It all started with a poorly run lobby, an unsatisfied manufacturer, and an obvious necessity for improvement. Our story began many years ago when a manufacturer reached out to us in hopes of solving issues in their lobby. It wasn’t that visitor management systems didn’t exist; it was that none were able to check the box on all of their needs and goals.
Because there are many different visitor management systems out there, it’s hard to identify the differences, what they mean to you, and if they matter at all. Let’s look at the main differences between VMS:
It’s easy to identify a one-size-fits-all product. Maybe the website uses multiple buzzwords and highlights all the industries that utilize a VMS. While on the surface, it might appear to cover all your wants, it may not truly be the best product for your needs. Because these systems aren’t built for specific industries or use cases, they are loaded with flashy features that may be of no benefit to your company. Worse yet, they could be bloating the cost of the service level package you are forced to purchase to acquire the needed features. Businesses have vastly diverse visitor management needs that can change tomorrow. Today’s needs should not be tied to a multi-year contract in a tiered package. It must be robust enough to expand with your business needs and adapt to you as your needs may change.
Before you begin your search for a visitor management system, it’s essential to reflect on your current process for handling visitors. What do you like about your current system, and how could it be improved? The right visitor management system should be able to automate your existing process and, as a result, make visitor management more efficient, secure, and reportable.
Receptionists love LobbyFox. We strongly encourage you to include them in your decision-making process. Whether they’ll be the check-in system administrator/facilitator or trading that job for a new one, no one is better qualified to identify your needs and help automate your process. If the receptionist job is no one's job or a job shared by your staff, you’ll want to consider the feedback from those individuals. Any department receiving visitors will have standards to adhere to and procedures that could be automated.
Another reason why it’s essential to gather feedback from management across multiple departments is that any department that interacts with visitors needs to be aware of the potential liabilities at stake and how to avoid disrupting the business. A great way to mitigate legal liabilities is by reviewing your corporate policy for visitor check-in and out. What documents are you required to collect and serve? How frequently do they need to be served, and to what types of visitors? Are hosts required to stay with a visitor? Does your facility have any additional compliance requirements outside of the standard policy, such as ITAR or GMP?
Who are the people that visit your facility but are not employed by the company?
In looking at those different visitors, identify how each of them are different and how their check-in journey should change depending on your company policies and staff preferences. Do all visitors sign a user agreement or just specific visitors? Is the visitor orientation different for a visitor on the production floor compared to someone who doesn’t need to leave the office? If a contractor is performing work inside your facility, what does that intake process look like? Are job applicants directed to apply online instead of on paper or in person? How do you handle unscheduled meetings and solicitors? Do you request visitors pass a health screening before entry?
A VMS automates the processes your employees are manually doing. Whether that's…
Your VMS should be able to replicate these processes.
Choosing a VMS that can serve a video to each visitor affords you the opportunity to present information visually with audio and/or written captions. Job applicants can learn about your benefits, contractors can learn about safety and PPE protocol, your customers can watch a sales commercial or a promotional video on your product, delivery drivers can skip the video and simply say they left a package.
A VMS can automatically redirect or dismiss visitors without distracting your staff. If job applicants can only apply online or through a recruiter, a VMS can welcome and encourage them to apply by directing them to the appropriate place by texting a link or address. Freight driver in the wrong place? The VMS can send him in the right direction and even text those instructions so he can refer to them as he relocates himself.
A VMS should take your existing user agreements, legal disclaimers, training forms, health screenings, etc. and automate them. Studies reveal that viewers retain 95% of a video's message compared to 10% when reading the text. If your documents explain processes, expectations, safety, PPE, and other important information, serving it in video form makes visitors better understand the importance. If you’re collecting signatures from your visitors, a VMS should be able to securely store those documents making them easily accessible.
What happens if a visitor fails a health screening or a quiz? You decide, but the VMS should handle the situation based on your preferences. There is no need to come in contact with a potentially ill visitor if your VMS will professionally and discreetly dismiss them with instructions for rescheduling.
Aside from customizing host text and email notifications when a visitor arrives, a VMS should send additional alerts, so your team is always in the know. When unique visitors check-in, you can send notifications to specific people or departments. For example, notify the safety department when a contractor arrives. Notify the plant manager when a regulatory authority arrives. If an employee is out unexpectedly, their check-ins should be delegated to another employee. If your VMS dismisses an unwanted visitor, it should notify staff.
Your returning visitors expect to be remembered by your VMS after their initial visit. The frequency in which you reserve documents to returning visitors should be determined by your company policies, not the limitation of your VMS. Each visitor type and component should be fully customizable to meet even the most granular of needs.
Your company invests many dollars yearly on their brand and position in the marketplace. Your visitor check-in system sets the first impression for your visitors, and no one knows your brand better than you. You paid for it so your VMS should feature your brand logos, colors, styles and fonts.
VMS typically offers DIY platforms that allow you to set up and configure your system to your wishes and allow access to necessary admins. You should be able to establish multiple and different user-level permissions and control access. When considering a VMS, it’s essential to look at onboarding and set-up. Are there additional costs? Who at your company will invest the time to educate themselves about and set the system up for your company? Choosing a VMS provider that includes onboarding for you could be a valuable time saver.
The structural layout of your lobby, as well as your needs and goals, should determine the appropriate type of hardware to operate your VMS on.
Position the kiosk to be as inviting and welcoming as possible within the layout of your lobby.
Consider the customer service and support levels when evaluating VMS providers. For example, do they offer remote support or is customer service restricted to a specific channel (like chat or email only) on the plan you’re considering? Are integrations or custom videos additional charges?
Want more ideas? Click this link to read more on features to look for in a VMS.
Navigating the world of visitor management can be a new and exciting experience with endless possibilities. Who isn’t excited about creating an efficient working environment for visitors and staff? If you’ve found a visitor management system that fits your needs, it still may take some convincing from all involved parties that a VMS would be beneficial to implement. That’s why here at LobbyFox, we offer a 30-day FREE trial, no risk, and no payment needed. Our team will work closely with you to set the system up exactly how you need it, so when it arrives at your facility, all you will need to do is plug it in. Don’t spend another minute risking visitors circumventing your company policy, and switch to LobbyFox today!