These days, we’ve started talking about the world in terms of B.C. and D.C.—that’s “before coronavirus” and “during COVID-19.” Though we are eager to move into the A.C. era (“after coronavirus,” naturally) even the most optimistic projections put that at least 6 months from now.
‘Til then, we’re adapting. For people working from home, that means video conferences at dining room tables. For those who are keeping restaurants, stores, offices, and other essential businesses open, that means embracing new ways of getting the job done.
One of the most popular ways business owners are staying open while minimizing the spread of coronavirus is to embrace touch-free or contact-free service.
What is touch-free service?
Touch-free service limits the spread of the novel coronavirus by reducing the number of people who touch an item. The danger with this virus is that it’s very contagious. When you decrease how many individuals handle, say, a pizza box, you lessen the risk that one of those individuals will transmit the virus to the recipient—or to another employee who comes into contact with the box.
Implementing touch-free service is a more complex preventative measure than, say, requiring all employees to wear a mask. Going low-contact or contact-free requires business owners and managers to consider their entire workflow from start to finish so they can decide how to best protect themselves, their workers, and their customers.
Tools like Waitlist Me, a waitlist and reservation/appointment app, are one piece of the puzzle. Now, let’s see how that puzzle piece fits into some strategies that can be used across a diverse array of businesses.
Strategies for providing touch-free service using Waitlist Me
Pickup outside – Whether customers are picking up food, medicine, or other items they have ordered, they may not need to come into your building to get them. Waitlist Me can be used to confirm their order with a text message that can also communicate instructions on what to do when they arrive. Customers can reply to texts when they arrive and either wait in their cars or outside the door in a more open area for their orders to be brought to them. With Waitlist Me Pro there is also an option to send open text replies to customer texts for things like clarifying questions or letting them know if more time is needed for their order.
Limit numbers inside – When allowing people inside to dine, shop, or be treated, Waitlist Me can help avoid crowded waiting areas and limit the number of people in the building. Simply add customers to the waitlist when they arrive and allow them to walk around outside or wait in their car until you are ready for them. They can check their places in line from their phones using the public waitlist feature, and you can press a button to text them when it’s their turn. You can even have your staff greet them outside or add them to the list when they pull into the parking lot.
Reduce points of contact – There are additional ways to increase safety by cutting down on person-to-person interactions for customers arrivals. Post information on your website or a sign on your door asking customers to call or use the Waitlist Me web widget to add themselves to the waitlist, rather than entering the building to do so in person. The widget can help show how busy you are, so people can have a better idea of when to arrive. Or they can schedule an appointment or reservation that you can approve and manage in the app. With Waitlist Me Pro there are also simple scheduling controls for business hours and hourly availability that can help stagger the number of people visiting your business across the day.