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.

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 .

As people flock to tourist destinations throughout the Northeast for their summer vacations, local restaurants are using Waitlist Me to handle the surge in demand. According to the National Restaurant Association, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are expected to hire a combined total of 100,000 new employees this summer to address the rush of seasonal customers, and restaurants are turning to technology to help manage it.

Many are using this new text-based app to increase customer satisfaction and improve business results. By using the Waitlist Me app, available on Android and iOS tablets, restaurants can track waiting guests and send them text notifications when their table is ready. This gives customers the freedom to explore the surrounding area while waiting for a table, which leads to fewer walkaways and greater customer satisfaction.

A little ways up the coast from Boston, the Portland Lobster Company is known for its award-winning Lobster Roll that customers can enjoy while sitting outside by the water. Open from May to October, they get about 70% of their traffic from tourists, and run waits of 30-35 minutes per night.

Portland Lobster Company

 

“We use Waitlist Me on a 10-inch Android tablet at the front for the hostess to add people to the list and estimate wait times, and the person bussing the tables has a 7-inch tablet to notify people that their table is available,” said Ethan Morgan, general manager at Portland Lobster Company. “This saves us a few minutes on each table, which adds up to shorter wait times and happier customers.”

With its open-air gazebo and large deck overlooking the Genesee River in Rochester, New York, Schooner’s Riverside Pub is another seasonal restaurant that has a perfect location for summer dining.  “We are slammed during the summer when people are enjoying the nice weather on our dock,” said manager Jake Clawson. “Waitlist Me has been super easy for us to use, our customers really like it, and it saves us a lot of time from having to walk around and track people down,” added hostess Liz.

Schooners Riverside Pub

 

“With nearly 70 million customers served, we continue to see strong growth among restaurants and other businesses, because Waitlist Me is easy to learn and use without any complicated contracts or training processes. It just works,” said Brian Hutchins, head of product and marketing for Waitlist Me. “We are always excited to see the way businesses are using our service to give their customers a better experience and Waitlist Me at summer hot spots is another great example of using tech to make customers happier.”

Sunday, February 11th, 2018 .

The hunt for must-have Valentine’s Day gifts is officially on. Whether you manage a big-name retailer or a small business storefront, a waitlist and reservation app is the 10-minute tech upgrade you need to keep your stress levels low and your customers’ shopping experience smooth and enjoyable this February 14th.  Here’s how busy retail outlets are using  some of our app’s top features as Valentine’s Day approaches.

Text notifications

When you’re dealing with intimate purchases like lacy underthings or personal scents, sales associates and shoppers need privacy, not a looming line of other customers looking for assistance. That’s where a waitlist comes into play.

If individual service is a must, a waitlist is a boon no matter what products fill your shelves. Add text notification, and you’ve got a system that will bring calm to your store’s shopping and sales experience and create the one-on-one atmosphere you’re looking for. It’s an easy, unobtrusive way to let shoppers know when it’s their turn. And with Waitlist Me, they’re simple to set up and use, whether you need them once in a while for holiday rushes or sales, or 24/7 to keep up with your foot traffic.

Perfect for…lingerie stores, perfumeries, large retailers, big-ticket department stores, and other outlets where customers want to browse but also appreciate one-on-one assistance

Customer service

No matter the price tag, you want your customers to feel like friends, not another credit card number.

Say hello to two Waitlist Me features that’ll make your customers feel welcome and remembered: notes and wait time tracking. When you add shoppers to your waitlist, you can add notes, like what they’re wearing, what they look like, and what they’re shopping for. These details let sales associates greet them personally.

Tracking the times that you estimated you’d be ready to help a customer next to their actual waits helps you give accurate quotes.  It can be more frustrating for customers to not know how long the wait will be or have to wait longer than they were told.  Waitlist Me helps you overdeliver on their expectations.

Perfect for…boutiques, designer stores, luxury retailers, and other shops that rely on personalized service and a good rapport between sales associates and shoppers

People management

When you’ve got a mixed crowd of traditional rose-buyers and “I want something a little different” custom arrangements, balance is essential. Waitlist Me can help you achieve it.

The app allows you to add each shopper to a waitlist and note what sort of product the shopper is looking for. As a staff member specializing in each area becomes free, they can take on customers according to the type of bouquet they’re looking to give. Splitting the workload will maximize your resources—and prevent a bottleneck thanks to that one indecisive customer who just isn’t sure what he wants.

Perfect for…candy stores, flower shops, wine stores, and business whose customer base is often split between people who know exactly what they want and those who need more personal attention

Integrated appointments

Got the heart-shaped boxes stacked and ready to go? Filled your refrigerators with flowers by the dozen? Great! Now it’s time to focus on creating a stand-out shopping experience.

To nix a long line and take advantage of lulls, try taking phone orders in addition to walk-ins. Waitlist Me lets you manage advance orders (think of them as reservations with pick-up times) alongside walk-ins, which you can add to a waitlist when business picks up. The app keeps both neatly organized and accessible. That means you can focus on the people you’re serving, not on finding random bits of paper you scribbled an order on three days ago.

Perfect for…chocolatiers, flower shops, and businesses who offer call-in orders for quick pick-up in addition to walk-ins

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 .

The new web widget makes it easy for customers to add themselves to your waitlist from your website and have their waitlist requests appear in the Waitlist Me app.  The widget has two main views and is simple to customize and add to your site in a few quick steps.

Customers can view estimated wait times or people waiting:

widget1

 

Customers can then submit their info for adding themselves to the list:

widget2

 

Creating the widget is as easy as switching the toggle to “ON” from your widget settings page on the Waitlist Me website. A unique widget will be created and all you need to do is copy the line of code onto your website where you’d like the widget to display.

The widget can be customized at any time, and you will see how it looks in the preview section at the top of the page. Press “Save” to keep changes and automatically update the widget on your site. Here are some of the options:

Titles – Change the text that appears on the two different screens of the widget. The first screen shows the estimated wait and the second screen appears after customers click to add themselves and enter their information

Colors – Match the widget to your website the way you like with the flexibility to change the colors of the text, background, borders, and links.

Display types – There are a couple options on what you may want to display to give people a feel of how long the wait might be, or if you choose “None” it will not show the view of the wait estimate at all and just have the fields for people to add their information.

Also, if you want to go back to the default settings after you can always click the Reset link at the bottom.

widget-settings

 

The web widget is a Waitlist Me Premium feature and adds another option beyond using the public waitlist page for customers to add themselves to the waitlist.

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.