When you hear the phrase “visitor management,” you might think about first impressions. Providing a warm welcome and a comfortable waiting area should be enough, right? Not in today’s modern workplace.
Effective visitor management today must go beyond meeting and greeting visitors that come into your lobby to encompass the entire workplace experience, as well as processes for keeping the workplace safe and secure. It includes eliminating long wait times and confusion, ensuring compliance with corporate policies and regulations, and helping employees run effective meetings with the people visiting them.
Unfortunately, for many businesses, visitor management doesn’t go smoothly. Lack of efficient, repeatable processes and adequate workplace technology can result in a negative workplace experience, and may even cause security risks. Let’s examine how this happens—and what you can do to prevent it.
Visitor management gone awry
Imagine that a visitor arrives at your office lobby for a meeting. She approaches the front desk and the receptionist asks her to sign in using a digital app on a tablet. She types in her name and email, and clicks enter. The receptionist asks her to spell her name aloud so she can write it on a temporary visitor badge.
The receptionist then dials the employee she’s there to see, but gets sent to voicemail. Meanwhile, the visitor flips through a magazine as she waits for 10 minutes or longer, and when the employee she’s visiting finally comes into the lobby, there’s some confusion as they look around to try and find the visitor. Eventually they meet and shake hands, but as they walk past the front desk, the receptionist remembers the NDA agreement. The meeting your visitor came for is delayed as she stops to complete the form.
This is one scenario that can arise with a manual visitor management process, one that can be very frustrating for all parties involved. And, it’s the result of an outdated, inefficient visitor management system.
4 tell-tale signs of visitor management breakdown
Although many businesses have moved beyond pen-and-paper processes and are now using workplace technology to automate front desk check-in, many visitor management systems still offer incomplete solutions that fail to provide a seamless workplace experience for employees and visitors. Here are four obvious signs your visitor management system is failing to provide the high-quality, seamless workplace experience it should for both visitors and employees:
1. Visitors are waiting, but no one is coming for them.
Too often, visitors are left sitting in the lobby for long periods of time waiting for their company contacts to come find them. This negatively impacts the visitor’s experience with the company and could even damage the company’s reputation. If the visitor from our example above is a job candidate, she may form a bad impression of the company before her interview even begins based on this experience. Meanwhile, miscommunication from front desk staff can leave employees wondering where their visitors are or calling the receptionist several times to find out if they’ve arrived. Schedules are disrupted and time is wasted in the process.
The fix: A modern visitor management solution helps to eliminate potential errors and miscommunications. Upon arrival, the visitor enters their information into a user-friendly app, which automatically prints a visitor badge and, at the same time, leverages multiple channels to notify the employee that the visitor is waiting. Check-out is equally streamlined, providing a complete record of all visitors.
2. People are wandering around without badges.
When it comes to workplace security, your front desk staff is your first line of defense. But what if the receptionist is busy carrying a delivery back to the storage room when a guest arrives? Guests may take it upon themselves to wander around the office—badgeless—searching for the people they’re visiting. Unidentified people milling about the office is a security risk and likely violates company policies.
The fix: A robust visitor management system provides self-service sign-in should the receptionist be absent, and notifies hosts. More importantly, it creates an electronic log that’s stored in the cloud, enabling permanent and trustworthy documentation of the visit for compliance and security purposes.
3. Forms are missing.
Compliance is a priority for any business, but ensuring visitors complete the appropriate forms is often hit or miss. Receptionists may be busy checking in numerous guests or accepting deliveries and forget to ask visitors to fill out NDAs or other critical disclosures. And because these are usually paper-based, they can easily get lost or damaged.
The fix: Using an advanced visitor management system, you can customize check-in to require visitors to enter specific information, answer questions, and sign any necessary forms. It’s all digital, so paper forms aren’t cluttering up the front desk at risk of getting misplaced or destroyed. Everything is done electronically and stored in the cloud, creating a reliable, error-free, digital paper trail that meets the requirements of compliance audits.
4. Unidentified people are on the Wi-Fi.
When random people use your guest network, intellectual property and trade secrets could be compromised. Yet in many cases, it’s important to enable visitor access to Wi-Fi. Sure, the receptionist can provide login credentials, but this approach poses risks to your network security. Should a workplace security incident occur, there’s no record of who was on the network at any given time. Some companies have IT staff issue temporary credentials, but this requires visitors to find someone in IT to help, taking valuable time away from the purpose of the visit.
The fix: Advanced visitor management systems offer seamless integration with Wi-Fi network access control (NAC) software. When visitors check in, the NAC software can automatically provision a unique Wi-Fi code and send it to the guest via text or email. By streamlining this process, companies save time for all parties involved—the front desk staff, IT staff, and most importantly, the visitor. The best part? You have a complete, reliable, and permanent record of who was on the Wi-Fi and when, and you eliminate the risk of people sharing permanent guest credentials with others after they leave the building.
First impressions matter––and are integral to creating a good workplace experience for all
Finally, let’s get back to that all-important first impression. A robust visitor management system that makes it quick and easy to check in, simplest filling out forms and getting on the Wi-Fi, and enables front desk staff to be welcoming and conversational. This creates an amazing first impression. Guests understand immediately that your company values their visit, takes security seriously, and is invested in creating better workplace experiences with the latest workplace technology.
Contact us today to learn how to upgrade your workplace visitor management system.