When someone decides to join your organisation, they are full of excitement and anticipation. But what happens to that member or customer when they are placed on a waiting list?
Without proper management, their motivation and eagerness can start to be affected.
Having a waiting list can prove to potential members or customers that the organisation is in high demand, and therefore worth waiting for a space to become available. However, when a waiting list is poorly managed, members may feel left out and may start looking at other options.
What are the challenges of a waiting list?
Like most things in business, they have their pros and cons. Waiting lists are great since it lets you know how much demand the session or class is receiving from potential members.
A waiting list without the correct management may cause a lot of admin headaches and potential members are likely to drop off before converting.
The main challenge of waiting lists is communication. You know that the wait for your sessions is worth it, but you need to make sure that they know that as well. Whether it’s a week, month or a term down the line, you want them to still want to join once it’s their turn.
Struggling to get members to join your club? Discover our article on how to attract new members with free trials.
Regardless of the type of club or organisation you run, waiting lists can help to ensure you have a steady flow of new members or customers coming in.
How to streamline your waiting list
Implementing a waiting list management strategy can help to improve potential members’ satisfaction. A positive experience with your club doesn’t need to start from the first session; it can begin as soon as they show interest in joining. Having a bad waiting list experience will limit the chances of converting them into paying customers.
The most effective waiting list management keeps members’ interested by keeping them warm and nurtured until a spot opens up.
If you are a class provider, for example, maintaining a waiting list will help you to ensure that you have a consistent stream of new students.
Use software to manage your waiting lists
Manually managing your waiting list can be a hassle, but that doesn’t have to be the case. The use of technology software can streamline your waiting lists and improve your club’s efficiency.
LoveAdmin’s class management software makes it easy for you to manage your waiting lists. At a glance, administrators can see how many people are waiting for a class and assign them a spot when one becomes available, or let the software do it automatically. Even if you have last-minute cancellations, you can open up the spot and allow others on the list to have the opportunity to attend the session.
You can even implement different waiting list strategies. For example, you might opt for a first in first out approach or perhaps first come, first served works better for your organisation. Another option is for when a space becomes available to offer it to a related party, like a sibling. LoveAdmin’s software can easily handle each of these approaches, so you can sit back and let the system do the work for you.
Read how we helped Delta Trampoline Club easily manage their waiting lists so their team can spend more time doing what they love – like teaching trampolining!
Maintain optimal class capacity
You can ensure optimal class capacity by automating your waiting lists. Making sure your classes are not under or overfilled provides a steady income stream, maximises revenue opportunities and improves member experience.
Keep members happy with regular updates
Think of a waiting list as your reception area. You wouldn’t let visitors walk into your reception without any acknowledgement or leave them without anything to educate or entertain them while they wait. Your waiting list should be approached in the same way.
Keep waiting list members engaged by providing consistent and valuable content. Send targeted emails, blog posts, social media posts, or YouTube videos that are relevant to what you offer. You’re essentially making them want to be a part of your club by getting them involved and excited about joining.
Plan a series of emails that contain the valuable information mentioned above and tell them more about your club. Introduce those who work at the club, such as coaches, instructors, and anyone else who they might meet when they join. Provide them with customer testimonials from happy members and even consider answering any common FAQs they may have before they join.
LoveAdmin’s class and course management software can help you to keep your members informed along every part of their journey. From the moment they enquire to when they are fully fledged members.
Discover more about how to improve your member journey here.
Why should you automate your waiting lists?
Automating your waiting lists can help to improve potential members’ experience as well as make your general class management easier – it also saves you so much time. After all, who doesn’t want to have their classes run at full capacity?
Some of the benefits of automating your waiting lists are:
- You can view your waitlists in real-time – Managing any waiting list manually is always going to be laborious. Even more so for seasonal classes where you may see demand rise and fall throughout the year. When a spot becomes available, the next person in line will automatically fill it. You can then keep on top of your waiting members with minimal effort
- Keep track of your waiting list – If you are using paper forms or spreadsheets to currently track your waiting list then you will appreciate how much of a headache this can cause. Automating your waiting lists means you no longer have to worry about missing anybody out and you can even view all their information in just a few clicks
- Ensure a fair process – As much as you can try, manually going through your waiting lists is bound to cause some issues. Providing fair access to your classes is not always easy. Automating your waiting lists means that everyone has a fair chance of attending your sessions
- Limit waiting list size – Consider how many people you’d like on your waiting list. For example, when your waiting list becomes too big, then it may be counter-productive. Automated software can limit waiting list size so your lists are manageable
What does our community of club owners and managers have to say?
Alex Row, LoveGymnastics Community Ambassador and Centre Manager at Waveney Gymnastics club, says: “When we had large waiting lists we looked at a way we could get more sessions at the same time. This included overlapping them by 15 minutes so one coach could warm up the children while the others were on the apparatus. We also added volunteers/young leaders to increase the numbers in classes and offered additional classes later in the evening for our older participants.”
“When we had a waiting list, we used to call people in the order that they signed up. But we found they had been there for so long and had lost interest. We then decided to send an email out to the whole waiting list, and then those that replied were put into classes on a first-come-first-serve basis.”
Nikki Mc Alinden, Club Owner at Mourne Gymnastics Club, says: “I used to go by the date they registered on, but it took too long to wait for their replies. I find offering spaces out with a deadline to reply, on a first-come-first-served basis. I find that more manageable, so I’m sending out the same joining information in a group email.”
Alisa Saunders, Founder and Club Manager of Witham Hill Gymnastics Club, says: “Currently, doing the next intake on W/C 12th September, so emails have gone out, they have 2 weeks to book on (have to pay so don’t get time wasters) then if still spaces I go to the next however many, and offer with a 7-day window. We are a CASC club and you have to offer to keep within their conditions.”
Jennifer Page, Founder of Affinity Academy, says: “Don’t have a waiting list…We have an availability email list instead, which is first-come-first-served. One of the best admin things we did. Plus, always looking to open classes so there’s never a need to wait. If someone goes on a list, they are likely never to join.”
Anna Bentley, Owner of Sharky’s Swimmers Ltd, says: “I’ve swapped from a waiting list to a ‘Priority Email List’ and it’s working well. Rather than contacting one person at a time, waiting for days on end to find the right swimmer to fill a place, I now send a group email out with spaces available (details of age/ability of the group and time). It’s a first-come, first-served situation, and payment secures the place. This works so much better and has cut down wasted time dramatically.”
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