How Veterinarians Can Modernize Intake Process with Virtual Waitlist Apps

Virtual Waitlist App Helps Veterinarian Clinics Operate More Smoothly 

Virtual Waitlist App Helps Veterinarian Clinics Operate More Smoothly - NextME Waitlist App

If the global pandemic were to have a silver lining, the burst of tech innovation it’s brought about would be just that. Health care professionals have been required to alter their intake processes in an efficient and safe manner, and veterinarians are no exception. With most waiting rooms having restricted access and/or being closed, veterinarians implemented virtual waitlist apps to help them manage. The benefits have been eye opening and are presumed to permanently alter the way they do business for the better. 

In the past, waiting rooms at veterinarian clinics were extremely chaotic for an already stressed out, sick or anxious pet and their owner. The plethora of new smells in an unfamiliar area, a negative association with past care, or an interaction with another animal could cause tensions that made the entire experience miserable. However, with the embrace of waitlist technology, it no longer has to be this way. 

After the closure of waiting rooms during the pandemic, veterinarians quickly learned that technologies, such as NextME’s virtual waitlist app, are more than a temporary solution for easing these types of discomforts. They are a new way of doing things that can replace their outdated processes for the following reasons:

  1. The virtual communication platform quickly and efficiently helps the front desk manage an overwhelming amount of phone calls.
  2. The online customizable intake form used during self check-in allows staff to identify each client’s "reason for visit" so they can prioritize care more effectively.
  3. The data the app collects gives management an insight into operations, flow, and wait time averages so they can better prepare their staff for peak hours. 

And most importantly...

  1. Animals and their owners can wait comfortably in their cars or go for a calming walk prior to their appointment, as opposed to being crammed into a waiting room filled with anxious pets and owners.
  2. During the process of waiting, clients have the chance to engage with the clinic’s website and gain access to more useful pet resources. 

What started for veterinarians as an amazing way to minimize face-to-face interactions during the height of the pandemic is turning into a long-term solution.

How Waitlist Technology Works at the Veterinary Clinic

Waitlist technology may sound complicated, but good news, it really isn’t. NextME’s virtual waitlist system is a new category of service that helps veterinarians stay connected to their clients (the scaled, furry, and human ones) at all times, thus increasing overall satisfaction and retention

Here’s How NextME’s Self Check-In Feature Works:

Step 1. Clients check-in virtually by scanning a QR code or using an online widget via the veterinarian clinic’s website. This saves everyone time and energy. 

Step 2. The client receive an SMS text to the custom virtual waiting room where they can view their position in line, fill out any necessary paperwork, and visit the clinic’s website while they wait to learn more about services provided, special offerings, and/or informational tidbits like next step actions given a particular routine procedure. This gives real-time feedback and provides valuable resources to pet owners. 

Step 3. Clients receive a final text to check-in when it’s their turn for service.

Step 4. The veterinarian begins the session and the animal is taken well care of. It’s that simple! 

Another big advantage is reducing the cost of hiring an employee specifically to manage the check-in process via pen and paper. A NextMe client, who is also a veterinarian, was paying minimum wage for someone to oversee client check-ins and paying ~ $19,200 per year (assuming that staff member worked for $10/hour 5 days per week and was full-time). By implementing the waiting list app they saved time and money, while also providing all the other benefits listed above. 

"Pet Check has seen a dramatic increase in client satisfaction. We often have long wait times due to high volumes. Knowing how valuable time is, The NextMe app has given our clients the ability and freedom to utilize their time as they wait to have their furry companions be evaluated by the veterinarian."
                  - Maria Rebbecchi (management)

How NextMe’s Virtual Waitlist App Creates Furr-Ever Relationships

The NextMe Virtual Waitlist app has been helping savvy veterinarians maintain a well-organized and steady flow of appointments, as well as providing their clients with useful information before, during and after sessions to assure optimal care. Beyond the actual appointment, pet owners have the opportunity to engage with the clinic’s website and view alternative resources such as group or individual training sessions, best practices, wellness programs offered, dietary supplements, and so much more. It allows them to link to the vet clinic’s social media account, if applicable, and engage with their local animal community. All-in-all, waitlist technology has become one of the pandemic’s silver linings as it's proven to be a viable solution for achieving new standards, connecting clients to valuable information, and helping them feel a part of their greater animal-loving community.    

If you’re interested in learning how NextME’s virtual tools can streamline your veterinarian clinic’s operations in a safe and efficient manner, follow this link to contact us. Together we can form long-lasting solutions that promote furr-ever relationships. 


Appointment Booking Apps Give Solutions for COVID Vaccination: NextME Virtual Queue App

Appointment Booking Apps Give Solutions for COVID Vaccination

NextME Appointment Queue Helps the Healthcare Industry in Time of Need

Appointment Queue Helps the Healthcare Industry in Time of Need

To say that COVID-19 has changed the landscape of our local and global economies is an understatement, especially when it comes to the healthcare industry and our desperate need for innovative technologies. Governments, scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare sectors of all types have been scrambling for over a year to bring this pandemic to an end. Their focus was first and foremost on the successful creation of a safe and effective vaccination. Now that this has been accomplished, we are turning all of our attention towards how to allocate and distribute limited supplies in a timely and efficient manner to billions of people. 

Providers are currently administering about 1.67 million doses per day according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. At the current pace, authorities are projecting that about half of the U.S. population will be at least partially vaccinated by the end of June, and nearly all by mid-November. To help accelerate these efforts, state and local health departments are turning to online appointment scheduling apps and communication software to help them scale up distribution. 

For instance, New York State’s Am I Eligible site provides an online eligibility form prior to being able to book an appointment. Once pre-approved, the website’s system allows for a limited number of appointments, whereby once they are filled, people go into a virtual “waiting room” that holds their place in line on a first-come, first-served basis. With an increase in traffic, the site has experienced some challenges, however it is dramatically helping healthcare units plan distributions, mitigate crowds, and keep people safe so they can administer COVID vaccinations more efficiently. 

Online Apps & Virtual Waiting Rooms Promote Positive Response 

NextME Virtual Waitlist App: Online Apps & Virtual Waiting Rooms Promote Positive Response 

Scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations has caused a sense of panic for many Americans, especially those within the eligible 65+ age category that are not as tech savvy as younger generations. Senior Living Homes, mobile medical units, hospitals, and pharmacies that are distributing the vaccine are looking for quick and viable solutions to help streamline the process so that more people can gain access to the vaccine. Beyond crowd control and/or managing long term waitlists, they are looking for ways to communicate real-time information in the easiest way possible so that:

  1. Patients are knowledgeable about what they need to do prior to their appointment.
  2. Upon a virtual check-in, they receive and are able to fill out important medical forms online.
  3. There is a virtual “waiting room” that communicates real time status so that patients stay informed as to where they are in line.
  4. In case of a no-show, the time sensitive vaccines are not wasted as the missed appointment can immediately be filled by an applicant within the virtual “waiting room.” 

Socioeconomic status and age, as they relate to access and/or a familiarity with online apps, have added to the fear that many Americans are already experiencing. In response, friends, family members, and volunteers across the U.S. are offering their time and services to provide more equal opportunity. For instance, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker opened call centers to help seniors book vaccine appointments, and in Seattle 17-year-old Arin Jaff began offering help to his immediate community after watching his grandparents struggle. These types of response are both palpable and necessary to achieve timely results that will save lives.  

Today’s Queue Solutions Require a Timely Exchange of Information

Information is incredibly valuable when it comes to booking a vaccination appointment, especially in regards to availability, eligibility, and real time status for long term waitlists. NextME’s appointment booking app is working to make the process as easy as possible for everyone involved, meaning both clients and the public. Their products integrate with other software platforms so that organizations are not required to revamp their entire system in order to receive the benefits of the additional services.  

Below is a high level overview of how NextME can work with other software platforms (without a deep integration) to manage long term waitlists. 

Step 1: Depending on how many vaccines are available, the NextME Administer is able to send out a mass email or text reminder using their preferred appointment software or it informs the contact list to come in on any given day as a walk-in during the hours of operation. 

Step 2: If a patient has an appointment, the administrator can drop NextME's URL into their custom SMS text reminders of their upcoming appointments for patients to check-in once they arrive to their parking lot. 

Step 3: NextME administrator will then see their patients' info populate into their mobile app as they arrive and can swipe and notify each patient to check in. 

NextME’s additional features that make the process even easier include: 

  • Check in QR Codes that walk-in patients can utilize.
  • Leverage our queue filter feature to help administrators triage patients according to their reason for visit
  • A “Geo-Fence” that enables the Client to control the distance a patient has to be from their vaccination site before they can check-in. 
  • The ability to control scheduled hours as to when self check-in forms are available to the public.

How NextMe’s Technology Can Help Mainstream Vaccination Distributions

NextME Virtual Waitlist App: How NextMe’s Technology Can Help Mainstream Vaccination DistributionsAt NextME, we’ve taken our software one step further than reservation platforms. Our virtual waitlist software is a new category of service that helps organizations stay connected to their patients at all times, thus enabling more accurate scheduling processes for long-term waitlists. Beyond helping eliminate crowded waiting rooms, you can improve your customers’ experiences and provide them with important information as it relates to their healthcare.

Our SMS-based technology also provides a simpler solution for less-connected and less-tech savvy populations, such as people aged 65+ and those of lower socioeconomic status. According to 2019 Pew studies, more than 85% of people aged 65+ and 70% of households who make less than $30,000 per year own cell phones. This outpaces the number of people within the above demographic ranges that own computers or have broadband internet access. Unlike most vaccine administration sites and technologies, NextME requires only that patients have a cell phone number that can receive SMS messages in order to join and receive notifications about their place in the waitlist. 

The healthcare industry needs high-level solutions that will enable facilities to widely distribute as many vaccines as possible in an organized and fair manner. Online appointment scheduling and virtual waitlists aim to do precisely that. If you’re interested in learning how NextME’s virtual tools can streamline operations in a safe and efficient manner at your senior living home, mobile medical unit, hospital, and/or pharmacy, follow this link to contact us. Together we can make a difference in the well-being of our global communities.


Too many Delivery Drivers at your restaurant's door? There’s an easy fix.

How Waitlist Management Apps and Virtual Waiting Rooms Help Delivery Run Seamlessly

Overwhelmed with Third Party Delivery Apps?

You’re not alone. Even Restaurant Week is takeout-only this year. The push for delivery was starting to emerge pre-pandemic but this last year has accelerated that pace significantly. This increased demand for delivery has created a third-party delivery company boom. And created a new set of challenges for the restaurant industry.

Without getting into commission fees, the increased demand for delivery apps has made the pickup process increasingly hard for restaurants to manage. There are over 10 (and counting) major delivery apps out there. If a restaurant is accepting orders (willingly or not) from these companies, several delivery drivers from different companies are often coming by at peak hours to pick up orders. 

How can you manage this chaos?  

Restaurants and tech companies (not the delivery app ones) are finding creative solutions to adapt to this new environment. Waitlist management apps have come out with new features like Self Check-In options and Virtual Waiting Rooms . These awesome features, however, are primarily used to manage the customer intake process. Self-Check-In features provide safe and easy options for the guest to check in. And Virtual Waiting Rooms keep guests informed and engaged during their wait. Both reduce negative reviews, build brand image and most importantly, increase efficiency. Can Self Check-Ins and Virtual Waiting Rooms be used with delivery drivers, you ask?

It’s Simple: Use NextME’s waitlist management app for your delivery drivers.

Step 1. Delivery drivers check themselves in when they arrive for the order using either a QR code posted outside or by clicking on a simple link sent to them in the automated message through the third party delivery app.

Step 2. They fill out your custom intake form, including their mobile number, third party delivery company, order number, or anything else you would like to include.

Step 3. Delivery drivers wait in their cars instead of in a cluster around your door. While they wait, they enter your Virtual Waiting Room, learning about your pickup processes and are updated of their spot in line. 

Step 4. Once the order is ready, the driver is simply notified with a second text to come pick up their order. 

And using NextME’s filtering features, you can separate your delivery drivers by company into separate queues for better organization. You can even add “order number” and “customer name” fields into the custom intake form to maximize your pickup process. At last, your staff can breathe a sigh of relief. 

A Solution for Restaurants Big and Small

NextME’s waitlist system is being used to manage delivery drivers at restaurants big and small across North America. A Jet's Pizza Franchise, located in Ohio, recently implemented NextME at their business. Since then, they have effectively organized and streamlined their pickup process. Request a demo or give us a call at (877) 639-8631 for more info!


Small Business Spotlight - Gaslight Diner

Most of the restaurants we love are small businesses. And the Covid pandemic has created a ton of problems for the restaurant industry this year. With some restaurants proving to be less-than ideal for this new culinary landscape, experienced restaurateurs have shifted their focus, rebranded, and incorporated tech to better meet the needs of their customers. In the case of Seth Boone and his team in Louisville, they did just that.  

With a retro diner aesthetic and a savvy online presence, Gaslight Diner opened in mid-November to better meet the breakfast-food cravings of their neighborhood. And they’re serious about engaging with their community. Seth Boone has placed a strong emphasis on customer relations and service throughout Gaslight. For one, he’s made checking-in as easy as possible for his guests. After placing NextMe’s Widget on his site, Seth’s customers don’t have to wait in line or out in the cold Louisville winters. His guests can now check-in and wait for their table in their cars. They can even take a nice, socially-distant walk around town while they wait. It doesn’t really matter where they go. What matters is his guests don’t have to wait in line. And that is something that customers remember. 

 

Always building on their customer base, Gaslight uses NextMe’s Virtual Waiting room to boost and drive engagement. While waiting for a table, guests can now browse their updated menus, promotions and visit their social media. They’re also updated with their spot in line so everyone stays calm and collected. 

If you dine at Gaslight Diner (which we hope you do if you’re ever in the great city of Louisville), you can enjoy a virtual check in experience compliments of NextME (and Seth).


5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

The following post is from a guest contributor. 

Are you managing a business that recently reopened or made major changes in operations due to COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns? If so, then a lot about the way you’ve typically done business has been flipped on its head. Still, it’s important that even while you’re working to make sure that your overall operations are still running smoothly, you’re effectively marketing your business and ensuring future growth. Here’s how your business can reach new and existing customers during the pandemic. 

Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

Understand Changing Customer Needs 

With unemployment still high, many consumers have shifted their purchase habits. However, it’s important to remember that different customers react to economic downturn differently. While some groups are cutting their spending significantly, others are making purchases as they would in normal times. 

To better focus your marketing efforts, it’s important to recognize which demographic groups your business is serving. To do this, take surveys of your customer base to get a better idea of how their spending habits have shifted in recent months. You can then tailor your messaging to better serve their needs. For example, if you see that a majority of your customers are willing to maintain spending levels on purchases they deem “essential”, you can tailor your marketing messages to emphasize why your services are essential. 

Leverage Text Messaging 

In uncertain times like these, it’s important to connect with your existing customers so they understand everything that’s happening with your business. Right now, the best way to do this is through text messaging. Studies show that text messaging has a stunning open rate of 98% compared to just 31% for email. 

There are several ways that you can leverage text messaging. You can use texting to send relevant deals and offers, update customers about your business operations, or send appointment or delivery reminders. 

Collect Online Reviews 

When customers do a Google search for your business, one of the first things that they’ll see is your online reviews. Because of this, reviews can help boost all of your other marketing efforts. Whether a customer hears about you through print, radio, or a Facebook ad they are likely to Google you and see what other customers are saying about you. 

To make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward to customers, implement an online reputation management strategy and make an effort to solicit reviews from your customers. You can make the process easy for customers by sending requests through texts and email that link directly to your profiles on review sites. That way, all your customers have to do is click a link and leave a review.

Change Your Listings 

Most businesses have gone through significant operational changes in the past few months. Of course, many loyal customers may simply be unaware of these changes because they’ve had their own life issues to deal with. It’s important that you give them the information they need to re-engage with your business when they’re ready. 

If you’ve recently reopened your business locations or taken additional steps to protect customer safety, you should update your listings on sites like Google My Business and other business listings sites. That way, customers searching your business can see right away the changes in your business operations and understand the steps that you are taking to keep them safe. 

Leverage Social Media 

With more people spending more time indoors, customers are more likely to be scrolling through Facebook or looking at their Twitter. That means it’s even more important for your business to leverage social media. 

Try to post relevant content that speaks to some of the concerns that your customers might be experiencing. For example, this Instagram post by Nature’s Bakery showed some fun activities that customers could do while at home with their families. 

 

5 Marketing Tips for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 - Leverage Social Media - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

If you’re a smaller team or you don’t feel like you have the resources to leverage social, don’t worry. You can still have a successful social media strategy on a smaller scale. Try to focus on one platform where you feel that your target audience spends the most time. 

In Conclusion 

Marketing your business during normal times is tough. Standing out from the competition in uncertain times like these is even more difficult. But with the right strategy, your business can be the obvious choice in the area. 


Guide to Making Cannabis Dispensaries Safer During COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

A Guide to Making Cannabis Dispensaries Safer During COVID-19

Guide to Making Cannabis Dispensaries Safer During COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

Cannabis dispensaries have occupied a unique niche throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. People have made it clear that they consider them essential businesses, even when politicians have tried to define them otherwise. Be it from ‘panic buying’ as stay-at-home orders went into effect, or record sales as the orders were extended, demand for medical and recreational marijuana is booming and is expected to reach 37 billion in revenue by 2024

Because of this, it’s imperative that dispensaries continue to evaluate and evolve their safety measures. This is particularly important for the estimated 3 million people in the US who are dependent on medical marijuana, as a large percentage of this population has compromised immune systems.

To help with these efforts, we’ve created a guide to providing a safer shopping experience in cannabis dispensaries during COVID-19.

How to Make Your Cannabis Dispensary Safer During COVID-19

#1 Make Use of Virtual Waitlist Software that Allows for Contactless Check-in 

The days of shopping worry-free for necessities and amenities may feel like they’re in the past, but businesses are helping make them a reality once again with additional precautions, such as the use of digital appointment systems or virtual waitlist software. Digital appointment systems provide an online platform that shoppers can use to schedule an appointment prior to their arrival so they receive same-day service on a first-come first-served basis. They also help business owners gain insights into their day-to-day operations so they can streamline their staffing requirements and prepare for a safer environment from open to close. 

At NextME, we’ve taken our software one step further than appointment platforms. Our virtual waitlist software is a new category of service that helps cannabis dispensaries stay connected to their guests at all times through text communications and engagement with your store’s website. It enables more flexibility in scheduling, the ability to communicate real-time status so your customers feel seen and acknowledged, a platform that you can use to advertise new products or educate your clientele about your new waitlist process, and it allows for curbside pick-up for those that feel safer staying in their cars.

Guide to Making Cannabis Dispensaries Safer COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App - Enable Virtual Waiting Rooms and Contactless Check-in

Here’s how it works. Upon arrival, customers can either check-in and join the waitlist from their phones via your store’s website, or by scanning a customized QR code at your storefront. Both options allow for contactless check-in that can either be completed online or while standing at a safe distance outside your store. While waiting in their cars or outside, they can use the virtual waiting room to see their position in line and interact with your store’s online content. As soon as it’s safe for guests to enter or it’s their turn in line, they receive a text message notification. Same thing applies for those that prefer curbside pick-up.

Already have a preferred appointment system? No problem. NextME’s online waitlist can easily work as an added feature in conjunction with your existing system. As an added bonus, since our platform is SMS-based, your guests don’t need to download a separate app to use it! 

#2 Use Virtual Waiting Rooms to Communicate with Customers

Signage may be one of the oldest forms of advertising, but it’s still one of the most beneficial - especially when it’s digital. Dispensaries can use NextMe’s guest engagement page to communicate more than just the waitlist and check-in process to clientele. Specifically, you can use it to make up for the lack of customer-employee interaction that’s required by COVID-19’s enhanced safety protocols. For example, you could use our engagement page to: 

  • Outline your new waitlist and check-in process
  • Showcase products that help with certain ailments; 
  • Educate your customers on medical marijuana benefits; or 
  • Relate to your clientele with patient success stories. 

Strategically-implemented digital signage will let your customers know you’re there for and with them during these trying times, and can help make up for a lack of face-to-face interaction with your employees. 

#3 Employ Social Distancing Inside and Out

Social distancing is our new reality and several practices can be implemented to create more space for guests as they engage with your business. Due to the sensitivity of health concerns and the privacy of containing individual’s medical information, many cannabis dispensaries already restrict the number of customers within their retail store with physical waiting rooms, and upon entry they use aisle markers to section off the flow of traffic to well spaced out checkout stations. They also tend to utilize touchless surfaces to showcase their products and/or contain the bulk of what customers buy in a separate storage space. If you haven’t already implemented these practices, now is a good time to do so. 

In addition if your store is limited in square footage, please factor that into how many people you allow in at the same time. Offering curbside pickup is an excellent solution to remedy the situation in a responsible way. 

Guide to Making Cannabis Dispensaries Safer During COVID-19 - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

Lastly, another form of a physical barrier that is globally becoming well known during COVID-19 is a face covering or mask. Encourage and require both your customers and employees to wear face coverings while interacting within and around your cannabis dispensary. You can even utilize NextME’s text messaging system to let those waiting in their cars know when your staff will be delivering products so they can reapply their mask if needed. This will help protect everyone against the spread of potentially infectious germs, and is in alliance with the CDC safety guidelines

The keys to making cannabis dispensaries safer during COVID-19 are effective communication and a welcoming environment.

The keys to making your dispensary safer during COVID-19 are effective communication, which NextME’s waitlist software encourages, and a welcoming environment that offers a variety of purchasing options. Using our technology allows you to minimize crowds within your store to improve your guests' overall experiences, strategically implement digital signage which helps make up for a lack of customer-employee interaction, and receive real-time data that shows actual wait times and customer retention rates. When these tools are combined with valuable social distancing protocols, face masks, and the option of curbside pick-up, your customers will feel connected and confident enough to keep coming back. 

If you’re interested in learning how NextME’s virtual tools can help your dispensary operate safely and efficiently during the COVID pandemic and beyond, follow this link to reach out. Together we can make the difference in your clients’ new shopping experience.


NextME Virtual Waitlist App Official Partner for Dine Out West Lakeview Chicago, IL

How Virtual Waitlists Can Help Reopen the Economy During COVID-19

Businesses are reopening, but how can we encourage customers to come back safely during COVID-19?

We are in need of individual and economic healing

Coronavirus case numbers have been rising in more than 20 states, and businesses that have reopened at limited capacity are hobbling along in hopes that both the public and the economy will recover from this detrimental blow. With recent news of increasing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida, how can we create space for healing so people are confident enough to leave their homes and businesses are safely catering to their much needed arrival? 

NextME has a solution that’s safe, smart, and step-by-step 

NextME's online waitlist system helps consumers not only feel safe, but be safe as they return to their favorite restaurants and stores. Our smart approach eases traffic, enables contactless check-in options, eliminates crowded waiting rooms, and helps businesses follow the CDC’s guidelines on social distancing. With an easy-to-use step-by-step platform that utilizes a virtual waiting room, both customers and businesses can communicate real-time status with real-time results. 

Feel safe, be safe using a virtual waitlist 

It’s 4pm and you’re starting to think about what you want for dinner. Your mind begins to process different options when it lands on a Cubano wrap from the brewery 5 blocks away. From that point on, you can’t think of anything but the ham, pulled pork, and perfectly pickled delicacy that pairs so well with an amber beer. If only you could go knowing that 1) the brewery is practicing safe measures to minimize any risks you may be exposed to, 2) you can maintain social distancing throughout the entire experience, and 3) you won’t have to wait an unknown amount of time until you can sit to enjoy your meal. 

NextME Virtual Waitlist Keeps Customers Safe During COVID

Many people are just learning about NextME’s virtual waitlist app, and they are starting to associate it with a positive step in the right direction. When they see that they can sign in to a virtual waiting room and utilize contactless check-in features prior to arrival, they know that the business they are going to cares about their health and well-being without shutting their doors. Taking precautions that nurture the ability to maintain social distance until it’s time to enter the facility, while also communicating real-time status via the virtual platform, is proving to be beneficial to every party involved. These simple yet innovative web-based solutions help people feel safe and be safe when returning to their favorite businesses. 

Virtual waiting rooms keep guests engaged even when face-to-face communication is limited

Every last Friday of the month for the past few years, you get together with a small group of your best friends. In the past your group would meet at a local diner or spend the afternoon browsing your favorite storefronts, but this month is different and it’s been awhile since you’ve all gotten together. Now that some places are open, you’ve decided to make it happen and meet at a restaurant downtown. Beyond the challenge of making the decision to go, you're all still a little uneasy. You have no idea what's open and whether or not you'll all be able to be served. If only there was a way to know more...

NextME Virtual Waitlist - Smart virtual solutions that keep guests engaged

NextME’s virtual tools provide restaurants, hospitals, retail stores, and other businesses a smart solution as they invite guests to return without compromising their well-being. The virtual waiting room provides guests easy access to the queue management process and up-to-date content so they stay informed. It's a great way to make up for the lack of customer-employee interaction that’s required by COVID-19’s enhanced safety protocols. By removing the element of uncertainty, businesses and organizations can provide the best experience possible to their guests while also keeping them engaged. 

Step by step, supporting communities in need

You and your local community are suffering during this time period that some are calling “the most severe economic contraction since the Great Depression.” What can you do to help? What can you do to support your neighboring businesses while also following national guidelines? How can you avoid closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowds, and close contact with others yet still be an active member of society?

Dine Out West Lakeview in Chicago, Illinois is a prime example of how communities and businesses are working together to answer these very important questions. And they are doing it with NextME’s help. The Friends of Lakeview, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working with the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, is helping create outdoor dining rooms that will be shared by multiple local restaurants. The program will allow diners to enjoy food and alcoholic beverages from local restaurants in open air settings, while also using NextME’s virtual app to mitigate the crowds. 

NextME Virtual Waitlist App Official Partner for Dine Out West Lakeview Chicago, IL

NextME’s virtual app is both practical and informative. In the case of Dine Out West Lakeview, customers will be able to access important information about their community and learn more ways they can help, donate, or support specific causes while waiting within the virtual waiting room. With the ability to stay engaged, learn more, and click on ways to help, people will feel more connected to each other and the places they live. We all need resources and a sense of connection to survive, and together both individuals and businesses are finding ways to make sure those aspects are not lost within their valuable communities.

Be part of a success story

We all want to be part of a success story, and by joining NextME you’ll do precisely that. NextME has grown 1,102% since the start of the pandemic by helping reopen the economy and protecting people’s lives in the process. To continue the momentum, we are offering a referral program that gives individuals - such as yourself - the opportunity to spread the word. Learn more about our referral program so you can help create safe, smart, and step-by-step solutions for your community.  

 


6 Tips for Reopening Your Restaurant During COVID-19

As the nation begins to reopen following months of lockdown, people are itching to get back to their favorite restaurants. Welcoming customers back into your establishment might seem overwhelming with the stringent yet varying guidelines being provided for restaurant owners in each state. But there are steps you can take to help your restaurant reopen safely. 

6 Tips on Reopening Your Restaurant During COVID-19, and Essential Tools that Can Help

#1 Practice Social Distancing in Dining Areas

We’ve all been practicing social distancing in our neighborhoods to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Many of the practices we’ve adopted will need to be extended into your newly reopened dining rooms. To start, tables should be placed at least six feet apart in both indoor and outdoor spaces to minimize customer contact. When the room allows it, using physical barriers between tables can also help ensure social distancing is being upheld. Since most restaurants are reopening with limited capacity, these reorganizations of dining areas should be easier to achieve than they would have been just a few months ago. 

#2 Implement Virtual Waitlists and Virtual Waiting Rooms that Enable Contactless Check-In

Implement Virtual Waiting Rooms for COVID Restaurant Reopening - NextME

Like dining rooms, waiting areas create social distancing challenges. NextME can help alleviate this strain via our virtual waiting room and contactless check-in functionality. By simply embedding a customizable widget on your site, customers can join your waitlist directly from your site without ever setting foot on your premises. Alternatively, customers walking by can join the waitlist by scanning a customized QR code with their phones. And if you’re worried that diners will join the waitlist from too far away, you can implement geo barriers so guests can only join from within a certain area. This service can be leveraged for dine-in, curbside pickup, and carryout. Guests simply join virtually, wait wherever and however they want, and then head to your restaurant upon receiving a text that their table or order is ready for carryout.  It’s easy to tag customers in the system as either 'dine-in' or 'curbside' - and you can even switch between the two tags when needed to keep track of each customer’s reason for visit.  

What really sets NextME’s virtual waiting room apart is our guest engagement platform that allows you to display custom messaging and content to customers wherever they’re waiting - be it in their cars, in the restaurant, or on the sidewalk. This is a great way to make up for the limited customer-employee interaction that's required by COVID-19's enhanced safety protocols. 

#3 Utilize Outdoor Spaces As Much As Possible

There’s less chance of spreading COVID in outdoor spaces with open air. Reopening during the summer months means it’s the perfect time to lean heavily on patio space and open roofs, making them the most-used areas of your restaurant. To help with this, many cities and neighborhoods are closing down roads and sidewalks to open up additional seating for dining.

 

Utilize Outdoor Space for Restaurant Reopening COVID - NextME - Virtual Waiting Rooms and Waitlists

NextME’s SMS system is here to help you make the most of this newly apportioned outdoor space. Our text-based system is easy to use, and doesn’t require diners to download a separate app. Restaurants across the US are leveraging it for curbside pickups, carryout, and cocktails-to-go. You can even use our system to text delivery drivers when to check-in one-by-one to pick up their deliveries. The SMS system also allows customers to walk around the neighborhood or sit in their cars while they’re waiting for a table, as opposed to crowding the bar or waiting area.

Southport Grocery & Cafe in Chicago knows first-hand what a difference NextME can make in easing the customer experience. After experiencing bad reviews regarding long wait times, the popular brunch location revamped their waiting system with NextME to provide diners with accurate wait times and personal communication catered to their specific needs. 

#4 Use a Digital System that Enables Easy Contact Tracing

Use a Digital System that Enables Easy Contact Tracing - NextME Virtual Waitlist and Waiting Rooms - COVID

One of the newest ways restaurants are assisting in limiting the spread of COVID is through contact tracing. Many cities and states are asking restaurants that offer table seating to log customers’ contact information when they dine-in, which in turn will help trace people who have come in contact with the Coronavirus. NextME can help facilitate the secure and safe collection of customer contact information. Using our virtual waitlist technology, customers can easily check-in online by adding their contact information, thus helping your business collect the data needed to follow each state's contact tracing policies.  

#5 Require Masks and Provide Hand Sanitizer

After getting customers into your restaurant and seated safely, providing hand sanitizer and requiring both employees and patrons to wear masks when they aren’t at their tables will help limit the spread of any dangerous germs. Be sure masks worn by employees abide by the CDC safety guidelines

#6 Institute Employee Health Checks

Lastly, employee health checks can help ensure your workers and customers are entering the safest environment possible. Take employees’ temperatures before they start a shift. Encourage employees to stay home if they are feeling sick. You can even provide additional sick days and shift flexibility to ensure your employees feel comfortable taking the time they need if they’re feeling ill. 

Institute Employee Health Checks COVID Restaurant Reopening - NextME Virtual Waitlist Waiting Rooms

Effective communication and creation of a safe, welcoming environment is the key to reopening safely in the midst of the COVID pandemic. 

And staying safe means eliminating overcrowding in dining rooms and waiting areas. NextME's suite of virtual tools can help by enabling contactless check-in, SMS-based waitlists, and virtual waiting rooms that display your customized content and information to guests as they wait. No need for diners to download a separate app. No need for guests to arrive until the minute their table or orders are ready, or for delivery drivers to crowd your entrance waiting for orders. If you want to learn more about virtualizing and optimizing your dine-in, curbside, and carryout processes, reach out.


5 Tips for Arranging Individual Meetings at B2B Events

B2B conferences and trade shows are a great way to generate leads and connect with potential clients. But if they’re not well managed, they can be chaotic and unhelpful. Be sure you’re getting quality time with visitors to your event booth by setting up individual meetings at conferences. 

If you’ve never thought of or tried one on one meetings at large events, you may not know where to start. If you’ve used this tactic at conferences and trade shows, you likely know how impactful it can be. But were you getting the most bang for your B2B buck? 

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at Conferences

Schedule in Advance

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at B2B Conferences NextME Waitlist AppIdeally, you’d like to start off the conference with plenty of one on one meetings already on the books. But those meetings aren’t just going to fall into your lap. To make the most of your marketing efforts, you need to start with outreach in advance. For most companies, about 4 months out seems to be the sweet spot. 

Start by mentioning the event to clients in that area and others who you think might be interested. Ask if they’ll be attending. Offer to give them a face-to-face demo or some one-on-one training while you’re in town. In addition to promoting your booth number, send your leads a Calendly link to easily book appointments ahead of time.

You’ll want to schedule as many clients as you can before the event, but also be sure to leave room in your schedule for walk-ups too. If you have enough interest, it might be worth sending additional representatives to handle the overflow.

Keep Things Organized and Moving

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at B2B Conferences NextME Waitlist App - Next ConferenceWhen scheduling meetings, the last thing you want is to force attendees to stand around your booth waiting for their turn. It’s inefficient and looks incredibly unprofessional. And it’s likely to turn away more clients than you’ll ever realize. Fortunately, there are excellent tech solutions like NextME to help you manage an event waitlist. 

This simple-to-use waitlist app will make it a breeze to keep track of your meetings and appointments, add in walk-ups, and allow visitors to monitor their place in line as they check out other booths or take advantage of networking opportunities. With a simple text message to their phones, you’ll also get to push out a custom marketing page, giving attendees a taste of the topics they might want to discuss when their turn comes. 

Listen as Much as You Talk

It’s easy to get sucked into a trap. You spend days or weeks carefully crafting the perfect sales pitch for your conference meetings. You prepare, rehearse, and know your talking points inside and out. And then you get to sit down with clients and prospects who want to talk about something else and all that prep is out the window. 

It could be that each client has a different agenda for the meeting. One may want you to show them how a specific feature works. The next might want to discuss ROI. A third might want to see your product in action. And a fourth may want you to help troubleshoot some difficulties they’ve been having.

In general, it’s best to have some idea of what to talk about should the client not have specific questions, but don’t rely too heavily on this idea. You should approach these one-on-one appointments with an intention to listen more than you talk. Avoid a set agenda or pitch and instead take the time to really connect to your prospects or clients. Creating a good relationship with them is a better tactic than any pitch anyway.

Be a Good Host

Best Practices for Creating 1:1 Meetings at B2B Conferences NextME Waitlist App - Be A Good Host

Again, you should remember that this is at least as much about relationships and building rapport as it is about marketing. As such, it’s important to remember that you’re a host welcoming a visitor into your event. Respect your clients’ time. Offer them a beverage or snacks if appropriate. Make sure they’re comfortable and at ease. You want them to walk away with a positive feeling about you and your brand, even if they don’t intend to purchase. Create a good enough impression, and they’re likely to speak positively about your brand to others at the event. And we all know the value of good word of mouth.  

Follow Up After the Event

Remember to collect client contact details as you meet with each person on your schedule. If you’ve implemented a waitlist app like NextME, you likely have this info already recorded. You’ll also get plenty of data from your event to help you make the most of each opportunity. And you’ll have lots of analytics to help you plan your next event too!

It may also be helpful to include a few brief notes about the things each client wanted to discuss or your own insights into what might be beneficial to their company. At the end of each appointment, ask when would be a good time to follow up. And most importantly, follow through with every client or prospect, every time. This is your chance to show them that you are reliable and that you appreciate that they took the time to meet. 

Ready to start scheduling meetings for an upcoming event? Give NextME a call to see how we can help you make the most of one-on-one meetings. 


NextME Waitlist App - Top CRM Consultants in Chicago by Clutch

NextME Featured on Clutch’s 2019 Top CRM Consultant Report

Clutch Top CRM Consultants 2019 NextME Waitlist App

NextME Appointment Waitlist App Wins Top Honors from Clutch

NextME is the ultimate solution for helping various businesses, event organizers, exhibitors, and restaurants effectively manage their appointments and waitlists while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. As technology develops, virtual solutions are being used more frequently as a method to manage customer relations, which includes managing a queue if you’re an appointment-based business. Due to our success in improving appointment and waitlist management across industries, we have earned a Clutch award for being one of the top CRM consultants in Chicago.

Located in Washington, DC, Clutch is a ratings and reviews startup dedicated to B2B service firms. Since 2013, Clutch’s platform has connected thousands of prospective buyers with service providers for their business needs. By carefully analyzing industry data and conducting their signature client interviews, the Clutch analysts are able to rank and rate the top companies in a variety of industries. We are very grateful to NextME’s clients for taking the time to participate in the interview process. 

Along with our rating on the main Clutch page, we have been featured on The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister-sites of Clutch. The Manifest is a business news platform featuring how-to guides, state of tech news and industry rankings. We can be found listed among the top CRM consultants on The Manifest. Visual Objects is designed to highlight the work of a wide variety of creative agencies ranging from advertisers to software developers. Each Clutch listing offers buyers a unique look into what we can offer to clients. 

We are thrilled to have been selected for these awards. Going forward, we hope to grow our client base and expand our brand. If your business could use help optimizing your appointment and waitlist operations, let’s get in touch today!