What is Waitlist Management?

Waitlist Management is the practice of using various systems to help businesses and administrations tactically manage the flow of customers and people. Due to the common problems experienced by locations with high traffic or businesses with high demand, a variety of different methods are used to handle sharp spikes in traffic. There are three predominant strategies associated with waitlist management:

1. Traditional 1-Line- A long line is always a sign of a healthy thriving business. However, the aesthetic of a long line is enough to impulse prospective customers away from engaging with the business in favor of a competitor or alternative. It also increases the level of customer frustration, customer expectation, and customer demand. Although the Traditional 1-Line system is the most inefficient method, it has one very powerful benefit - it is the most intuitive and expected method. Since most people are naturally resistant to change in common patterns and habits, alternative Waitlist Management tactics are encountered with resistance and confusion.

2. Pager System- Pioneered by some major American franchises like Panera Bread, this strategy is becoming increasingly popular. When the customer wants to engage with the business and enter the queue, they instantly receive a pager to hold on to with a certain radius of signal reception which will alert the customer when it is their turn. This eliminates the aesthetic of a long line because it allows customers to remain mobile while reserving their position in a queue. Although the cost of a page system may be a significant expense for a business, it will almost always pay off in the long run as long as the business remains solvent.

3. Smartphone Application - Through the use of a smartphone with the ability to scan a QR Code, a customer can simply walk into the point of service and scan the given QR Code to assume and reserve their position in the queue. Additionally, newer technology has allowed for location-based queue entry which allows customers to automatically get in line at a business without even scanning the code based on their geographic vicinity from the physical point of service location. The customer is given full mobility and when it is their turn in the queue they'll receive either an automatic notification. These systems are simple to install and cheap to operate, so they access all the benefits of an efficient Waitlist Management tactic.