Visitor management is an often-overlooked part of running an efficient, productive organization. Many workplaces have an assumption that employees will just deal with visitors in an appropriate manner. However, there are many benefits to having some guidelines and recommended procedures in place for how to deal with visitors, and many real problems can be avoided by effective visitor management.
Part of why some organizations neglect visitor management is because they have a poor definition of visitors/guests. If they aren’t a hotel or a hospital, they think they don’t have any visitors. They’re wrong.
A visitor is any person entering your workspace who does not work in your organization. Period. Thus a visitor could be someone as innocuous as the pizza delivery person or as important as a bigwig investor or the president of the company – who works in another building across the world – coming for a meeting.
A not-at-all comprehensive list of visitors would include:
Your organization has a stake in how every one of these people are treated when they walk through your door. Each one is a relationship that can and should be built and nurtured. Use your visitor management to its fullest potential in order to do exactly that.
Visitor management is part of your brand identity. Ask yourself:
We’re going to take a wild guess that you did NOT answer that you wanted visitors to see a junky pile of boxes, feel completely lost, be greeted by whatever random person walks by, or be greeted rudely.
A well-planned visitor management system ensures that your guests’ first impression is a good one. Given that people make snap judgments within just a few seconds, it is important to think about what you want that judgment to be. When you take the time to tailor your guests’ first experiences with your organization, it can deliver dividends.
Imagine a guest who approaches your building and sees a “Visitor Entrance” sign with your company logo. Once inside, they receive a smile from an employee who says, “Please sign in using our visitor registration app, then we’ll get you on your way.” They quickly fill in the information on a touchscreen featuring photos of your latest products. They are handed a visitor badge – if appropriate – and asked to have a seat in a comfortable waiting area. In minutes, their host arrives, having been contacted automatically via the app.
This experience broadcasts a strong message to your guests.
Planning ahead for how visitors are managed can greatly increase your productivity. Having a smooth and efficient experience for your guests also means a smooth and efficient experience for your employees. Time is precious, and the less time your employees spend fumbling about trying to assist visitors is time they have to do other important work.
In some modern offices, flex workspaces and coworking locations, there may not be a designated receptionist. Who greets visitors in this situation? This is a perfect example of how having planned ahead for guests makes all the difference. Here are a few possible scenarios, with and without a receptionist:
Even if the interrupted employee knows the host, it is possible they don’t know where they are at the moment or how best to contact them. Either way, the guest is kept waiting until the host is located.
It is quite clear that Scenario D causes the least disruption. Having a receptionist who greets visitors also decreases problems of interruption for the vast majority of employees, but reduces the amount of work the receptionist can accomplish.
Unfamiliar people in your building are a risk. Some may have intent to harm employees or commit theft. A guest always has the potential for getting lost or hurt on the premises. There are a number of ways that having a robust visitor management system can protect your organization.
In addition to all the benefits already outlined, having records full of data about the guests who visit your organization can be a major boon. Every time a visitor is entered into your visitor management database, you are collecting important information about who they are, why they are visiting and how you can reach them. This information can be vital for following up with them. Some visitor management software can automatically add your visitors’ data to your Contact Management or Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system. Who might be included?
How you manage your visitors has a ripple effect. It starts with making a good impression, continues by maximizing the visitor registration experience while minimizing interruption to employees, and finishes with relationship building. How you leverage these first crucial moments of your guests’ visit to your workplace can have far-reaching ramifications for your security and your business success.