History of Archaic “Wait App” Systems for Business
The idea of eliminating the need for a line is by no means a unique one. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single person that has interacted with a crowded service that didn’t spend some of their agonizing wait time trying to scheme some way of eliminating them altogether. However, in terms of completely eliminating the idea of a line, wait, or queue time, several practical and logistic questions are raised, and they often stump those who attempt to overcome this hurdle. There has been a long and often frustrating history of archaic “wait apps” in business applications fraught with bugs, oversights, and short-term thinking.
App developers are no strangers to the absolutely inherent anger that arises in consumers when being put on a waitlist. A huge number of startups have been doomed right out of the gate, simply because they are put on a waitlist, inciting the fury of tweeters and bloggers the world over. This leads to some very bad PR, which can be bad for a business that is just getting started.
For better or for worse, our entire culture of product is based on a standard of instant gratification. If they can’t get it now, not only will they go somewhere else, they’ll take the time to tell the world about their frustration, meaning disaster for the service that they just left. People hate to wait, so when you’re designing an app specifically with the function of altering the wait time and (hopefully) minimizing it, you’re starting out in an area where you’re walking on eggshells by default. So why are wait apps so difficult to get right? And where have businesses gone wrong?
The idea of a world where one would not have to stand around idly while waiting for service is as old as services themselves. However, there are certain landmarks that have pushed the idea forward. One of the very first and most prominent is a successful app known as Nowait. However, in the world today, you would only know it as Yelp Waitlist. Unlike some other wait apps, Nowait was focused exclusively on restaurants. Before it sold to Yelp in 2017 however, it had gained traction in many restaurants across the nation as an exclusive cellular service.
There is a multitude of clone apps that more or less do the same thing, but they all have a couple of inherent flaws. The first is that several are myopic enough to only center their focus around the service industry. Waiting in line for dinner is certainly mildly frustrating, but it is hardly the most aggravating experience in terms of waiting. There are several more prudent business applications that are ripe for wait app use. The other flaw is altogether more horrifying, and that is the tendency of these apps to be highly irresponsible with the private data of their users.
Poor Data Collection
Of course, at any point in our development of more convenient services, there’s a group standing by waiting to take advantage of it. In the case of wait apps, it’s those who would collect data and sell it to other restaurants or services or even third party companies.
No doubt, some degree of customer identification has been necessary for wait apps to remain functional as a practical business applications.
But in some instances, consumers have found that they are made to feel uncomfortable with the amount of data being collected. Some customers have taken issue with the fact that some services require a customer sign in even when there is no wait time for a service. Collecting service data is necessary when running a business, but when the customer begins to feel uncomfortable, there is no point. This has accounted for the decline and even failure of many wait apps.
QLess is a unique solution to many concerns across the board of wait apps, and finds a home in certain services that waitlist technologies have neglected. If you’re a human, odds are you’ve experienced the absolute distress of waiting in the DMV or at the DDS. However, governmental offices such as these are often overlooked by app developers who for whatever reason favor the service industry.
QLess has a bit more foresight in regard to problems caused by waits. From government agencies to services on college campuses, QLess has drastically reduced wait time as well as walkaways, one of the biggest problems with more archaic wait apps. Focusing on increasing productivity, QLess does what wait apps have been unable to do in the past.