There are a number of different ways that organizations manage visitors to their offices and workspaces. Some use dedicated receptionists. Others have security guards or locked entrances. Still others have very informal systems with loose guidelines at best.
What is the best way to manage visitors? While it can be different for every organization based on their needs, there are definitely pros and cons to the different methods that hold true across organizations. There are also some best practices that can be helpful regardless of the method.
What are some of the different visitor management systems used by different companies? Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is worth taking the time to explore each one to see what is right for your organization.
A dedicated receptionist is an employee whose primary responsibility is to greet and direct guests. Some examples of a dedicated receptionist includes:
While these employees may very well carry out other important tasks – hotel clerks answer the phones and assist guests who are already checked in – their job, first and foremost, is to check in guests who are arriving and assist them with finding what they need.
Unlike a dedicated receptionist, a semi-dedicated receptionist greets guests as an equal or lesser duty to other responsibilities. This person might be an office manager, an administrative assistant or some other position of that nature. These employees answer phones, schedule meetings, order supplies, organize events and perform a multitude of other tasks that are just as important as greeting visitors.
Ever worked in an office with no official receptionist? The unlucky soul whose desk is near the door has all the visitors walk straight to their desk for assistance. If this person happens to be a people person and doesn’t have anything pressing to accomplish, this may not be an issue. On the other hand, it is a recipe for inefficiency.
There aren’t really any cut-and-dried advantages to this method. You could argue that since you aren’t paying a person to greet guests that it is cost effective, but in all likelihood, it is more costly in more important ways.
The disadvantages to this visitor management method are quite significant.
For those who have a mind toward security issues, a security guard posted at the door might be a strong consideration. In many ways, this is just another form of the dedicated receptionist, albeit a specialized one.
You may have been to apartment buildings and offices that have locked entrances. Visitors are required to press a doorbell and often speak through an intercom to allowed inside. The attendant then unlocks the door electronically. Such systems are often used in conjunction with a security guard or receptionist of another kind.
The increasing role of automation in society allows for such technology as visitor check-in kiosks. Using this method of visitor management, visitors check themselves into an organization using a touch screen or a computer. Kiosks of this nature can be stand-alone or can complement a human receptionist.
Choosing which management system is right for you is a matter of preference based on your organization’s needs. In general, an electronic system used in tandem with an employee receptionist offers the best of both worlds in terms of record-keeping, security and a human touch.
Regardless of whether you use human reception, electronic reception, or both together, certain techniques and best practices make the processes and records smooth and clean.
Consider using these techniques as you choose your system.
The best visitor management system is the one that works. It welcomes your guests, gathers their information quickly and efficiently and gets them on their way. It helps keep your workplace and data secure. It reduces interruptions for your valuable employees and keeps costs in check. And, most importantly, it is easy enough that you, your employees and your guests will use it consistently and happily.