Updated: Feb 19
The challenges of visitor management: Unpredictable visitor traffic
Visitor management is a topic that many organisations have not taken the time to consider or sign off a new way of thinking for a long time; not for a lack of trying on a FMs part. As such, they're stuck in the "old model" approach with visitor management solutions of fixed numbers of staff dealing with a fixed numbers of visitors per hour.
The result of this approach is excessive costs, especially if you have staff on standby for the peaks of traffic which leads to:
Queues at peak times
Staff won't be utilised effectively during slow periods
High frequency staff turnover with bored, unengaged staff moving to more fulfilling jobs.
It all adds to the Facilities Managers headache.
Many companies have endorsed digital visitor management solutions partially, with electronic lists for visitors. Electronic lists don't create effective visitor management on their own, here's why:
They reinforce a reactive culture that waits for the visitor to arrive before doing anything
They reinforce to staff that the "reaction model" is acceptable
You may know who is due to visit your office, but it's not always reliable
In a return to the office hybrid working scenario, a few things are key:
Employees are to be treated as visitors
Haphazard partially effective digital visitor management solutions are not going to give HR or Legal peace of mind
Queues or security checking people off a partially complete list, are not going to deliver the psychological safety either the employee, visitor or member of staff need when the return starts
Understanding efficient visitor management techniques
What is your visitor management's Digital Efficiency?
It's not all about saving money, the Vgreet customers we see are implementing a new solution for three options:
Some are going for savings
That's often superseded by experience, the desire for a "white glove approach"
And in others they are taking the digital efficiency and repurposing staff
The trend towards digital efficiency and journeys is being evolved by, as we see it, three powerful forces:
Covid has advanced many trends by years or decades (virtual Teams or Zoom meetings)
An expectation that the business digital experience can match or catch up with consumer digital experience
An understanding that the hybrid worker expects the office to be safe, to receive a far better experience, and level of productivity in their quest to either collaborate with colleagues or meet and delight customers
If not, then for a large number of offices in city centres requiring extensive commutes, they will be replaced or drastically downsized and we'll see numerous satellite offices or near home coworking boom.
For those who recognise these trends and are now adapting fast, they have worked out the timetable in the UK, where they have to have the Employee and Visitor answers in place.
For those getting their visitor management solutions in place, here is a visitor management framework that works well for both the decision maker and stakeholder.
Effective Visitor Management Framework
They vary, as you would expect depending on "the lens" of the stakeholder in terms of order of priority, however, here is the full list:
1. Safe Workplace
High for HR and Legal, the Employee and the visitor.
Pre-registration processes that can be easily customised and changed, with self health surveys
Touchless 3 second express check-in to minimise queues and surface contact
The ability to tailor workflows for different visitor or employee types
For first time visitors, one workflow
For contractors coming in daily another
We should not forget the front of house staff, with a rapidly growing trend now emerging to:
Centralise them across multi building estates removing them from contact
Improving their working conditions (38% are behind screens)
Minimising visitor and employee contact
Dealing with both visitor and employee via video links from Visitor kiosks
OR outsourcing completely to the top PA firms like Moneypenny
The number one focus is removing two things
Parts of workflows that require multiple touches, key visitor data from one system to another which is common in electronic visitor management system
We have seen efficiency level gains of 70% with massive gains from the adoption of the "challenger approach".
The challenger approach is simple; challenge every workflow step, every process and the data source. The first two are self explanatory, however, what do we mean by the data source? One example that can be used to explain this is the visitors email address; what are we using as the source for this data?
For those with Microsoft Office 365 and room or desk booking system like Condeco, this is easier as you can extract the visitor email right from its source, the outlook invite. Read how office 365 visitor registration work
This gives you 100% (apart from exceptions) of visitor data coverage, if you're invited to the meeting then we have your visitor email data. However, too often when we quiz customers on current processes we find, a "secretary tells reception" or "we manually key it into this system" or "we invite the visitor management system to the meeting".
These processes are archaic, can't be relied on, or worse still, are not secure, who wants ANY system knowing the meeting title, agenda or anything else they can access?
The key here is to REMOVE multiple sets of "fingers" from the process, start at the host, The Outlook invite in Office 365.
3. Managing Costs
Accessing the digital efficiency of the employee and visitor processes soon identifies where you are on the scale:
20% efficiency gains are at the marginal end
70% efficiency gains are more normal
However, cost is rarely the primary driver, with staff being repurposed or their budget being used to upgrade the service to digital PLUS full concierge white glove.
That's just one dimension of costs, we can use the "elastic" digital reception system, with executive PAs available on demand, with a simple voice instruction who can deal with the exceptions, and full access to visitor management systems.
4. Visitor Experience
Combining digital processes and people is always the best combination, delivering speed and efficiency for everyone with people adding either white glove or exception management.
This approach avoids queues at peak times and ensures the visitor per hour capability at peak times is raised dramatically with 3 second touchless check-in.
Instant host notifications mean those with escort the visitor policies, can not interrupt meetings, yet save the receptionist another manual task.
Can your visitor management solution integrate to other software? Can you book meeting room or control access with your visitor management app? Integrations to room and desk booking enable visitors, or employees to be given interactive maps showing room and desk locations.
Or for the Hybrid Worker their locker for post, IT pick up, or drop off or day locker locations.
5. Improving Productivity
A Business Insider study showed up to 80% of meetings start 15 minutes late costing billions of dollars in lost productivity.
People getting to the office on time.
People not getting stuck in reception queues
People finding their way to the room or desk
It all helps boost productivity and remove process friction.
The whole experience is transformed, starting with the invite having helpful detail:
A branded Invite
Reinforcing you as the company that cares
Google Maps for your smartphone
The building address
Host SMS number
Express check-in QR code
More visitor management feature for your solution
They all transform that first impression, starting the experience not at the reception desk, but at the start of the journey.
Self Health surveys can be completed prior to arrival, as can other admin, that is removed from reception.
Understanding efficient visitor management techniques is important. Your visitor management framework needs to take workplace safety, efficiency, cost, and visitor experience into consideration. And most importantly, break the paradigm by improving your digital efficiency.
Calculate your digital efficiency here
Learn more about visitor management system.
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