The benefits of upgrading to visitor sign-in software from paper are huge: Better administrative records, quicker check-in times, and automated host notifications are just a few of them.
But if you don’t implement your new software correctly — by choosing the right kind, planning in advance, and involving the right people — your staff will be in for a rough transition that could actually hurt productivity in the short-term.
After helping hundreds of businesses in all kinds of industries and cultures get visitor sign-in software up and running, we’ve noticed several common mistakes made early on in the adoption process.
Here are some of the ones we advise companies to avoid.
Mistake 1: Failing To Get Buy-in From Employees
Top-down directives are never as well-received as decisions made with buy-in from the whole group. That’s true for most things, new software programs included.
Thankfully, all employees should have good reason to be excited about using the new sign-in tool. You just have to make sure they know all about the benefits and can weigh in during the selection and onboarding process.
There are two groups of people who need to be sold on the new software.
The Front Desk Staff
The front desk staff will be using the sign-in software more than anyone, so their buy-in is particularly important to get right away.
First, assure them that the sign-in software will make their lives easier and will enable them to better focus on the other parts of their job. By speeding up check-in and enabling them to better anticipate visitors, they’ll have more time for other work.
Then, encourage the front desk staff to take the lead on the search for the best program. They’re the ones who will know which visitor management features your company needs the most, and their input is extremely valuable.
The Rest of the Staff
You also need buy-in from the rest of the staff — almost all of whom will host or at least interact with office visitors at some point.
They need to understand that although some upfront work may be required on their part, such as pre-registering visitors and setting up their sequences of automatic notifications, they’ll be getting a lot of benefits in return.
The biggest selling point for them may be that the new program will help make a much better impression on visitors, which can be especially key for important meetings and interviews.
But visitor sign-in software also has other benefits for the staff. It will give them a better idea of who’s in the office at any given time (if they opt into notifications) so that they aren’t taken by surprise by guests. A self-service check-in kiosk at the front desk also keeps guests from wandering into the office when the live receptionist has stepped away from the desk and distracting the employees within.
Mistake 2: Rushing the Implementation Process
Although visitor sign-in software may not seem like a big deal, the role that this software will play in making first impressions is huge. You should take the rollout seriously.
Create a plan to set up and test the new system thoroughly before live visitors start using it.
For example, some of our clients have found in the testing phase are that some of the software’s notifications will get blocked if the number or email address that the software sends from isn’t added to the employee’s contacts.
In other cases, employees have found that they don’t receive notifications through other software programs (such as Slack) if their email address isn’t consistent in both systems.
However, we’ve found that the bulk of the work required to implement a visitor management system isn’t due to a software learning curve.
The work is mostly on the administrative end as your staff takes the time to get in writing which steps they want each type of visitor to take during check in. Your staff need time to set the system up properly and structure it so that reports are helpful and easy to share. They’ll need to clarify which notifications each type of visit should send out, and which types of notifications individual staffers want to get when their visitors arrive. The payoffs for this kind of work are big, but requires an investment of upfront work.
Mistake 3: Choosing a System That Can’t Grow With Your Business
Most businesses are always striving for growth. That projected growth may eventually involve moving to a different office that has multiple entry points, or even adding more offices and facilities at new locations that will need their own visitor sign-in software.
The best visitor sign-in systems can easily adjust to these new scenarios. They allow business admins to see data from all locations within the same program.
Even if you just have a single location with one entry point now, thinking ahead to what your needs might be in the next five years should be a factor when you choose a visitor check-in system.
That’s because, as we’ve mentioned, implementing something new like this takes time and energy. Once you build your processes and get your staff trained to use the system, it’s frustrating to have to start again with a program that was built to handle the needs of growing businesses.
Mistake 4: Trying to Build a Custom System
Visitor check-in software looks deceptively simple.
From the front end, it can even seem like a basic form that sends a few emails out when it’s finished. It’s no wonder that many executives think that they can save money by having one of their own developers build a check-in system that’s tailored exactly to the company’s needs.
But, as you may have guessed, they often are surprised at how time-consuming and expensive the process of building visitor sign-in software quickly becomes.
The check-in process for many companies goes way beyond what a standard form can handle. Beyond collecting basic data like visitor name and visit type, the process often requires steps like collecting legal forms and agreements, printing photo ID badges, and even watching videos.
Plus, we’ve found that it takes effort to make the software user-friendly, not just for the visitors, but for the staff, too. The data generated from visitor sign-in software can be really helpful, but it won’t be worth much if the system is used inconsistently. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens when it’s difficult or confusing to use.Software that was built specifically for your business’ needs will still be worthless if your employees don’t like to use it. #receptionistapp Click To Tweet
Of course, there are other benefits to working with a reputable SaaS company: Unlimited customer service and upgrades and maintenance are a few of them.
If you’re ready to try a visitor sign-in app that’s user-friendly for staff, primed for growth, and loaded with all of the features we mentioned in this article, we invite you to try The Receptionist for iPad. You can check out the full version of the software for free for 14 days. Click here to start your free trial.
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