When it comes to adopting new technology, one of the top questions that many organizations have is, “How will this technology change affect our relationship with our customers?” They are afraid that the introduction of technology will negatively impact the human connection with their customers.
Technology is meant to support and not take away from your customer’s experience. Your visitor management system should help you build a positive and memorable experience for your visitors. If used correctly, your visitor management system will enhance your human connection. How? Instead of focusing on repetitive and often low-level tasks, your human receptionist will be able to connect with your visitors in a more meaningful way.
In this post, we’ll discuss how you can use your visitor management system to help, not hurt, the human connection you have with your customers.
Visitor Management Systems Don’t Replace Human Receptionists
Let’s confront one of the biggest misconceptions about implementing a visitor management system. Having a virtual receptionist like The Receptionist for iPad will not replace your need for human staff.
When we created The Receptionist for iPad, we always envisioned our technology would work side-by-side with humans. Our visitor management system is meant to complement your existing processes, not replace them. Although you can use a visitor management system without having a human receptionist, it’s a much better choice to use both if you can, and here’s why:
Humans crave connection with other humans. If a visitor walks into your office building and doesn’t see another human, the noticeable absence of a receptionist can trigger a negative emotional response. The visitor may wonder, Am I in the right building? Why is no one here? And that’s even if you’ve taken the steps to have a check-in kiosk front and center in your lobby area.
However, if you have a human receptionist posted to acknowledge the visitors who enter your office, you will have immediately elevated your visitor’s experience. First, there’s a sign of life. Second, that sign of life is friendly and reassuring because your receptionist will greet visitors as they walk in.
The receptionist can direct the visitor to the check-in kiosk so that the visitor may self-register. But the visitor’s impression and overall experience are no doubt enhanced because of the presence of a friendly face.
But, then you may wonder, Why should I even bother with a visitor management system that includes a check-in kiosk? Shouldn’t our organization stick with what we’ve always done and maintain a receptionist?
Before we answer those questions, let’s discuss what a visitor management system is and why it should matter to you.
Visitor Management System Benefits
First and foremost, we need to answer the question, what is a visitor management system?
A visitor management system is a solution that allows you to identify and track everyone who enters and exits your office. You can use your visitor management system to identify visitor trends and get a better handle on your future needs which may include staffing and security. The ultimate goal of implementing a visitor management system is to provide a better experience for your visitors. By being prepared for your visitors, you can ensure that each visit is successful.
A visitor management system also allows you to streamline the visitor process. When you introduce technology like a check-in kiosk, every visitor who enters your doors can experience the exact same level of professionalism. They’ll never have to wait in line for a human receptionist to manually check them in because they can simply do it themselves with a kiosk.
Check-in kiosks are an integral part of your visitor management system. This technology allows your visitors to register by themselves without the intervention of a third party. Your check-in kiosk can even be configured to offer a contactless experience, which accommodates visitors who don’t want to physically interact with people or public devices.
A visitor management system doesn’t only manage customers but it can also manage anyone who walks through your front doors. This includes vendors, contractors, temporary employees, employee candidates, and much more. You can use a visitor management system to control foot traffic and improve security.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how implementing a visitor management system will benefit your organization.
- Improve the Sign-In Process: When a visitor walks into your office building, what is the first thing they see? They may be greeted warmly by the receptionist. However, many times, a receptionist is called on to perform multiple tasks. This can include checking in other visitors, answering calls, escorting visitors from the reception area to their destination, and archiving files just to name a few. Inevitably, your receptionist is busy don a ton of tasks and may not be able to warmly greet your visitors as they walk through the door. A visitor management system that includes a check-in kiosk will undoubtedly improve the sign-in process. Your receptionist will only need to direct the visitor to the kiosk where they can complete their check-in process. Here, the visitor will have the opportunity to correct any typos that may have occurred with their name and contact information. They can also receive detailed instructions on what to do next, such as to proceed to their destination or to wait for their host to arrive at the reception area. A check-in kiosk can be a helpful guide for your visitor.
- Increase Security: A physical log book where visitors sign their names, add their contact information and list the purpose of their visit is not only outdated but is also a security risk. Log books do not protect your visitors’ privacy and, in fact, expose your visitors’ personal information to anyone who comes after them. Depending on how far back your log book goes, you may be exposing the private information of months’ worth of visitors. You can address this privacy concern by implementing a visitor management system. This way, no one will see who has arrived except for those authorized to do so. All visitor logs are stored securely in the cloud.
- Support Your Front Office: As we mentioned above, a visitor management system is there to support not replace your human front office staff. Because your receptionist won’t need to spend their time checking in visitors, they will have more bandwidth to interact with your visitors and provide more personalized customer service.
- Reduce Cost: Have you ever considered hiring another receptionist to handle the busy days? While hiring a second receptionist can alleviate the burden on your current staff, it can also be a budget buster. The affordable alternative to hiring another receptionist is to simply implement a visitor management system. A visitor management system will cost considerably less and provide you with a unique host of benefits that you couldn’t receive by having only a human receptionist.
- 24/7 Support: Your visitor management system can work 24 hours a day 7 days a week. while you may only use our visitor management system during working hours, keep in mind that your visitor management system can be there even when your receptionist is taking a break.
- Free Up Your Receptionists: These days, a receptionist does more than simply greet visitors and act as the face of your business. They do an assortment of tasks which can include making travel arrangements, sorting, tending to the refreshments, escorting visitors, answering calls, and much more. A receptionist plays a vital role in the success of your business. Your receptionist juggles a ton of tasks at once. You can remove at least one of those tasks by implementing a visitor management system. It will free your receptionist to focus on other, higher-priority tasks that make a huge impact on how your visitors experience your business.
Overall, your visitor management system is a tool that will positively impact your visitor’s experience because it will allow them to get registered faster. It will also enhance your visitor management processes and lead to higher productivity levels for your front office staff.
Why You Need to Keep a Human Receptionist
Implementing a visitor management system is important, but you also need a human presence in your front office. Here’s why:
Present a Professional Image
Many visitors expect to see a live human receptionist when they walk into an office building. A warm and engaging front office staff will set the tone for your visitors as they walk into your space. They can look at your office staff and know exactly what your values are as an organization. Your human receptionist can make a winning and professional first impression.
Your human receptionist will act as a base for your brand. Although you may incorporate your unique visual branding into your check-in kiosk, it can never have the same impact that a human will have on your visitors.
You still need a human to offer a warm hello and be there if visitors have any questions or concerns. While having a kiosk will show your visitors that you are innovative and forward-thinking, having a human receptionist will show them that you care about your human-to-human connection.
Help Your Visitors
A visitor management system can do a lot to help out, but sometimes your visitors will have unique questions that can only be solved by human intervention. When this need arises, you must have someone to help your visitor. Otherwise, your visitor may end up wandering aimlessly around your office, looking for help from the first person they see. Not only is this disruptive for your office staff, but it can lead to a serious breach of security if your visitor wanders into the wrong area.
Also, not having immediate access to a human to answer their question can degrade the visitor’s experience and overall trust in your organization.
Free Up Your Other Employees
If you don’t have a human receptionist, your other staff will have to pick up the slack. As mentioned above, the staff members who are closest to the entrance door will have to play part-time, unofficial receptionists and handle visitor inquiries. With a dedicated, human receptionist, you won’t inadvertently put pressure on your other employees to handle visitors’ questions and concerns.
In addition to answering visitors’ questions, your receptionist can answer phones. In fact, many receptionists do multiple tasks, which may include scheduling appointments, answering in-person frequently asked questions, taking messages, providing directions, listening to and responding to voicemails, routing calls to the right destination, sending and receiving emails, replying to live chat messages, and even posting on social media on behalf of your organization.
Neutralize Negative Situations
Unlike a virtual check-in kiosk, your human receptionist can identify trouble as or even before it happens. As the first line of defense for your office, the receptionist can make quick choices to keep your office safe from dangerous conditions or suspicious individuals. They can also employ de-escalation techniques to defuse potentially hostile situations. Of course, your human receptionist will also know how and when to reach out to your security team if the situation devolves.
Be a Resource for Your Visitors
A receptionist is stationed in the front office to convey an important message to your visitors: You are there for them. A human receptionist will ensure that your business is running smoothly by welcoming all of your visitors, including vendors. They will also provide a variety of resources to your visitors, including refreshments, directions, and other help. A receptionist must be flexible and provide on-the-spot solutions to the complex questions that arise on a daily basis.
Manage Reception Area
Your receptionist fulfills a practical need in your front office. They may refill the coffee station, tidy the furniture, ensure that the ambient temperature remains pleasant, and prepare conference areas for upcoming meetings. It’s impossible to find technology that can do even one-tenth of what a human receptionist can do.
However, that doesn’t mean that your human receptionist can and should do it all. You can use a visitor management system (i.e. a virtual receptionist) to support your human receptionist. Here’s how:
How to Use a Virtual Receptionist With a Human Receptionist
Let’s discuss how to combine both your human and virtual receptionist with the end result of improving your visitor’s experience.
Pre-Register Your Guests
Did you know that you can use a visitor management system to pre-register your visitors? Instead of waiting for them to check in to fill out all of their information, you can save them time and effort by filling out most of that information ahead of time. And your human receptionist can help you do this.
Here’s one scenario: Whenever I customer calls in to make an appointment, take all of the necessary information and add it to your visitor management system. Then use that information to pre-register your visitor. This way, on the day of arrival when the visitor checks in at the check-in kiosk, all they will need to do is confirm their information.
Your visitor management system allows you to level up your privacy. Set up your visitor management system to allow visitors to check in and confirm their information without actually needing to use a public log book. Ensure that your human receptionist gets notified whenever a visitor checks in so that they remain aware of who’s in the waiting area at all times. Notifications can come via an SMS message or through a messaging tool like Slack.
Our visitor management system allows you to capture images of all visitors as they check in. you can use this information to issue printed identification badges. but it’s also a good idea to keep their photo IDs as part of your record keeping.
If your receptionist needs to approach your visitors, for example, to escort them to a destination, having a visual record of that visitor it’s useful. Before heading to the reception area to greet the visitor, your receptionist will know exactly who they’re looking for. This cuts down on confusion and increases the level of personalized service that you can offer to your visitors.
When combined with a human receptionist, your visitor management system will enable your organization to impart a positive impression on your visitors.
Looking to get started with a visitor management system? Check out this 12-minute product tour for The Receptionist for iPad.
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