By Katherine Schwartz
Demand Generation Specialist
If your business welcomes visitors, there’s a need to shape the experience these guests have with your facilities. One of the best ways to control the visitor experience and facilitate a smooth interaction with your facilities is via a digital visitor management system. If this concept is a new one or you’re in the market for such a platform, there are plenty of questions to ask before buying a visitor management system.
As with any major software investment, the decision to purchase comes down to value. How will a visitor management system help you accomplish the goals you have for this aspect of facilities management? Below are five core questions that will put you on the right track to an investment that will serve you, your facilities, and, most importantly, your visitors.
1. What’s your demand for visitor management?
What kind of visitor experience do your facilities currently offer? How could that experience be improved? Gauge your demand for visitor management software before anything else and determine how this investment will unlock new opportunities for your guests.
Look at how many visitors you welcome on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Why do these people visit? Who are they here to see? What aspects of your facilities do they use? At a high level, gauge the need for visitor management as it relates to the real demands your facility faces. You may welcome fewer visitors, but need a highly controlled system that exemplifies experience. Or, you may welcome hundreds of visitors each week who only need a simple framework to meet their needs. Explore this demand in real terms as you look for software designed to meet it.
2. What is the scope of your visitor experience?
The purpose of a visitor management system is to create a step-by-step, repeatable process that guests can rely on to guide their interaction with your facilities. Ask yourself what the scope of that experience needs to be. It goes beyond check-in or wayfinding, and needs to encompass every phase of a visitor’s interaction with your facilities, employees, resources, and technology. Some examples include:
- Reservations and bookings
- Check-in/-out systems
- Welcome process and interaction
- Wayfinding maps and apps
- Visitor badging and permissions
- Access to Wi-Fi and other tech
Flesh out the scope of a visitor’s experience to gauge their needs and expectations. These findings will influence what features and capabilities your visitor management system needs to set the tone for a positive experience.
3. What integrations and touchpoints do you need?
After you determine the scope of a visitor’s experience, go a layer deeper. How will a visitor system facilitate this experience? Does the platform offer check-in for visitor management? Can it integrate with your employee directory or space planning software? What automations does it offer?
Explore the capabilities of software from a technical standpoint. Integrations and touchpoints need to be as fluid as the visitor experience itself. A well-run front-end (UX) may be great for visitor interaction, but a clunky back-end (UI) may make visitor management difficult from a facilities management standpoint. Find a system that plays well with your broader office ecosystem, to enable seamless integration on the back-end and frictionless touchpoints on the front-end.
4. What data does the system handle?
One key element of visitor management isn’t front-facing at all. The data you collect and aggregate for your visitors plays a big part in the reason to invest in a digital management system. Orchestrated for data capture and reporting, a well-implemented system sheds light on broad variables of a visitor’s interaction and how you can optimize it.
What’s the average length of a visit? What days see the most guests at your facilities? A visitor on Tuesday tested positive for COVID-19—what facilities did they use, who did they meet with, and what was their origin? Data plays a critical role in visitor management from a facilities management perspective. Look for a software solution that collects, aggregates, reports, and catalogs as many critical data points as possible.
5. How will you define ROI?
How do you measure the return on investment (ROI) of a good visitor experience? That’s a question every company needs to ask itself. It depends on the type of visitor and the reason for their visit. If your facilities welcome sales prospects who leave feeling good, you might measure ROI in terms of in-house sales dollars. If you welcome strategic visitors for project planning and collaboration, ROI might take the form of time saved.
Whatever the ROI metric, establish it before you make the investment in visitor management software. Set a benchmark for gauging returns and determine your break-even point. Treat this software as a traditional investment—because it is. It’s an upfront expense that can and should lead to long-term growth, profit, and benefits.
Probe deeper before a purchase
Every business needs to shape a positive experience for visitors—whether they’re a one-off visitor or a frequent guest. A clear, well-managed, repeatable process that answers questions and provides guidance is what defines that experience. It’s a system that needs the support of visitor management software.
Determine what you want the visitor experience to look and feel like in your facilities. As you comb through visitor management software options, continue to ask questions about the benefits and capabilities that come with each platform. How do they further the mission of a seamless visitor experience? Choose software capable of creating that experience, from the moment someone walks in the door to the moment they leave.
Keep reading: 5 Essential Visitor Management System Features