Businesses Using NextME Benefit From Post-Covid Boom

“Nearly nine in 10 American travelers have plans to travel in the next six months – a new pandemic high” - Forbes

“Expedia says that travelers plan to spend an average of $3,444 for their next trips” and “42% of travelers are “more hopeful” about travel or drove them to book an upcoming trip.” - Adweek

Americans are traveling again, finally. After many months of forced captivation it’s no surprise that people are ready to go somewhere far, far away. People are road tripping with their families, booking flights to new and exciting destinations, and spending money at businesses along the way.

Due to the influx of demand, the travel industry itself is kind of a “mess” right now, but businesses in destination areas, old and new, don’t mind as they are seeing crowds of customers for the first time in over a year. Knowing that it might have been rough getting there, it's important now for your guests to feel welcome the second they arrive. If there was ever a time to get a waitlist management system, it’s now. Queue it up!

Guest experience is everything, and that starts with the check in/waitlist process. What can I do when I wait? What position am I in line? Can I drink at your bar? After a simple check-in, all of these questions can be answered with your custom Virtual Waiting Room. Aside from the annoyance and discomfort of physical lines, safety is still paramount for some travelers, especially those with unvaccinated children. Eliminating crowds at the door and keeping people informed is a must.

Iconic Restaurant Group Thrives with Virtual Waitlist App

Cheeseburger in Paradise sits right on the beach in Maui and offers, among other things, “great big gooey, five napkin” cheeseburgers in one of the most gorgeous places on earth. Cheeseburger in Paradise, which is in no way affiliated with the famous singer that shall not be named, is tapping into the post-covid travel boom just based on their location alone. 

With wait times stretching over 2 hours, Cheeseburger in Paradise want to keep their waiting guests happy and informed during that time. Before NextME came into the picture, the staff would call people individually and yell out names until their guests made their way back to the restaurant. This, of course, took a lot of time and staff power. More importantly, this method left seats empty when they could be filled more promptly. Since implementing NextME, their table turns have increased by 286%. 

“We’re turning tables much faster because we don’t have to wait for the guest to return. They already know. And the customers enjoy themselves more while they wait, they don’t have to just stand there in line”  - Bryan Bell, Manager

When dealing with long wait times, engagement, and communication are key to improving guest retention. Now guests waiting for a table at Cheeseburger in Paradise can view their position in line through their custom Virtual Waiting Room while they walk around beautiful Lahaina and take in the sites. Most importantly, they can gauge when they need to back so they’re on time for their table when it opens up. Engaged, updated, and on time. 

NextME’s Waitlist Management System Helps Your Bottom Line

After this success, The Cheeseburger Restaurant Group has implemented NextME’s waitlist app at their sister location and their Waikiki Brewery locations all over Hawaii.  Let’s make everyone's vacation a little more special this year, and help your bottom line along the way. Restaurants, bars, retail shops, and bustling businesses across the country are benefiting from how quick, easy, and helpful the app truly is. Cheeseburger in Paradise is just one example of delicious success.

Learn more about how NextME’s system can help boost your business right now by booking a demo with one of our friendly representatives. Itching to get started? Download the app from the app store and start your free trial!


Brewery Flourishes with NextME's Virtual Waiting Room

Brewery Flourishes with NextME's Virtual Waiting Room

Businesses with Outdoor Seating, Get Ready to Thrive with NextME

“The stimulus-fueled economy is rebounding and Americans are again spending on shopping, traveling, and eating out.” - CNN Business

“The economy is just starting a boom period, where second-quarter growth could top 10%, and 2021 could be the strongest year since 1984.” - CNBC News

Capacity limits are lifting, spring is in the air, and people are flocking to local businesses that offer outdoor seating. With a large part of the population vaccinated and the warm weather prompting a sense of comfort, patios are expected to be all the rave. Breweries, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are seeing an influx in business, and those utilizing virtual waiting rooms to help run the show are benefiting. 

Now that your customers are stepping back into the groove of things, it’s important to ensure they have the best experience possible. One way to do this is by implementing innovative solutions that offer up-to-date data, queue management, marketing opportunities, and most importantly, customer satisfaction. The technology is so easy to use it makes Baby Boomers and Gen Xers feel as confident as Millennials when they engage with the software. 

Pyres Brewery in Minneapolis, MN is a perfect example of a business that’s booming after the introduction of NextME’s virtual waitlist platform. The taproom and outdoor beer garden are flourishing with the new change. Alex Krajec, the Bar Manager, calls it an “immediate change for the better. Now the first interaction with our guest is positive, even when there’s a wait. Guests are happy and the hosts are happier than ever.” 

 

Brewery Flourishes with NextME's Virtual Waiting Room - Pryes Brewery

Local Brewery Benefits From NextME’s Virtual Waitlist App

More is better, until the moment more becomes too much and supply falls victim to exuberant demands. With increasing popularity, people are drawn to locations that provide quality craft beers. And Pyres Brewery is no exception. With more people walking through their doors, it has been inevitable that more people are having to wait, and let’s face it, no one likes waiting. So how has Pyres Brewery been managing the crowds in a way that not only encourages more business, but makes everyone happier throughout the process? They use the NextME app. 

NextME’s self check-in feature allows users to fill out a custom intake form prior to admittance so they can better communicate their preferences. Questions such as whether they would like to sit inside or outside can be addressed, as well as number of guests, seating requirements, and several other pertinent details. 

The online platform allows guests to view the menu from their phones so the second a space is available, they can order their Main Squeeze Blonde Ale or Peace Offering Cold Press Stout. It also can be set up to communicate specials or when a new keg has been tapped to keep patrons engaged with up-to-date information while they wait.

The brewery has been experiencing huge rushes, especially on the weekends. Before NextME, they used Google Sheets to organize their waitlist manually. This was an incredibly tedious and time-consuming process that required them to individually call people when their table was ready. Now the NextME app does this for them. It tracks their queue, relates real-time results, and communicates directly to the customer’s phone once it's their turn to come in. 

So far it has been an absolute success and Ryan Krajac, the Bar Manager, says, “Overall a better experience for everyone.” Which is exactly what every thriving business wants to be able to say at the end of the day. 

How NextMe’s Waitlist App Helps Build Beer-Loving Communities

Waitlist technology has become one of the pandemic’s silver linings. It’s proven to be a viable solution for achieving new standards, connecting clients to valuable information, and helping everyone feel more comfortable as they re-engage with their communities. Breweries, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are benefiting from how quick, easy, and helpful the app truly is. Pyres Brewery being just one example of success.  

If you’re interested in learning how NextME’s virtual tools can streamline your business’s operations in a safe and efficient manner, follow this link to contact us. Together we can form long-lasting solutions that promote positive experiences for everyone involved. 

 


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. 


Waitlist Technology Helps Businesses Reopen Successfully

Mobile Waitlist Apps Help Businesses Thrive in a New Economy

Waitlist Technology Helps Businesses Reopen Successfully - NextME Virtual Waitlist App

There is light at the end of the global pandemic now that vaccinations are being rapidly administered worldwide. And this means businesses are chomping at the bit to reopen in a safe and efficient manner. As spring and the ease of COVID-19 restrictions provide a sense of economic rejuvenation, retail shopping and in-person events will be in high demand. Adjusting to a new normal is to be expected, and adaptive technologies that offer innovative appointment, waitlist, and queue management systems are making it safer and easier to do so.

Some challenges businesses and event organizers are facing include: 

  • Long wait times creating overcrowded areas
  • Customers and local residents complaining about long lines
  • Staff feeling overwhelmed with managing the influx of people
  • Issues managing the higher demand in a fair and orderly fashion
  • Challenges communicating with guests before and during events
  • High call volumes about wait times and the customer check-in process 

NextME virtual waitlist app offers customized solutions to help mitigate and manage these challenges. Their schedule, waitlist, and queue management software provides businesses with innovative solutions that either drastically reduce or eliminate physical lines so that customers feel safer on the premises. They also provide the staff with relevant and useful information so they can create a real-time strategy in managing a higher demand. Popfancy, a boutique creamery and catering business that is famous for their “Fan-Cafe” pop-up events, is a prime example of how NextME can help businesses and events thrive.

Pop-Up Event Benefits From Mobile Waitlist App 

Popfancy hosts booths at Houston’s largest city-wide festivals, fundraisers, trade shows, and events. Their “Fan Cafe” pop-up events focus on niche themes, such as gaming and anime. With their offering of all-natural, ice-cold, healthy desserts in a smattering of gourmet flavor combinations, their popularity has been growing exponentially. With explosive popularity growth comes increasing queues and wait times. In fact, Pop Fancy's last event (before implementing NextME) had lines with wait times of up to 5 hours, which is incredible! To assuage the excessive wait time issue, Popfancy started utilizing stand-by admission software that promotes a virtual line and waiting room. Here's how it works...

Stand-By Admissions Helps Mitigate 5 Hour Wait Times

Waitlist Technology Helps Businesses Reopen Successfully - NextME Virtual Waitlist App - Popfancy Pop-up Events

NextMe helped Fan Cafe pop-up events implement a Stand-By Admissions process that drastically reduced their lines. This, in turn, boosted customer morale, built brand loyalty, eliminated neighborhood complaints, and maintained overall sales. The Stand-By Admissions process is simple and guarantees entrance via an advance reservations line on the event site, or the ability to join a free “virtual standy-by line” on event day. 

Here’s how it works:  

Step 1: Virtual Line opens at 12 PM on Event Day. Attendees visit their website to book a reservation for 1-10 people, join the standy-by admission waitlist, or follow the link provided in their Instagram stories for the most current updates on walk-ins.

Step 2: Once guests are within the queue, they have the freedom to mingle, converse with friends, or do whatever they please as they monitor their position in line via the VWR (Virtual Waiting Room) on their phones via any web browser. There’s no need to download a separate mobile app for use. 

Step 3: Guests receive a text alert and have 1 hour to check in at that time. 

Please note the check in time can be altered to suit your particular businesses’ needs.

The results of implementing this technology were outstanding:

  • 95% positive feedback from the customer base, and 
  • Total sales from the event matching their previous event, which had 2x the number of guests!

Popfancy owner, Chris Doan commented, “This was a total 180 from completely chaotic to smooth. Helped us pace everything out perfectly. Very chill compared to the last event. Very user-friendly. Oh, and we definitely kept up with demand.”

Waitlist Technology Helps Businesses Reopen Successfully - NextME Virtual Waitlist App - Popfancy Implements NextME to Reduce Long Lines

How NextMe’s Virtual Waitlist App Can Help Your Business or Event Business

Things have been closed for over a year and people are ready to do just about anything to return to normalcy. Consumers are looking for ways they can re-engage with the businesses they love and trust, whereby businesses are seeking innovative solutions for how to reopen safely and successfully. As COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, retail businesses and events are benefiting from the addition or modernization of their outdated waitlist system, and Popfancy is a prime example.

At NextME, we’ve taken our software one step further than reservation platforms. Our virtual waitlist system is a new category of service that helps organizations stay connected to their customers at all times, thus increasing customer retention and overall satisfaction. Beyond helping eliminate long lines that deter and irritate your clientele, you can improve your customers’ experiences by providing important information as it relates to your establishment. It’s a win-win for everyone.

If you’re interested in learning how NextME’s virtual tools can streamline your business operations in a safe and efficient manner, follow this link to contact us. Together we can tackle the challenges associated with reopening your business or event.


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.


How Queue Management and Virtual Waiting Rooms Helped a Charity Bless 320 Kids With Gifts | NextME Waitlist App

How a Local Charity Teamed up with NextME for Their Annual Toy Drive

How Queue Management and Virtual Waiting Rooms Helped a Charity Bless 320 Kids With Gifts | NextME Online Waitlist

How Queue Management and Virtual Waiting Rooms Helped a Charity Bless 320 Kids with Gifts

1 Village, a non-profit organization located in metro Atlanta, has the fundamental goal of “helping communities better themselves”. Each year on Christmas Eve, they host a much anticipated toy drive for families in need. 1 Village works tirelessly throughout the year gathering donations and building sponsorships. Even the Spyder Squad ATL (motorcycle club) dropped off loads of gifts for the event this year.

The Problem: Health and Safety Measures. Outdated Check-in Processes

They had the gifts and sponsors but organizers were facing tough challenges this year due to restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic. They needed to tackle their intake and check-in process. 1 Village decided to digitize the way they held events to ensure everyone’s safety. The answer? A modern waitlist solution with a Virtual Waiting Room and QR codes. 

The Solution: A Queue Management System with a Virtual Waiting Room

1 Village teamed up with NextME to employ a waitlist management system for the event. They customized their Virtual Waiting Room and Self Check-In features based on their specific needs. And after some quick and friendly onboarding from NextME staff, the organizers we’re ready to take on the event. (we supplied our service for free)

How Queue Management and Virtual Waiting Rooms Helped a Charity Bless 320 Kids With Gifts | NextME Waitlist App

How It Went

“The app was definitely helpful and fairly easy to use... Overall it was a good day. We were able to bless 320 kids with gifts. - Niesha (Nikki) Hicks, Co-Founder

  • The organizers had implemented a pre-registration process ahead of the event (to ensure they had enough supplies for the demand this year)
  • When a guest arrived at the event, they checked in by scanning a QR code on one of their many check-in signs located outside. 
  • The guest filled out their custom form and jumped on the waitlist
  • Organizers filtered each guest coming on to the waitlist into their respective queues, based on their party size and pre-registration status
  • While the guest waited in their car, they were engaged in the Virtual Waiting Room - updating them on their spot in line, highlighting different sponsors, and capturing their emails in order to reach out to them for future events. 
  • When space opened up inside, the organizer simply notified the next guest in line via the NextME App.
  • The guest received the final text to come inside, with instructions on where to enter the building. 
  • Gifts and smiles all around - with an email to attend their next event on the way. 

1 Village plans on using NextME at all of their future events, pandemic or not. From a managerial perspective, NextME increased throughput and efficiency which helped the event run smoothly. And from a guest perspective, the Self Check-In and Virtual Waiting Room features provided them with a better guest experience - and that made their day a little more special. 

If you’d like to donate to 1 Village, contact Nikki at [email protected]

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 Ways to Prep Your Retail Store for the Pandemic Holiday Season - NextME Queue Management App

5 Ways to Prep Your Retail Store for the Pandemic Holiday Season

The ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic is creating numerous conundrums for retailers during the busiest time of the year - the holiday season. As individuals try to cope with the consequences of a Pandemic Holiday - Halloween without trick-or-treaters, Thanksgiving without large gatherings, and December without parties - retailers are struggling to determine how to turn a profit during Black Friday and the holiday season without encouraging large in-person crowds. Fortunately, technology can help. Below is a list of five actions retailers can take to keep shoppers safe and spending money during this crucial time of year.

5 Ways to Prep Your Retail Store for the Pandemic Holiday Season - NextME Virtual Waitlist AppHow to Prepare for the Holiday Shopping Season in the Time of COVID-19

Eliminate crowded waiting rooms and long lines without forcing customers to wait outside in the cold

5 Ways to Prep Your Retail Store for the Pandemic Holiday Season - NextME Online Waitlist AppRetailers are faced with a catch-22 this year. Due to social distancing capacity limitations, you can't allow large crowds in your stores. However, sending people outside to wait in the cold for an indeterminate amount of time is as good as sending them to your competitors that don't have long waits. How do stores eliminate long lines without turning customers away, or losing them? One of the best ways to do this is by utilizing a virtual waitlist platform, such as NextME, that allows customers to join the waitlist either at your store (in-person or by scanning a QR code) or online from your site before they arrive. This system can then text notify patrons where they are in line, thus allowing them to wait wherever and however they want. No need to wait in the snow in a queue, or even arrive at the store before their turn.

Keep track of customers while serving at limited capacity

As stated above, sending a customer outside to wait in the cold is as good as sending them to another store. The key to making limited capacity work is to effectively keep track of and communicate with your customers who are waiting their turn to enter your shop. NextME's SMS-based platform provides a number of ways to communicate with and keep tabs on your guests. Specifically, the platform automatically texts them important updates, and also gives them access to a virtual waiting room (discussed in more detail below) that provides more general updates. You also can easily filter your waitlist by curbside pick-up versus in-person customers and tailor your messaging to each group. Finally, NextME makes it easy for you to export customer data for COVID tracing purposes.

Make use of virtual waiting rooms to engage with customers

NextME's virtual waiting room is a great tool for filling some of the customer service void that's been created by COVID's social distancing protocols. Retailers can customize their virtual waiting rooms however they want. For example, a great use for this feature is to answer common questions guests have, such as: Are your most popular products in stock? Where to find the more popular products in your store? What discounts and specials are you running? By making effective use of the virtual waiting room, you keep guests informed, happy, and safe.

Allow for online shopping and ordering ahead

5 Ways to Prep Your Retail Store for the Pandemic Holiday Season - NextME Waitlist App

The internet is a magical thing. If your online ordering and shopping system is really streamlined and effective, you may be able to make your holiday profits without a single customer entering your store. Creating a stellar online shopping experience goes beyond building a great eCommerce site (although this is a critical first step). You also need to effectively enable curbside pickup and mobile ordering / communication. Again, NextME to the rescue. Our platform seamlessly integrates the entire process of a customer browsing and ordering online for in-store or curbside pick-up, then receiving SMS updates to let them know when to pick up their order. They can even check their position in line in real-time from their phones!

Use technology to improve operational efficiency and throughput

One of the few silver linings of the Coronavirus Pandemic is that it has given businesses an opportunity to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. And the more efficient you are, the easier it is to follow social distancing guidelines. This is where NextME really excels. Our platform is proven to increase guest throughput and help clients retain up to 35% more customers. One key to this is displaying accurate wait times, which reduces the number of calls from customers asking how long the wait is. Another important aspect is our predictive analytics, which help clients staff effectively during the busiest times of the day.

 


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.