When I had visitors the receptionist would call my desk phone and, when I inevitably didn't answer because I was in a conference room, leave a message. This visitor management system did not work because I was not informed of my guests in a practical manner.
The lesson: As you consider visitor check-in apps, make sure it offers real-time reception notifications that fit the way you and your employees work. Make sure your digital receptionist offers all of the notification types below, and that selections can be customized per each employee's work style and preferences.
Text Messages (SMS)
90% of text messages (technically SMS, or short message service) are read within 3 seconds! But you don't need stats to know the power of text messages in the modern office -- you are probably reading this on your smartphone right now. The landline my former receptionist would call was anchored to my desk. Text messages reach employees anytime, anywhere. If an important visitor arrives, or that food delivery you've been waiting to devour, it won't be missed because you stepped away.
There is an even more compelling reason for instant text notifications... speed. Most text messages are processed in milliseconds and reach the recipient's phone within 15 seconds. While they can be delayed, speed is fast and delivery rates are high. SMS notifications are virtually instant.
Some visitor registration apps do not include text messages, charge extra for them, or only include them with the highest pricing plans. If your office is looking for real-time reception notifications, make sure you understand the price including unlimited text messages.
For most of the last 100 years, voice calls were the primary way to letting employees know they had a visitor. When a visitor arrived the receptionist would call the host employee on their office phone, or the phone closest to their work space. So there is a level of comfort in these notifications.
Today though, reception voice notifications can be received on landlines, smartphones and VOIP or soft phones. Notifications might direct dial numbers or extensions through a PBX. They can reach someone in the office or around the world. And, of course, they are automated and can leave a voice mail if the notification call goes unanswered.
Email is the Internet's first killer app. While many may now favor text messaging, email is used by billions of people each day. And whereas employees may pay for there own text messages, and therefore not want the company to send them any, the employer generally owns the work email address. Consider email a staple notification-type for any workplace.
Email is not perfect though. 20% of emails do not reach the recipient's inbox. They may be blocked by the sender's gateway, corporate firewalls, individual email spam filters or other technical breakdowns. Further, emails can be delayed through no fault of the sender or receiver. While most emails are delivered within a second or two, it can be much longer. While the occasional delayed or missed email is inevitable, there are steps you can take to ensure visitor reception email notifications come through quickly.
Most organizations, and likely yours, have adopted a corporate instant messaging service. There are many reasons including collaboration, security and saving money versus alternative communication mediums, for example, international phone calls.
The best iPad receptionists, like Greetly, offer Slack integrations. While less pervasive overall than texting, if your organization uses Slack, this is where they are checking for new information throughout the work day. Also like SMS, Slack notifications are also delivered virtually instantaneous, often in less than a second.
So which reception notifications are right for you? All of them!
Different employees have different tools, styles and preferences. Select a digital receptionist that offers the speed of SMS and Slack, standardization of voice calls and high availability of email. Give each employee the power to choose which reception notifications they will receive.
-- Dave from Greetly