By Reagan Nickl
Enterprise Customer Success Senior Manager
Facilities managers know how important guest management is. Visitors expect a seamless experience from the moment they enter the building to the moment they leave. The problem is you can’t hold their hand every step of the way. You can and should trust visitors to navigate your facilities with a certain degree of autonomy—provided they’ve checked in.
The best way to deliver this experience is via a visitor management system. Here’s what to look for in a visitor management system:
1. Appointment confirmation emails
The visitor experience starts before they step foot into your facility. Assume they’ve called ahead or schedule online. What’s the next natural step in welcoming them as a visitor? A confirmation email. Confirmation emails shouldn’t just remind someone of an appointment or confirm their visit. They’re an opportunity to set the tone and provide hospitable information. You might also choose to include:
- Instructions for check-in and some FAQs about the check-in process
- Appointment information (who, what, where, when, why)
- Parking information or directions from nearby transit stations
- Reminders about building policies or office rules
- Contact information for a help desk or a link to reschedule a visit
Think of the confirmation email as the point of first contact in your visitor management system. It sets the tone for next steps and visitor expectations, and it helps people feel less lost from the get-go.
2. Wayfinding maps and directions
Speaking of feeling less lost, visitors need a way to figure out where they’re going once they arrive. An important feature of a good visitor management system is the wayfinding component.
The most useful opportunity to provide wayfinding is via a web app. Put your cloud-hosted floor plan and wayfinding features into a convenient URL where visitors can pop it open on-the-go and figure out exactly where they are vs. where they’re going. For more frequent guests, an app download has the same effect and gives them an ongoing way to get familiar with your facilities.
At the least, provide a map. Without a top-down view of facilities, visitors are mice in a maze. They shouldn’t need to figure out how to navigate via trial and error. Simple wayfinding solutions go a long way toward a positive guest experience.
3. Visitor-level access control credentials
The point of check-in is the pinnacle of visitor management. Once checked in, visitors gain the access they need to your facilities—in a literal sense. Visitor badges are commonplace and useful in keeping guests out of areas where they don’t belong. Thanks to today’s access control systems, this is easier than ever.
Tie visitor badges into visitor management software to set access credentials at a group level. For example:
- General visitors get Level I access—all common facilities
- Priority visitors get Level II access—common facilities and floors I and II
- Executive visitors get Level III access—all facilities save for restricted access rooms
Whether it’s an executive visitor from a partner company or a salesperson here for a meeting, the right visitor-level access control credentials make it easy to navigate. It’s much more fluid than having a chaperone or wandering into business units where they might not belong.
4. Instant-access help resources
Even the most structured visitor management system can’t account for every inevitability. Visitors will need help at some point. Make sure they get it. Instant-access help resources can take many forms and offer an abundance of convenience at a moment’s notice:
- A tap-to-call phone number that connects visitors to the help desk
- Instant messaging capabilities that connect visitors to the person they’re meeting
- Wayfinding mobile pop-ups that notify visitors when they’ve gone off course
- A mobile site that lists visitor information in an organized, concise way
Visitors shouldn’t ever feel like they’re stranded in your facilities. Access to helpful resources should be a priority, and visitors should always be aware of these simple lifelines as they navigate—whether they’re lost or not.
5. Facility amenities
Above all, a visitor management system should make guests feel comfortable. There are a multitude of ways to instill this feeling, and it’s often the little things that make a big impact on visitor experience:
- Free Wi-Fi with an automatic guest login
- Access to comfortable waiting room seating
- Access to a facility directory that lists amenities
- Access to a limited company directory
Keep in mind the baseline needs of every visitor when cultivating a visitor management system. Provide nondescript conveniences and universal amenities wherever possible—whether it’s easy directions to the nearest restroom or high-speed Wi-Fi. The more familiar your facilities feel, even to someone who has never visited before, the better the visitor experience is bound to be.
Cultivate an experience
Every interaction visitors have with your facilities is a unique, individual experience. Your goal is to make sure every experience is a positive one. To guarantee this takes a feature-rich visitor management system that welcomes, guides, and reassures guests. From before they enter your facilities, to check-in, navigation, access, and help while they’re there, good visitor management assures a great visitor experience.
Keep reading: Wayfinding Best Practices