Visitor Management Systems: What You Need to Know
Saying that a visitor management system simply manages your guest intake is an understatement of what it can do for your business.
It’s a crucial component of the customer experience, as well as ensuring an efficient and productive office environment.
Here’s what you need to know about visitor management systems, and how it could help your business.
What is a visitor management system?
A visitor management system (VMS) is a tool that businesses and organizations use to monitor and manage the flow of visitors in the building. Old methods of visitor management usually involve a basic pen-and-paper process of filling out a check-in sheet.
How does a visitor management system work?
Visitor management systems typically involve touchscreen kiosks that visitors interact with to enter their information during their visit. This information is automatically logged into a spreadsheet in a database, which may track the following inputs:
- Name of visitor
- Date of visit
- Time of check-in / check-out
- Nature of visit
Some kiosks may also serve as information centers that contain basic guest inquiries. These are common in industries with high traffic like hospitality and public spaces.
The use of visitor management systems usually falls under security, customer service, and general management. Receptionists, for instance, may assist visitors in using the kiosks or answer complex inquiries that kiosks are unable to answer.
Why a visitor management system is important
Here are some significant advantages of a visitor management system:
- Smoother check-in process. Compared to writing on a check-in sheet, a VMS with kiosks can be considerably more efficient and hassle-free.
- Tracking purposes. With a VMS, you can measure factors like average traffic per day and customer retention rate.
- Helps with evacuation. In emergencies, a VMS can help you have a baseline headcount of visitors for evacuation purposes.
- Security. Your VMS can help you determine whether there are any visitors who want to sneak into your building for nefarious reasons.
- Operational improvements. Businesses like office buildings can utilize a VMS to identify areas of improvement within their operations.
Of course, your usage may vary when it comes to how much you can benefit from a VMS. A VMS may be crucial in industries like healthcare and fitness, while other industries can manage with more basic systems.
What to look for in a visitor management system
Every industry is unique, and therefore you must choose a VMS that fits the needs of your specific business.
There are certain features that may best help you in visitor management. But regardless of your specific needs, it’s best if your VMS has these three crucial features:
- Reliability and ease of use. The VMS should perform smoothly and log necessary information without missing vital credentials. Plus, any interactions with it from both the frontend (i.e., customer interactions with your kiosks) and backend should be easy for all users.
- Branding. While you can use a VMS “out of the box”, designing it with your brand aesthetic can help reinforce your image to your customers.
- Customizability. Most of the time, a VMS will come installed with all the features you need for proper visitor management. However, it’s best to use a VMS that you can modify or customize to suit the needs of your business.
Limitations of a VMS
Visitor management systems have advanced to the point that some companies have completely automated their check-in and check-out processes. Some companies have replaced their front desk staff with kiosks, which can reduce headcount and manpower costs.
While this may be practical for some industries, it can actually be far more beneficial to retain human front desk staff to facilitate the customer experience. For instance:
- Kiosks alone cannot address complex inquiries or deal with customer grievances. You need to send a staff member from the front desk to walk to the kiosk and resolve the complaint.
- Relying solely on your VMS and kiosks eliminates the human touch. Your customers are more likely to feel welcomed with human interactions than by kiosks at the front desk.
- You will be unable to access upselling opportunities at the front desk. Trained right, human receptionists can identify opportunities to upsell other services to customers for higher profitability. On the other hand, self-service kiosks are incapable of identifying upselling opportunities and are unusually unable to capitalize on them.
If you deal with these on a regular basis, you may find kiosks alone to be insufficient. In other words, remember that visitor management systems are, at best, tools. They certainly help in streamlining workflow processes for monitoring guest intake. However, they would fall short of filling in for the efficiency, flexibility and warmth of the human touch.
With that said, it’s ideal if your staff are adept at managing a VMS. After all, a tool is only as good as its user. Besides hardware and software, your VMS should be able to integrate seamlessly with your staff for best effect.
Sometimes, your company may face low traffic on less busy days, resulting in lower productivity for your receptionists. If you want to use a VMS while maintaining the human touch, consider a virtual front-desk receptionist platform like WelcomeWare.
Retain the human touch and maximize front desk effectivity
Humanize and maximize your VMS with WelcomeWare
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