

Waitlist Me makes queues, waitlists, and lineups better across the globe

Our goal is to make your customers’ waiting experience better. Happier customers lead to better bottom lines—and that’s exactly what we want for your business. Our app is now available in more than 60 countries, so wherever you are and whatever you do, we’re here to help.

 

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 .

With the biggest eating-out day of the year upon us, the big question is this: How are you going to make Mother’s Day a big success for your restaurant?

It’s not just about getting people in the door. It’s not even about serving the best food in town. It’s about giving your customers the best overall experience possible—one that will keep them returning long after Mother’s Day ends. And that experience starts the minute they walk through the door.

Here are 3 ways Waitlist Me wows customers while they wait for their table

Accurate wait time estimates make you look like a pro

Shuffling through loose papers doesn’t inspire confidence. Neither does the look on your host’s face when she’s guessing when that table in the corner will turn.

Waitlist Me takes the guesswork out of time estimates. The app shows estimated waits by table size, so you have your answer with a quick look, whether it’s a table for two or ten.  Plus, it tracks how long customers have been waiting in real time, right next to the time they were quoted, so you can better adjust for surges and lulls in visitors to fine tune your quote accuracy.

Text alerts let customers relax while they wait

No one wants to be tethered to a restaurant lobby—and a cluster of hungry people waiting for a table can be a turn-off for walk-ins.

Waitlist Me lets you text guests when their table is ready, which means they can wander freely without worrying that they’ll miss their name being called. We’ve even made it easy for them to let you know they’re on their way, or that they need to cancel with a simple text response.

A public waitlist allows customers to see where they are in line (and plan accordingly)

An out-the-door line keeps you busy enough. Add the inevitable “how long will it be?” grumbles to the mix, and you’ve got mayhem on your Mother’s Day menu.

When you add a customer to your waitlist, Waitlist Me sends them a confirmation text automatically. That text includes a link to your public waitlist, empowering them to check on their place in line wherever they are, whenever they want.  The less time your team has to spend providing updated estimates to the people waiting, the more time they can spend greeting and making guests feel welcome.

A 5-minute fix? You bet.

You can start using Waitlist Me now on any iOS, Android, or web-accessible device. Getting started is easy, and you can get it up and running in less time than it takes you to fire up your restaurant’s most popular dish. Now that’s a win!

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 .

The holidays are coming up. You know what that means: a rush of customers eager to snap up the next big tech toy.  If you can’t manage the wait times effectively, though, your customers are guaranteed to be toe-tapping their way around your displays as they wait for the next available associate. Or worse, they may just head to another store.

Waitlist Me Pro can help you turn your customers’ visit to your store into an experience they’ll be more satisfied with. Think: more referral business, glowing Google reviews, and kudos from corporate. Read on for ways our pro-level app will help you do business better.

Schedule your staff more efficiently

Prepare for the storm by tracking your team in real time and accessing reports on staffers’ past performance.

Waitlist Me Pro’s hallmark feature is resource management and reporting. The app lets you assign your associates to different areas of the store (or to different tasks), track how much time they spend with each customer, and see who is working the most and who is working the least. With this data in hand, you’re better prepared to make decisions about serving customers as things get busy.

Add promotions to your public waitlist

Running a special on certain devices or services? Sponsoring an old phone holiday drive? Recycling batteries or chargers? Let your customers know when they check in, thanks to Waitlist Me Pro’s customizable public waitlist.

This pro-level feature lets you add whatever HTML you want to the waitlist. You could include graphics, coupon codes, videos, or plain text, in addition to changing the page’s colors, adding your logo, and swapping out the wording to bring your brand voice to the app’s functionality.

Let customers add themselves to your waitlist, no matter where they are

With Waitlist Me Pro, customers no longer have to start their waiting from your store. They can use the web widget—which Pro allows you to customize more—to add themselves to your waitlist from wherever they are. It’s web and mobile friendly, which means they can access it from home or on the go.

Combine the add-me remote feature with our public waitlist and text notifications, and you’ve got the ideal customer experience. Waitlist Me Pro lets your customers live their lives, run their errands, and make their appointments—and they’ll never worry about losing their place in line.

Quote more accurate wait times

There is nothing worse than waiting around twice as long as the time initially quoted. The app has always helped store associates predict more accurate ETAs. But with Waitlist Me Pro, you can take making better estimates to the next level.

By being able to see in real-time which of your staffers are busy and which are available as well as how much time they’ve spent with each customer and when, on average, they should finish up. With Pro, you have more data at your fingertips to make smarter decisions faster.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 .

santa noshlist

Memories of sitting on Santa’s lap can evoke strong feelings of nostalgia for many of us, and continuing the tradition of capturing these magical moments can be a must-do for parents and grandparents of younger children.  The problem is that the holiday season is already a very busy time of year, and getting a turn on Santa’s lap usually requires some waiting. In worst case scenarios, it can even take several hours. Santa’s Playground and Santa’s Castle in Calgary have found a way to give back some of this precious time to families this holiday season by using NoshList for their waitlist.

Believe Imaging, an event photography company founded by Shelagh Anderson, photographs children with Santa at two of the busiest malls in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At each location, employees are tasked with the responsibility of making sure every child who visits gets a turn to tell Santa what they would like for Christmas.

On average, the two centers combined receive upwards of 7,000 visits per week during the holiday season from November 23 through December 24.  To better handle the large number of visitors, Anderson was able to streamline the registration process and improve the customer experience by rolling out NoshList at both locations.

Prior to the launch of NoshList, employees were using pen and paper to take down names and numbers.

“The problem with pen and paper was the constant barrage of customers coming to ask if it was their turn because there was no visual display letting the customers know where they were in line,” Anderson said.

At first Anderson researched paging system, but the high initial and ongoing costs led her to seek an alternative solution.

“Originally in 2013 I sought out pagers, but after speaking to someone who had a system in excess of $3,000 I thought to myself that it didn’t make sense to invest in that archaic technology and there had to be a better way,” she said. “So I started looking on the Internet and came across NoshList in March 2014. This type of concept has been in my head for a number of years, so finding NoshList has definitely helped us realize some of the vision that I’ve had over the years.”

With the busiest days bringing over 700 kids to see Santa, children and their families can wait up to an hour for their turn.  While there is a play room in each location to ease the boredom, having a waitlist system like NoshList gives parents and families the ability to do other things while waiting for their turn.

“In terms of improving communications with our customers and allowing them the opportunity to roam the shopping center rather than stand in line, NoshList has been extremely well received by both mall administration and customers,” Anderson said. “Mothers are thrilled because they can register and know their kids are going to see Santa, while they have the freedom to go get a drink, use the restroom, continue shopping, or do other things.”

Registration is handled by three employees who are each armed with an iPad to start the waitlist process.Customers can see their places in line by clicking on a link to the public waitlist view and get a better estimate of how much longer it will be before their turn. The company also encourages their customer service desks to also log on to www.waitlist.me/n/believe_mm to accurately convey to customers who phone in asking about the wait times.

But the best part is that employees can also take down the children’s names and ages so Santa is prepared even before the child makes it to his lap.

“The elf standing next to Santa can relay the names of the next kids to him, and it adds that extra level of magic to the experience,” Anderson said. “If you’re a child and you round the corner and Santa calls you by name, that’s pretty awesome.”

believe imaging

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 .

Want a better idea of how well you are serving your customers? There is a new Waitlist Me feature that will allow you to send quick surveys to your customers after their visit. Customers can rate easily rate their overall experience in a few seconds or have the option to send more detailed feedback or even request a manager contact them. It is a great way to get insights into what your customers are thinking and to respond quickly when there are questions or problems.

To enable the survey feature, log into www.waitlist.me and go into the Settings, which are in the Account area. Click on the link in the Customer Feedback Surveys section to go to the page. When you turn on the surveys so they go out to your customers after they have been checked off the list, you will see a variety of options for customizing the surveys.

In the Survey notification area, you can edit the text that is sent to the customer and how long after they are checked off the list that it is sent. The surveys are designed to be as simple as possible for customers to send a quick rating, so they can just reply with a number from 1 to 5 in a text message and we will record that response automatically. There is also a link where they can follow if they prefer to visit a webpage on their phone to leave their rating.

feedback - settings1

 

If the customer does choose to visit the web page and leave an overall rating, they will also be presented with the option to rate a couple more specific questions, and you can change these questions to whatever you like in the settings.

feedback - settings2

 

Here is an example of how it looks for the customer. First they would receive a text message like this:

feedback - notification

 

If they choose to click on the link, they will go to a page like this:

feedback - survey1

 

If they fill out the first question, they will be given an option to rate more specific questions. They can also request to be contacted by the manager, and if they do an email will be sent to any users you have associated with your account.

feedback - survey2

 

The details for any surveys completed will be included in the weekly summaries that are sent out, and you can also download the data on the responses in the Analytics section of the Waitlist Me site.

feedback - reports

 

The Feedback Surveys are currently available to all Waitlist Me Premium users.