These are no doubt challenging times, and signs point to things getting worse before they get better.

Many businesses need to urgently make social distancing a core feature of their customer experience in order to stay in business.

Online queue management services like the one we build at Waitwhile has proven to be very efficient at helping with exactly this.

Here are ways you can use virtual queuing to manage how customers interact with your business - and remain open while keeping both customers and employees safe.

3 ways businesses use Waitwhile during COVID-19

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New Seasons Market, a neighborhood style grocery store in the US, approached Waitwhile with a challenge that many retail based businesses were suddenly faced with during the COVID-19 crisis; how to continue to keep the doors open while limiting the number of people that could be in the store at any given time.

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As an essential business, they knew they needed a way to let their customers know when it would be their turn to shop without the customer having to touch a kiosk or stand in crowds waiting outside. While virtual queuing systems like Waitwhile were built ‘pre COVID-19’ to free up a customer’s time, now these cloud based waitlists make it possible for businesses to keep their doors open while controlling the flow of customers that come through their doors.

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Some economists are estimating 47 million American’s will have lost their jobs as a result of COVID 19 in 2020.

Unemployment offices like Workforce KS will be ready to combat those lines when their offices reopen to the public. Job seekers can log on to the Workforce KS website, see how many people are already on the list, then join the waitlist from anywhere.

Even when their offices are closed, employees still use Waitwhile to manage the large number of phone calls they have coming in every day. People are added to the list and employees call back based on who was first, answer questions for eager and anxious job seekers.

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Saint Francis Veterinary Center of South Jersey, the North American Accredited Practice of the Year (awarded by the American Animal Hospital Association) uses a virtual queue including Waitwhile to not only pre-screen more than 40,000 patient visits per year, but also to help establish social distancing during COVID-19.

They have their clients sign-in from their car using Waitwhile upon arrival, and attached to the Waitwhile queue they utilize their website, SaintFrancis.org, to screen client COVID symptoms as well as patient information necessary to carry out the patient visit. Saint Francis calls Waitwhile “an invaluable tool to manage caseload during COVID-19” and indicates they will “use Waitwhile long after COVID-19 has passed given the positive client response and greater efficiency it has created.”

This is only some of the ways cloud based waitlists can help ‘flatten the curve’ and create the distance your business needs in order to continue to serve customers. Need some ideas on how a waitlist app like Waitwhile can help your business? Check out some below:

Don’t Cancel Your Planned Event - Move It online.

We know it’s not the same, but enjoying something unique in the comfort of your own couch is fun, too! Use a common screen sharing/video conferencing platform and schedule out appointments and meet on the Cloud. Waitwhile can be used to schedule virtual events and in your sms messages, you can include video links in for your attendees to join.

Universities and Schools - Office Hours Ready to Go!

Give a whole new meaning to ‘social distancing and office hours’ by scheduling out phone conversations or virtual meeting times. Many universities are using Waitwhile’s powerful scheduling abilities to gather needed information from their students for a phone call, and allowing them to pick a time that works best for them to have a conversation.

Government and Essential Organizations, too!

Large organizations like Animal Shelters, Police Departments, County Clerks, offices, and many more have moved to a virtual queuing waitlist. This allows customers to join the waitlist from wherever they like, then wait in their cars or at home before it’s time to be helped at the government agency.

And of course, Hospitals and ER Emergency Rooms...

Have your patients wait wherever is most comfortable (and safest for them) by using kiosk or internet check in. Saving the Waitlist Check-In urls to a website with QR code makes it easy for customers to sign up with little effort, and then wait in the best place before it’s their turn to see the Doctor.

How are you using virtual queuing to help manage crowds at your businesses? Tell us in the comments below!