visitor management readiness

How to Get Your Office Ready for a Visitor Management System

So, you’ve decided it’s time for your company to get on board with a visitor management software tool in the lobby.

You’ve read about all the benefits — quicker check-in times, better visitor privacy, a polished look and feel — and you’re convinced. You’ve done your research, compared the features, read the reviews. You’re ready to get started.

Before you do, there are a few things you should know. There’s almost always a bit of a learning curve when your company adjusts to a new software program or technology, and this is no exception.

It’s especially important to get this right because, as we’ve said many times, the first impression that visitors get when they step in the door is really important. The last thing you want is for visitors to experience a confused staff and a system that hasn’t been set up properly.

Good preparation isn’t too complicated, but it’s definitely necessary. Here are a few things we suggest you do before you launch your visitor management software.

Get Buy-In From the Front Desk Staff

In many cases, the front desk staff have spearheaded the effort for visitor management software. They’ve noticed the opportunity for improvement and have voluntarily done the research into the best programs. They’re as excited to get started because they’re tired of manually connecting phone calls, covering up names on a paper visitor log, and shuffling paperwork around.

But this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the higher-ups are the ones imposing the software on skeptical or even recalcitrant administrators.

If you haven’t made a final decision on software yet, download this worksheet and track your notes: Visitor Management System Feature Comparison Worksheet

Ideally, they should feel a sense of ownership over the process.

If this hasn’t come naturally to your front desk staff, try to get them on board by giving them as much control as possible over the search for a solution. After all, they’re the ones who understand your company’s visitor management needs the most. Ask them which parts of visitor management are the most problematic and which tasks they wish they could outsource. Brainstorm ways to solve those problems together so you’ll find a software solution that was developed for those needs.

Get your administrators involved early in the process. Emphasize that this software will make their jobs easier. If nothing else, visitor management software like The Receptionist will give them the freedom to step away from the front desk occasionally without being as anxious that they’ll miss a visitor.

visitor management readiness

In most cases, companies don’t use visitor management software to replace the front desk staff.

But it’s possible that your receptionist may actually have been hoping to be “replaced” in a way — at least wishing for a desk away from the front door. After all, receptionists almost always have work other than visitor management, and this could allow them to focus on that work without as many distractions.

If this describes your receptionist, they might need some assurance of their job security. Let them know that besides their other responsibilities, they’ll still be in charge of visitor management. The work just won’t be as disruptive, and they’ll be managing it mostly through the software.

Finally, if your front desk staff is already swamped, clear some space in their schedules so they can dedicate the time to get the new visitor management program up and running the right way.

Get Buy-In From the Rest of the Staff

Once your administration is on board, it’s time to introduce the concept to the rest of the staff. Your visitor management system will only be a success if all users are invested.

Your visitor management system will only be a success if all users are invested. #receptionistapp Click To Tweet

With the new system, meeting hosts will need to understand that they’re now potentially responsible for pre-registering their visitors and choosing the sequence of notifications that will alert them to when their visitors arrive. They’ll also have to choose who their visitor notifications should be sent to if they don’t respond in a specified amount of time.

Employees may have thought the old way of hosting visitors — one in which they basically had to do nothing but schedule the meeting — was working fine.

To get them excited, make sure they understand the perks. First, the new system will impress their visitors. Second, it will keep the office more secure by making everyone more aware of who is coming and going. Because visitor management software often notifies all employees via chat or email when visitors arrive, they won’t be startled by strangers next to the water cooler. And they’ll also know that it’s a problem when people are wandering around but they haven’t seen any notification about the visitor.

Again, your employees need to be made aware that change is coming long before it’s implemented. That will give them plenty of time to get things set up. They also probably have their own valuable insights into what the new tool should be able to do and how it should be set up.

Involve Legal and HR

The third group of people who need to know about your plans for a visitor management system are your legal team and any other experts on HR and compliance issues.

These folks can weigh in on the legal and regulatory aspects of visitor management. Whenever you change your check-in procedure, you want to double check that you’re still operating in a way that prioritizes safety and privacy.

Make an Implementation Plan

After your staff and legal experts have weighed in and the priorities for the visitor management system are understood, here’s what to do next:

  1. Establish a point person, if you haven’t already. It’s much easier when staff knows where to go with questions about the visitor management program and procedures.
  2. Assess office entry points and multiple locations / addresses. This will affect how much you pay for visitor management systems and how those systems will be structured. This is often one of the first things you have to know when assessing various systems.
  3. Clarify any hardware and system requirements. Hardware usually isn’t a deal-breaker when it comes to choosing a visitor management system, but it can help to assess which equipment you have available and how much you’re willing to spend to get the hardware you need (usually some combination of tablets and a stand, although some programs require a larger video screen).
  4. Design your ideal check-in process using our guide to creating a visitor management system.
  5. Research and choose a visitor management software program.
  6. Schedule time on the calendar for the physical setup and connection of the hardware, and for setting up the backend (don’t forget to account for any reviews from your legal team).
  7. Have employees set up and test their notifications and backup notifications. Make sure the cell phone number that notification texts will come from is added to their phone contacts. Make sure there are no conflicts with chat programs like Slack (for example, the employee may have to use the same email address with compatible programs).
  8. Test the system carefully with visitors and use their experience to tweak the setup. Keep use monitored until you’re happy with the way things are going.
  9. Put someone in charge of keeping the program updated as your business’ visitor management needs change.
If you haven’t made a final decision on software yet, download this worksheet for your notes: Visitor Management System Feature Comparison Worksheet

So, are you ready to start giving visitor management systems some test runs? We might be a little biased — but we think ours is the best! We hope you join us. Check us out: Click here to start your free trial of The Receptionist.

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