By Aleks Sheynkman
Director of Engineering
SpaceIQ

We’ve all gone through some form of workplace visitor experience. You may have signed a check-in sheet with the date and time or been handed a keycard and escorted to your destination. Whatever the fanfare (or lack thereof), there’s more than a few good reasons for companies to install a visitor management system.

Businesses should prioritize visitor protocols for clients, partners, consultants, remote workers, interns, and others not considered full-time employees. A well-defined visitor management system sets the tone for a positive visitor experience and minimal disruption for employees. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to work.

Keeping a record of visitors

The fundamental purpose of a visitor check-in system is to be a system of record. You need to know who’s in your facilities, when they’re there, and for what purpose. The most essential of all visitor management system features is a check-in point, which serves to:.

  • Create an archive entry. Visitor records are always available, since no one passes into your facilities without checking in.
  • Trigger the next phase of visitor handling. That could be an instant alert from a mobile wayfinding system or an interaction with a front desk person.
  • Build protocols. Do visitors need badges? Does an employee need to be notified a visitor has arrived? Check-in is part of a systematic process that helps visitors meet their objective.

Check-in and the subsequent record it creates are the primary triggers in visitor management systems, no matter how simple or robust. They’re the first domino to fall.

Directing facility traffic

The second step in visitor management is recognizing the needs of the visitor. Most often, that’s providing directions. Simple instructions substantially improve the visitor experience by grounding it. Visitors know where they are and how to get to where they’re going.

For businesses with a web-based visitor management system, the possibilities become even more robust and helpful to visitors. They may receive SMS messages or push alerts via your mobile wayfinding app. Such tools are especially useful for campuses, where reaching a destination may take more than a few simple steps.

Give good directions and you’ll create a great visitor experience—whether it’s their first time at your facility or if they’re a frequent flyer. Keeping visitors on track to their destinations also prevents disruption to others when they’re forced to stop employees and ask for directions.

Improving visitor confidence

People don’t like the unfamiliar, and it can be scary walking into a new building, talking to someone you’ve never met, and trying to navigate to a place you’ve never been. Alleviate this unease and you create an experience that improves visitor confidence. Consider the following stress-free example:

Jake walks into the lobby and approaches a clearly marked Visitor Desk. He checks in on a tablet by entering his name, the date, purpose for his visit, who he’s seeing, and a contact number. After checking in, Jake receives a personalized text with step-by-step directions to his destination, as well as the phone number for the person he’s meeting. Jake follows the directions—reinforced by clear wall signage—directly to the meeting.

Jake has all the information he needs to feel confident and his experience is seamless, from the time he walks into the lobby to the time he arrives at the meeting. As a result, Jake has a positive feeling about his surroundings and a better mood during his visit.

Creating a safety framework

A visitor management system affords visitors, employees, and anyone else within the facilities a sense of security. Take a look at some examples of how visitor management solutions mitigate uncertain, unsafe events:

  • The second floor is under construction. Instead of walking through a hazard area, visitors are rerouted to an unobstructed secondary path, preventing accidental injuries.
  • A customer is upset at the service received from a specific employee. The company’s visitor management check-in system prevents the person from marching directly to an office and confronting the employee.
  • The fire alarm goes off. Because visitors checked in for their visits, each receives a text with directions to the nearest fire exit based on their last location within the building.

These examples illustrate the importance of control when it comes to visitors. A visitor management system creates accountability, which emphasizes safety for all involved.

Controlling the visitor experience

Think about your visitor management system not only as a framework for control, but also as an opportunity to deliver a great customer experience. It’s a welcome mat for someone coming to your office. It’s a reprieve for employees who don’t have time for disruptions. It’s the assurance that your facilities will continue to run smoothly. Visitor management sets expectations and assures a defined, repeatable, reliable process for welcoming people into your environment.

Keep reading: The State of the Facility Management Market