Updated: Nov 16
Choosing any technology is fraught with factors to consider: A new phone contract is hard work. The phone you choose will be in your hands for 24 months, so you need to be absolutely sure that the phone you choose is perfect.
You’re likely to ask yourself so many questions; what brand, what model, how much memory, what type of camera? And that’s before you even think about the network; how many texts, minutes, data? Do you want extra services, such as music, TV, or sport? Do you want insurance, a new cover or screen protection?
The pressure is on when choosing a new phone, because you know if you get it wrong, you’re stuck with a crumby contract for two years that doesn’t meet your needs. Frustrating! Our phones are so important to us; we spend over 2 and a half hours a day using them! For many of us, having the best suited phone contract helps to keeping our day to day lives running smoothly.
So much effort goes into that two-year commitment to make sure that the perfect solution is found; imagine the effort that goes into researching a new piece of software for your company. Imagine how many specifications you need to check, how many stakeholders have an interest in the software you choose, budget considerations?
Visitor management software should be a commitment that lasts for years to come and fits in with an overall office redesign. You don’t want to get it wrong and waste time and money.
Unsure where to start? In this blog I’ll cover which features of visitor management software you should look for in your search for your new workplace solution.
What is visitor management software?
Let’s start with understanding what visitor management software is. A visitor management system is a solution that allows organisations to streamline their visitor management process, using technology to monitor and record visitor information.
A visitor management system solves many problems for the Facilities Manager:
A visibly safer visitor and employee experience
A safer Decongested reception environment
Cost reduction through digital processes not manual ones
More Efficient processes that capture self certification and pre-registration that can be completed in 7 seconds
Visitor management systems combine people, technology, security, communication and analytics to not only provide a great first impression to visitors and employees, but the tools that the Facilities Manager needs to keep the building running effectively.
Visitor management software keeps your process running smoothly, are compliant and keep your team secure. There are two types of visitor management software:
Legacy on-site software
Can be costly to purchase initially
Requires a physical presence in your office
Requires maintenance, upkeep, and updates
Cloud based software
Cost and time efficient
No hardware maintenance or repairs
Cloud based visitor management software from Proxyclick provides a market leading solution for the modern workplace; all the must-haves to enhance visitor experience, secure assets, streamline operations, manage visitors, be compliant and save costs.
Five software features for visitor management
1. Preregister visitors
There are many benefits to preregistration, but I believe that the key benefit to preregistration is that it gives front of house the ability to prepare for visitors, thus enabling them to provide a concierge style service upon arrival.
A preregistration feature should comprise of:
A smart meeting invite
Important contact information
Important documents and e-signing capability
Directions to your office
Informing front of house staff of the visit
How many times have your reception staff been greeted with a visitor that they didn’t realise was due to attend site that day? Your reception staff will undoubtedly scramble to sign them in, print their security badge, find their host, take them to the correct meeting room and make them a hot drink on the way. Imagine a delivery has arrived at the same time as your visitor and they were asked to wait in the lobby?
It doesn’t matter how welcoming your staff are at that point; the experience has been tainted because you weren’t aware of their arrival. If you don’t know who is walking through your door, it could be the difference between a sale, a new or lost client, a partnership.
What is preregistration?
Good preregistration software starts at the invite to your office. Visitors receive an email meeting invitation with a request to preregister before attending. They’ll be asked to complete certain details, such as their name and contact information, along with being asked to pre-sign important documents. You choose which documents to send; health and safety information, meeting documents, or self-certification can all be sent prior to a visitor arriving in your building.
Starting the process at the invite enables you to trigger these processes automatically and provide a first-class impression to all who enters your building. By preregistering visitors, you’re allowing for a more cohesive process that takes all the information you need, distributes it to the people who need to know, and makes that all important first impression a great one.
First impressions count. Make sure you know who is walking through your lobby and provide the best first impression with effective software.
2. Effective communication
Communication builds the bridge between front of house and other departments and is a huge part of good visitor management. The main benefit of good communication between front of house staff, visitors and other employees is that everyone is fully informed! A cohesive communication approach allows everyone to be fully up to date and feel comfortable with who is due to arrive (front of house), where they need to be (visitor) and what they need to do (host).
Good communication via visitor management software looks like:
Alerting the Facilities Manager when a host books a meeting
Updating reception of who is due to enter the building each day
Updating the host when a visitor checks-in
Providing the visitor with relevant information and contact details of their host
They were the old standards in early digital transformation, now its:
The visitor expects to be able to get a really cool branded invite
Communicating to them that your brand cares about their experience
Not from when the get to reception, but when they plan their journey to you
As a minimum a map that tells them precisely how to get there on their chosen device
A communication “fall back” so they can message the host if they are early or late
A visual cue as to the host and what they look like to avoid those embarrassing “are you” moments
So communication has been extended from reception to the start of the journey
And now to their personal device as well as to other systems in your building
All in the interest of removing manual processes and making the journey and experience frictionless and intuitive
The difference between good and poor communication in a workplace is the difference between engaged and disengaged workers. Engaged employees are more loyal, more likely to put in extra effort in their roles and are less likely to leave their jobs. This is no different for front of house staff. In the hospitality industry, 30% of workers leave their jobs within a year due to poor and unhappy working conditions.
Visitor management software should automate simple communication processes for your organisation, leading to effective communication each time. A good communication workflow looks something like this:
A meeting room is booked
Facilities have oversight of the booking
Cleaners are aware that it will need to be cleaned afterwards
The host receives information confirming the booking
A host invites an external guest
The visitor receives information about the meeting
Visitor is given directions to the building
Visitor is asked to preregister
Important documents are sent prior to the meeting
Front of house are made aware of the visitor's arrival
Front of house know who the visitor is and if they need a concierge style greeting
Visitor arrives on site
They are greeted upon arrival
They check in quickly using their preregistration details
The host is notified of their arrival
Visitor is given a security pass
The visitor receives wayfinding details
Reception know where their meeting is taking place
Visitor is due to leave
Visitor receives information on how to get to the nearest train station
Visitor is able to prebook a taxi if necessary
Reception are aware of what time they are leaving so they can provide concierge service
All of these individual steps are a lot for Facilities to manage; good visitor management software takes care of all of these steps for you, leaving your reception staff free to provide a fantastic first impression.
Communication between the visitor, host and front of house is integral to first-class visitor management. Without it, your front of house operation is manual, reactive, hardly intuitive and as a result, broken.
3. Express check in
As we embark on a journey to discover what the future of the workplace is, one thing is certain; no one wants to wait around in a reception waiting area with 15 others, waiting for a meeting to start. Workplaces need to be safe, socially distant, and handle anxieties professionally.
However, Facilities managers today are being asked to take on more and more responsibility by peers and stakeholders:
They want the identity record checked to ensure the visitor is who they say they are, blacklists need to be automatically checked (disgruntled ex-employees or journalists)
Legal teams want a compliant process that meets the Health and Safety guidelines and every shifting government guideline known to man. They also want robust measurement systems to demonstrate compliance should a litigious claim arise.
HR at the very minimum want a visibly safer process for the visitor and or the employee so they can visibly demonstrate the duty of care they are complying with and have taken and that doesn’t mean tape, signs and screens.
Understandably, Finance want everything to arrive within a budget, which by the way was reduced with little or no warning. They are very keen for anything that conserves cash and in fact will only approve schemes that have hard savings and returns on investment.
Would like the revenue repaired to pre pandemic levels very sharpish, whilst insisting that:
- NEW clients
All have different processes that complement each different visitor type.
So just how does the Houdini Facilities Manager achieve:
- Stakeholder satisfaction or delight?
- Cut costs?
- Keep everyone safe?
- Make visiting the building a delight or even feel like a VIP experience?
- Achieve more to keep everyone happy, right down to a tailor experience for different visitor types?
Adding staff is not the answer, the whole process has to go digital and fast as at least the facilities team can ensure everything is covered in minute detail and delivered consistently in a 100% measurable way.
So how do we achieve all those often-conflicting visitor management objectives?
The answer is simple, you need help, from folk who can demonstrate a track record of success, tackling similar enterprise-wide challenges in a way that “designs in” adaptability.
Good visitor management software will allow visitors to check in quickly and move on to their meeting room with minimum peer to peer contact. This approach keeps receptions decongested, allows quick movement from someone entering the building to where they need to be, reduces touch points that require sanitisation and keeps processes running efficiently.
Express check in:
Has motion sensors and recognises a visitor approaching
Has the ability to scan preregistered visitors
Can take temperatures using thermal imaging
Can take a photo of your visitor
Prints a security badge
Notify the host of the arrival
Provides wayfinding details to the visitor
Express check in should be efficient and autonomous, allowing Facilities to deal with more pressing tasks and feel confident that no steps will be missed or forgotten.
Of the many tasks the Facilities Manager has to take care of, ensuring people return to a safe working environment is crucial. The consequences of this not being taken care of are huge; fines, premise closures and even prison time will be handed out to employers who do not take measures seriously and do not keep their workplaces Covid-secure.
65% of British workers are anxious to return to the workplace after Covid-19. Covid-19 has brought upon many an anxiety of sharing germs or touching surfaces that others may have touched. Help your visitors feel at ease when they enter your building with an express, touchless check in process.
The future workplace needs to show a visible and positive change in order for employees to trust that the building is safe.
4. Interactive Mapping delivering the ultimate wayfinding in buildings that are new to you.
How much time is wasted waiting for meetings to start, or trying to find the meeting room?
Here’s how much:
1. 49% of British Meeting Room attendees spend 10 minutes or more trying to hunt down their meeting room
2. That same number spent up to 15 minutes chewing the fat while waiting for latecomers
3. 34% spend up to ten minutes adjusting room temperatures before they get started!
If your visitors aren’t given clear directions to the correct meeting room, or the host hasn’t met them at the lobby, how will they arrive on time? How much does you front of house contribute toward poor productivity?
Providing a great first impression to our visitors must continue after they have signed in. Good wayfinding is informing your visitor of:
Which meeting room they’ll be in
Directions to the elevator
What elevator to take, to which floor
Directions from the elevator to the meeting room
The nearest toilets and fire exist are shown clearly
Efficient visitor management software can send your visitor a map and instructions to their smartphone.
The process between a visitor being invited to your building, to them leaving, should all follow one cohesive and autonomous process. This approach takes your workplace from a reactive container to a connected workplace; one which is intelligent, intuitive, modern, smart.
Being a connected workplace or a reactive workplace will define the future of your business; will you adapt and survive, or refuse to change with the times?
Start your meetings on time with effective wayfinding visitor management software.
The final visitor management software feature that you need with your investment is the ability to have workflows. For a busy Facilities department, likely to be run by one Facilities Manager, having the ability to automate workflows is integral to the upkeep of buildings.
For those looking to automate processes and have a much more connected workplace, visitor management software is for you.
Efficient visitor management software:
Automates all visitor management touchpoints
Enables you to add services to meetings, such as catering or taxi booking
Communicates with all parties effectively
Is cost effective
Is customisable to your needs
Records metrics and data dependant on your KPIs
Has reporting functions
Imagine having one place to create, manage and monitor the effectiveness of all of these functions, how simple and quick it would be for the Facilities Manager and team? This can be achieved with the implementation of a smart, intuitive visitor management solution.
The five features that you need for smart visitor management software are:
1. Preregister visitors
2. Effective communication
3. Express check-in
From the outset the facilities team were up against it, however with digital visitor management they can:
Keep all their stakeholders happy
Drive the visitor experience to a new level
Save cost through process efficiencies, removing manual workloads from front of house teams.
Enable those front of house teams to step up to a true concierge service
Re-engineering the workplace gives an opportunity for innovation and change. Vgreet is a visitor management solution that provides a fantastic end to end experience for your visitors. In addition, Vgreet provides autonomy to your workplace, keeping your business running smoothly and safely. Read more information about Vodafone's visitor management software choice in our case study.