There are those among us who love paper. We love the way it feels, and the way a good pen glides across it. And in certain instances, such as e-books vs. actual books, many would argue that paper is objectively superior to digital.
But when it comes to workplace visitor logs, and many other office functions like bookkeeping and word processing, digital beats paper hands down.
What is the first impression you are making to your visitors when you present them with a visitor log? While a paper logbook has a sense of formality, like a guest book at a wedding, it can leave much to be desired.
- Are the pages neat?
- Is it a cheap three-ring binder or a leather-bound folio?
- Has the ink smeared?
- Is there a designated pen handy, or does your guest have to search for or ask for one?
Unlike paper, a digital visitor log tells your visitors that you’ve moved into the modern era. Visual appeal is incredibly important for a positive first impression. The clean lines of a tablet or kiosk starts that process on the right foot.
Of far more weight than first impressions, the security of private information entered in a log should be top on people’s minds. Some of the information you may be required to collect from visitors might be sensitive.
- Phone number
- Reason for visiting
With a paper log sitting on a desk, anyone can simply look at previous log entries and retrieve this information. A digital log stores it privately and securely.
Efficiency for the Workplace
Digital really shines when it comes to the amount of time and labor saved for the organization, which often translates into cost saving.
What do you do with a paper logbook after someone has signed in? Here are some possibilities:
- The pages or books are filed away for future reference, taking up both employee time and valuable physical space.
- The entries are scanned or transcribed to a digital format in order to save physical space, but requiring time and attention from an employee.
- If a particular entry is needed and wasn’t entered digitally, the physical file would need to be retrieved. Even assuming the filing system is accurate, to find it quickly, you’d need to know exactly what you are searching for and how to find it or spend hours thumbing through entries.
- Once an entry is located, everyone involved has to hope the penmanship is legible.
A digital visitor registration app does exactly that. There is no filing or retyping necessary, as guests enter their information directly into the database. Digital storage space is inexpensive. Unlike physical space, it is easy to access from any computer.
Even more importantly, retrieval is far more efficient and effortless. This is best illustrated by a hypothetical scenario.
The local police are investigating a crime, and specifically, they are trying to track the actions (not just the movements) of a local salesperson who frequented the organization. They want to know the specific dates and times this person visited the organization and who they met with over eight weeks time.
- If the organization used paper logs and simply filed them away, it is likely logs were sorted and stored by date, not by name. Eight weeks’ worth of logs would need to be pulled from storage and reviewed by hand to find all the instances of this person’s name.
- If the organization used a digital logbook, date and name parameters can be entered in a search function to retrieve all the visits in minutes.
Another labor-saving feature of digital logbooks is the way they can seamlessly integrate other aspects of the visitor experience and add value for the organization.
When a visitor signs in, their information could be immediately transferred into the organization’s CRM. This saves an employee from manually doing so, and provides immense value in the ability of the organization to follow up with visitors.
Certain workplaces require all guests to sign waivers or non-disclosure agreements. These and other documents requiring a signature can be presented digitally to the visitor upon checking in. This prevents a human employee from forgetting to provide the form for signature. Since it is all done digitally, there is no paper to file or lose.
Lastly, some digital visitor registration apps have other useful features, like the ability to contact a visitor’s host automatically. This is convenient for guests, for hosts and for organizations since a person is not required to make that contact happen.
Digital vs. Paper – It’s a No-Brainer
When you take the time to list out all the advantages of digital over paper, the answer becomes abundantly clear. Digital visitor logbooks reduce the time and hassle of paper in so many ways that are beneficial to both the organization and the visitor. Argue all you want about handwritten letters vs. email or paperbacks vs. e-books; when it comes to visitor logs, we think digital is the undisputed champion.