If you’re looking to improve your visitors’ experience while bolstering your overall workplace security at the same time, you need a visitor management system. But not all visitor management systems will give you the results you’re after. Some may enhance your security but do nothing for your visitors’ experience, or vice versa, which is the bare minimum for any capable visitor management system.
With the right system in place, you can modernize your organization, improve your workplace efficiency, adhere to safety and industry protocols, and deliver consistently positive customer service, too.
In this guide, we’ll break down what to look for when choosing visitor management software. Let’s get started.
What is a Visitor Management System?
To make sure we’re on the same page, let’s define the term “visitor management system.”
A visitor management system is a tool that allows you to track the movement of your visitors while inside your office building. With a visitor management system in place, you can protect your office, including your staff, your visitors, and your proprietary information, from nefarious individuals who wish you harm or wish themselves gain.
Visitors of all types enter your doors. This includes your clients, contractors, delivery people, job candidates, and your employees’ friends and family. You need a way to track every one of these visitors.
A visitor management system will manage your visitors’ entire path through your building, from the entrance to the exit. By implementing this system, you’ll have a better handle on how your visitors flow through your building which will also give you the chance to improve your visitor’s experience.
Your visitor management system will give you the tools to know who’s in your office building at all times. But it doesn’t just stop there. This system will also allow you to look back on who has visited your building in the past and to anticipate who will be arriving in the coming days or weeks.
You can set up your visitor management system to collect vital information about your visitors, such as their contact information and the reason for their visit. You can also take photos of each visitor with your visitor management software so that you have an accurate profile of every visitor.
Modern visitor management systems include a kiosk component for self-service check-in. The Receptionist for iPad is a visitor management system that includes an easy-to-use touch-screen iPad as a kiosk. This kiosk can be conveniently located near the entrance for easy visitor access.
Upon arrival, a visitor will check in at the self-service kiosk and await further instructions. These instructions may pop up on the kiosk itself.
A visitor management system can also handle other tasks related to welcoming and tracking visitors, as we’ll explore throughout this guide.
Why Use a Visitor Management System?
Now that we have a basic overview of what a visitor management system is, let’s discuss why a visitor management system is better than relying on the old faithful logbook for tracking your visitors.
Modernize Your Workplace
Let’s start with the logbook. Many office spaces still use the outdated logbook as part of their check-in process. While this method of recording visitors has been around for centuries, it’s no longer a best practice for visitor management. There are many major problems with using log books. Let’s discuss the two most compelling reasons why log books should be put to rest.
First, log books create redundancy. Your visitor fills out their information in your log book. Then your receptionist takes that information and fills it out again, this time into a computer. With a visitor management system, you can skip the second step. In fact, if you pre-register your visitors, your visitor won’t even need to fill out their information in the system. They can simply confirm.
The next reason to get rid of log books has to do with privacy. Log books are major privacy no-nos. Everyone can read everyone else’s personal information, including their phone number, address, reason for visit, and whatever else you ask on your registration form. This raises serious privacy concerns for visitors and may make them hesitant to fill out the form fully.
Eliminate redundancy and privacy risks by implementing a visitor management system. Having a modern visitor management system can revolutionize your office and bring it into the 21st century.
Make a Great First Impression With Your Visitors
Want to make a great first impression with your visitors? Give them the ability to check in via a self-service kiosk. Although more and more businesses are adopting this technology, it’s still a unique, modern, and impressive experience. Introducing innovative technology at the start of their visit will show your visitors that your business is progressive, fresh, and advanced.
Free Up Your Front Office Staff
A visitor management system is like a virtual receptionist. It doesn’t replace your human receptionist, but it does free them up to do other, high-level tasks, while your visitor management system handles check-ins, host notifications, and other tasks.
Your front office staff can still serve as the friendly face to welcome your visitors. They can answer questions and ensure the smooth movement of traffic, but they won’t need to worry about manually checking in visitors to your system when your visitors can check themselves in.
Use your visitor management system to know who’s in your office space at all times. You can see at a glance who’s arriving, who has already checked in, where they’re headed, and who has already left the premises. From a security standpoint, the goal is to know everything that’s happening within your office walls. So it’s crucial that you can Identify your occupants at a moment’s notice.
You can also use a visitor management system’s built-in features, such as the ability to take photos and issue ID badges, to help you create a complete profile on all who enter your workplace.
Introduce an Easy-to-Use Visitor Management System
There are a lot of ways to manage visitors, but not all of them are equally great. An iPad-based visitor management system is a friendly option for those who prefer simplicity and ease of use. If you’ve used a digital table such as an iPad before, you’re already familiar with the tools necessary to operate a visitor management system. And the same goes for your visitors. Modern, cloud-based visitor management systems are intuitive and easy to use and operate.
Store Visitor Data
If you use log books for visitor check-in, you can keep a record of everyone who’s visited your office. The same is true with a visitor management system. Your visitor management system will act as a digital logbook and can keep track of everyone who has entered and exited your doors.
Even better than a paper logbook, your digital log book can be stored in the cloud, making it secure from unauthorized access, convenient to search through, and invincible to natural disasters, such as office fires and floods. In fact, the stored data should be searchable by name, type, date, time, host contact, or other custom fields.
Having a record of all visitor data can be a standard requirement in many industries. But, in addition to compliance, you can also use visitor data to understand patterns in your workflow and create better experiences for your visitors and your staff moving forward.
In the event that you ever need to evacuate your office building, it’s essential to have an accurate record of your on-site visitors. This will allow you to safely and successfully evacuate everyone who’s entered your workplace.
Adhere to Safety Protocols
Do you need to implement health safety protocols in your workspace? Your organization may wish to share safety instructions with your visitors upon check-in. You can also use your check-in kiosk to ask your visitors questions about their health to ensure that you reduce risk to others.
14 Essential Features to Look for in a Visitor Management System
As we’ve established, using a visitor management system is one of the best things you can do for your business in terms of front office efficiency and making a great first impression with your visitors. However, not all visitor management systems will be able to offer the results or experience you’re looking for. Instead of just randomly choosing visitor management software based on price, let’s discuss the most important features to consider.Ask these questions when looking for a visitor management system for your office: Click To Tweet
1. Can the Visitor Management System Send Out Notifications?
Your visitor management system should be able to automatically send notifications to the host when a visitor checks in to the system. In fact, it should be able to send messages to multiple employees as a failsafe method in case the host is unavailable.
Also, the system should allow for two-way communication between the visitor and the host. On The Receptionist for iPad, these messages can be delivered via the kiosk screen (for the visitor), email, SMS, or Slack (for the host).
2. Can It Safeguard Visitor Privacy?
A paper logbook cannot provide the safety needed to protect your visitors’ information, but having a digital logbook isn’t going to do much better. Instead, you need a fully functional visitor management system that can immediately store away visitor information. This way, the system will not display sensitive information after a visitor has completed the check-in process.
3. Can It Customize Workflows?
If you have different types of visitors, you need different workflows. First, different workflows will ensure that you collect the right information from each visitor type. Second, enabling different workflows will make it easier to deliver customized instructions to your visitor on what to do after checking in. Your visitor management system should also give you the option to accommodate returning visitors by pre-populating visitor information during the check-in process.
4. Is It Able to Print Badges?
Being able to print visitor badges can single-handedly allow you to control who’s walking around your office space. Badges will also empower your employees. Employees can look at a visitor’s badge and immediately identify the visitor and also know if the visitor is in the right location or not. This can help bolster security and give your employees another opportunity to offer their assistance to your visitors when necessary.
5. Ability to Sign Documents
Do you need visitors to sign important documents during their visits, such as privacy policies or non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)? if you want visitors to get this paperwork out of the way, you can use your visitor management system to handle it. Visitors can even digitally sign necessary documents at the kiosk during the check-in process.
6. Can You Communicate With Visitors in Different Languages?
Do you serve visitors who may speak in other languages outside of English? Your kiosk should accommodate all of your visitors. Choose a visitor management system that can display necessary visitor information in different languages.
7. Is It Cloud-Based?
There are two types of modern visitor management systems: Cloud-based and on-premise. On-premise systems are no longer considered the modern choice because they’re complicated, sluggish, and rely on a local machine. They’re not as secure as a cloud-based solution and definitely not as affordable.
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck and the easiest system to operate, make sure to go for a cloud-based visitor management tool. Cloud-based tools can be accessed from any location with a secure internet connection, which means you can check records remotely without having to physically go into your office space.
With a cloud-based system, you won’t have to worry about data being destroyed due to a fire, a flood, or some other natural disaster. Everything is kept remotely and likely secured on multiple computers in different locations, which will eliminate the possibility that your data will one day be destroyed.
8. Is It Contact-Free?
Some visitors prefer to limit contact with public devices. This is also important for those organizations that wish to implement stricter COVID-19 protocols. Your visitor management system should offer the option to check in without contact. For example, The Receptionist for iPad includes a QR code on the registration kiosk. The visitor can scan this QR code with their phone and check in remotely, via phone, as well.
9. Can You Install Multiple Registration Kiosks?
if you operate a busy workspace, you need multiple self-service kiosks. This will make it easier for multiple visitors to register simultaneously without waiting in line. Choose a visitor management system that can handle multiple registration kiosks at the same time.
10. Can You Pre-Register Visitors?
Your visitor management system should allow you to schedule visits in advance. This way, your visitors can be pre-registered in the system which will reduce the need for them to add their personal information when they check-in. Instead, they can simply verify or correct the pre-filled information. You can also use pre-registration as part of your automation process. Set up an automation that automatically sends out email confirmations to visitors who are pre-registered in your visitor management system ahead of their arrival.
11. Can You Customize Your Branding?
Opt for a visitor management system that allows you to control the way it looks to your visitors. Because your self-service check-in kiosk will be one of the first things your visitors see when entering your office, it should reflect your brand. Choose a visitor management system that allows you to add your own logo and brand colors to the check-in screen.
12. Is It Easy to Use?
This question is perhaps the most important. Ultimately, you need an easy-to-use visitor management system, or else, it won’t be used. If your employees don’t understand how to operate the system, they’ll find workarounds and it’ll end up being an expensive mistake. If your visitors don’t know how to use the system, they’ll just seek out your front office staff, which will burden them and defeat the purpose of using a visitor management system, to begin with.
Choose a visitor management system that anyone from a child to a grandparent can use with the same level of comfort.
13. Is The Price Reasonable?
While price shouldn’t be the only factor when choosing a visitor management system, it’s definitely a major consideration. Weigh the options and choose a visitor management system that is affordable for your budget. Also, choose a visitor management system that has straightforward pricing so you know what you’re getting. Avoid tools that don’t explicitly state how much you’ll pay and what you’ll get for your money.
14. Can You Try It Before You Buy It?
It’s often better to try before you buy. Don’t get locked into a contract for a visitor management system only to discover that you actually hate it.
Go with a company that offers both a demo (so that you can see the product in action) and a free trial that allows you to try it out yourself. This is the best way for you to know if the visitor management system will meet your needs.
Click here to request a demo of The Receptionist for iPad.
In this guide, we shared tips on how to successfully choose the right visitor management system for your team or organizational needs. If you’re looking for a modern, affordable, and easy-to-use visitor management system, check us out.
Start your free, 14-day trial of The Receptionist for iPad now.
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