5 things that will immediately improve your visitor management experience
Remember that moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door from her sepia-toned world and finds herself immersed in a world of color and wonder? Before anybody spoke a word, you knew that you were about to experience something extraordinary.
When it came to making a first impression and introducing you to a new world, this movie knocked it out of the park. The same should be true for visitors to your company’s reception area. What do you want those visitors to think about you? How do you want them to feel? And perhaps most importantly, how do those first moments express your company’s brand?
Visitor management takes a page from the hotel industry
A lot goes into the visitor check-in experience at the front desk. Within seconds of walking into a lobby, visitors need a valid ID. They need the name of the people they’re there to see. In some cases, they need to fill out an NDA or other paperwork.
This visitor management experience is not unlike the one we’ve come to expect at a hotel. The difference is, hotels infuse the experience with hospitality. The “wow” factor associated with great hotels is a concept that companies are learning to duplicate in their lobbies. These five hotel-inspired ideas give you a glimpse into the new world of visitor management.
1. Show speed and efficiency through state-of-the-art visitor management
There’s a lot that reception has to do to process each visitor. Get through the administrative stuff quickly—and with style—by using visitor management software. Visitors can sign in and have their photo taken on an iPad, and reception creates a badge in seconds. Before the guest has even peeled off the badge’s sticker paper, the meeting’s host knows that the visitor is waiting. But that’s not all that visitor management software can do. Receptionists can also quickly verify IDs and check names against multiple blocklists. Those lists help ensure workplace security. At the same time, the hosts, who may not know their visitor by sight, receive the visitor’s photo, so they can find the visitor instantly and greet them right away.
Visitor management helps companies subtly send the message that they invest in cutting-edge technology and that they care about visitors’ time. The message isn’t lost on employees, either. Workers today expect that their companies employ the latest technology, and visitor management software tells future employees that the workplace experience here is on point.
2. Offer five-star service in a five-minute timeframe
The truth is, your reception staff probably doesn’t have a lot of time to spend with each visitor. If your visitor management software is speeding up the reception process, a visitor’s time in the lobby isn’t going to be long, so every second counts. The five-star hotel approach here is about comfort, meeting immediate needs, quality time, and exceeding expectations. More often than not, a company’s mission statement includes something about excellent quality that exceeds expectations, so don’t be shy about baking that into the visitor experience. Believe it or not, visitor management software can help here, too.
- Use the visitor management system to pre-register the guest online. Along with the invite, send NDA and safety paperwork that the visitor fills out in advance.
- Send the visitor a temporary wi-fi password, and instructions to simply show an ID at the reception desk. Include a map so visitors can familiarize themselves with the facility.
- Help visitors look and feel their best. Provide a tray of items they might need, especially for an important meeting or a job interview. Keep a fresh supply of hairspray, hand lotion, cotton swabs, stain remover sticks, and breath mints in the restrooms reserved for visitors.
- Address each visitor warmly and by name. Even if there isn’t a lot of time to talk, be sure reception staff lets visitors know about the amenities they can access while they wait.
3. Make sure the lobby design reflects your brand
Too often, companies miss the opportunity to allow visitors to connect with the brand. After all, company visitors could also be customers, and you want them to remember the experience long after the meeting. You can communicate so much with thoughtful interior design. Good lobby branding is more than company logos and colors. People seek out authenticity and need to connect to a brand personally. And the design of the lobby must be part of the brand. “There isn’t a secret (to it),” said David Gauillo, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Rapt Studio, a firm that designs corporate lobbies. “It needs to be genuine, honest, and truly stemming from the heart of the brand.”
Companies that promote innovation and future-leaning workplace technology might express that by offering wireless device charging built into the furniture. A company with a more casual environment to foster creativity, collaboration, and individuality might use design elements like exposed brick, live plants, fountains, and colorful, comfortable furniture. Great design ideas come directly from what’s true about the company and what makes you proud to work there.
4. Give visitors something active to do
Meetings run late, traffic can delay your meeting host, and sometimes, the person you need to meet has something unexpected come up that they have to attend to first. Keeping people in the lobby too long is not a good practice, but a well-thought-out lobby experience should include some of the following:
- If you haven’t already provided visitors with a temporary wi-fi password, make sure they’re able to connect.
- Provide enough plugs and outlets for laptop charging and phone charging coffee bar and perhaps a well-stocked candy bowl (get the good stuff) will be appreciated
- If you can provide cold drinks in addition to bottled water, you’re getting closer to the hotel experience and showing visitors you’re concerned about their comfort
5. Provide a great workplace experience for employees
It’s not just visitors who reap the benefits from a transformed lobby and upgraded visitor management experience. When employees walk through the door every day, they can get a big dose of “wow,” too. The space should also remind employees of the meaning behind their jobs, what their contributions add to society, and instill pride in the company. Purpose, intention, satisfaction, and trust is at the very foundation of a positive workplace experience. But don’t leave it at that. There are countless ways to add a five-star touch for employees.
- Use visitor management software for package delivery. The same system you use to process guests and notify hosts is also great for packages. Visitor management software automates the process of scanning in packages and notifying recipients, so the effort is minimal, but the reward high.
- Turn the lobby into a customer experience center. If your company doesn’t already have an area where visitors can see and try your products or see demos and presentations, the lobby is a place to start. If you have space, a touch-screen video wall system is an impressive way to immerse guests in your brand and messaging. Add product displays, access to the company’s library of presentations and videos, and a hospitality center, and your lobby becomes a perfect place for employees to bring visitors.
- Use the lobby as an employee connecting point. Give employees access to the amenities of the lobby as well. If you have a coffee bar for visitors, make it available as a place for employees to gather and socialize. Let them consider the soft furniture as an alternative workspace when they need a change of pace. A busy “working” lobby gives visitors a glimpse of your company’s workplace experience and culture—a powerful reinforcement that everyone there “walks the talk.”
These are just a few ideas to kickstart a reception area transformation that will dramatically improve the visitor experience. Some you can implement right away, and some require planning and design work. Whatever you choose to do, remember to let your company’s values, culture, and mission be your guide.
Want some more ideas for making your company stand out from the crowd for both employees and visitors? Get the essential workplace experience blueprint.