What goes into a successful visitor check-in experience and what can you do to improve it? in this article, we’ll explore the most important things you can do to ensure that your visitors have a positive experience and develop a positive impression of your organization.
1. Set Up Your Office to Welcome Visitors
Your check-in experience starts the moment that the door opens and the visitor walks in.
When a visitor first steps into your office, they formulate an impression of your organization immediately. Everything from your furniture to paint colors to the general vibe of your office personnel can influence how your visitor feels about your organization.
Here are some ways to ensure that your visitor feels welcome right away:
Make it obvious where to go to check-in. A first-time visitor won’t know the landscape of your office. As soon as they walk into your building, they feel vulnerable and confused. That’s never a good feeling. Anticipate and neutralize this negativity by making it clear to your visitor exactly what to do. Post signs that point the visitor to the right place for them to go, whether that’s a check-in kiosk, a waiting area, or some other location, such as up the elevator to your actual office space. Remove all doubt that a visitor may have upon entering.
Let in the natural light. A well-lit office is always welcoming but it’s even better if you can introduce natural sunlight into the space as well. Open the blinds or curtains to let the light in.
Add plants to your office. Plants, whether live or artificial, can make your office feel more inviting to your visitors. Plants impart a homey and pleasant vibe. And not only are they beautiful, but live plants can actually clean your air.
Offer comfortable seating. A waiting room without seats isn’t very hospitable. Provide comfortable seating with plenty of options, including seats that are grouped closely together as well as seats that are apart for those who prefer to practice social distancing.
Arrange the furniture in a welcoming way. Your office’s furniture should be ordered in a way that lets the visitor know but they are welcome to sit in that area. Also, add signage that encourages visitors to have a seat.
Make sure that your office smells good. Adding a pleasant room fragrance can do a world of good for making your office waiting areas approachable and comforting. Instead of candles, use whole room diffusers or wall plugs to add continuous fragrance without the risk of fire.
Turn up the music. Music is another layer that affects the visitor’s first impression of your organization. Playing soft, calming music in the background can also help your visitor feel more comfortable in your office space.
2. Recognize Your Visitors
Ensure that your visitors are welcomed when they first come into your office space. As you will discover in our next point, we recommend having a check-in kiosk. However, we also encourage organizations to have a live receptionist who can greet visitors as they walk through the door.
A live receptionist who smiles and graciously welcomes everyone who enters your office will earn you huge bonus points with your visitor.
Remember that people want to be acknowledged. When you greet them eye-to-eye with a warm welcome and a smile, your visitor will know that you care about their experience.
3. Use a Virtual Receptionist
Although this point was teased above, let’s discuss it in greater detail now. Having a virtual receptionist is one of the best things you can do to improve your visitor’s check-in experience. When a visitor first walks into your building, their number one goal is to check in and move forward.Having a virtual receptionist is one of the best things you can do to improve your visitor’s check-in experience. Here's why: Click To Tweet
However, if you are relying on a human receptionist to do the check-in, your visitor may have to wait for an extended period of time. This is because the human receptionist may be working with another visitor, be on the phone, or attending to a vendor.
While your visitor may initially exercise patience and understand that they need to wait their turn, time is not on your side. The longer the wait, the more impatient the visitor will become. The visitor may even develop a negative impression of your organization simply because they’ve had to wait to check-in.
You can bypass this negativity by using a virtual receptionist in addition to your human receptionist.
A virtual receptionist can take on many of the tasks that your human receptionist has to do now. For example, a virtual receptionist can check in your visitor, notify the host, direct the visitor on what to do next, and can even update your visitor log so that your security staff knows who’s in the office.
Other things that your virtual receptionist can do include printing out badges, prompting the visitor to sign the necessary paperwork, and enabling real-time communication between the visitor and the host.
Together your human receptionist and your virtual receptionist can work to ensure that the check-in process goes smoothly for your visitors. The virtual receptionist will eliminate the need for your visitor to wait on a human to check them in. Overall, the virtual receptionist can be courteous efficient, and a great reflection of how innovative your brand is.
4. Make It Contactless
Did we mention that a visitor check-in kiosk can be contactless?
In addition to enabling human-free check-in, your virtual receptionist can also offer a contact-free experience for your visitors.
Some visitors don’t like the idea of touching public devices, especially post-pandemic. For their convenience, you can also enable contact-free check-in through your kiosk. Here’s how it works:
Your visitor simply takes out their smartphone and scans a QR code with their built-in photo app. Because they’re using a photo app that’s already built into their phone, the visitor won’t have to download any special app to make the contactless check-in process happen. Instead, they can check in from the web browser that opens up automatically. And that’s it! They’re in.
Contactless check-in is one of the most popular and in-demand features these days as people attempt to limit unnecessary interactions with others and with public devices.
5. Communicate Through the App
After checking in through the kiosk, don’t just leave it up to the visitor to know what to do. Give them the next steps to take. You can do this with your virtual receptionist. The virtual receptionist will give the visitor directions on what to do next, whether that’s to have a seat in the reception area or to proceed to a meeting spot.
You can even use your check-in kiosk to communicate directly with your visitor. As soon as the visitor checks in, the host is notified that their visitor is waiting. Hosts and visitors can then chat through the app, which will personalize the interaction even further.
6. Issue Badges
Your check-in kiosk can also print out temporary badges for your visitors. This levels up your security measures because you can identify visitors by their badges and easily spot and then confront those who aren’t wearing badges.
But badges aren’t solely for security purposes. You can also use badges for customer service. For example, badges can also make it possible for your staff to recognize your visitors by name. People are more likely to respond favorably when called by name.
7. Keep the Visitor Occupied
If your visitors have to wait before their appointment, don’t make them wait in silence. If they are twiddling their thumbs, every second will feel like an eternity.
Instead, give you a visitor something to do as they wait. The common go-to is to provide a television in your seating area, but don’t stop there. Also, offer plugs and outlets for laptops, phones, and tablets. Share your Wi-Fi password and instructions for how to sign on. If you welcome young visitors such as children, provide games and a television that is tuned to a cartoon channel. Also offer snacks, soft drinks, and water for those who wait.
All of the above may seem “nice to have,” but they each have a major impact on the check-in experience for your visitors.
8. Direct Visitor Traffic
When the time comes for a visitor to make their way from the lobby to an agreed-upon meeting area, do they know how to get there?
You may think that it’s obvious that your office is on the second floor and three doors down, but not everyone has a good relationship with directions. When confused, a visitor will either wander the halls and grow more frustrated by the second, or else they’ll reach out to your busy receptionist who may be unable to answer their questions.
For this reason, it’s best to provide signage that’s clear and easy to understand. Many Innovative offices also provide wayfinding apps that can be downloaded on the fly and used by your visitor to easily navigate from point A to point B. Wayfinding apps also reduce the visitor’s reliance on a human guide.
As a result, the visitor develops confidence in their ability to navigate your office space successfully. That confidence boost will also give them a positive impression of your organization. Love how that works!
The wayfinding app goes both ways. Not only will it help the visitor find their way to the meeting space, but it will also help them find their way to the exit when it’s time to leave. We’ve all been in confusing office spaces that could double as labyrinths. Using signage and wayfinding apps can completely eliminate this confusion and guide your visitor confidently to their destination.
9. Prepare Your Guests Ahead of Their Arrival
A great way to improve your check-in experience is by pre-registering your visitors. When you pre-register your visitors, you remove the annoyance and monotony from the check-in experience. Visitors can fill out their paperwork ahead of time so that they can simply mark themselves as arrived when they arrive. Pre-registration improves the flow of visitors into your office and makes it easier for them to get seen on time.
But whether or not you choose to pre-register your guests, you can still prepare your guests for a smooth check-in ahead of their arrival. Do that by sending out a confirmation email with information that they need to know. This email can include information on parking, what to expect once they get to your office, and instructions on how to use your check-in kiosk.
10. Don’t Neglect the Check-Out Experience
in many ways, the check-out experience is just as important as the check-in experience. Your check-out experience will leave your visitors with a lasting impression of your office and it will also reaffirm their impression of your organization as a whole.
To improve your check-out experience:
- Make it easy for your visitors to exit with the use of digital signs or by offering a wayfinding app.
- Ensure that your employees greet your visitors when they come and when they go.
- Encourage your visitors to check out through your kiosk so that they are given clear instructions on what to do next (such as schedule a follow-up visit).
To ensure that your visitors have a favorable check-in experience, use the above tips. A great visitor experience starts and ends with empathy. Always consider what an experience may feel like to a first-time visitor and design that experience so that they always feel welcomed.
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