Visitor Management System Guidelines
Internet technology has evolved within the 21st century, COVID-19 has even driven faster adoption of automation for business. In particular, Visitor Management Solution’s adoption has increased during the pandemic.
This guide will introduce visitor management from both macro and micro perspectives, including some of our thought-provoking key terms within visitor management to help readers understand our unique approach to improving workplace safety, productivity, efficiency, and visitor experience while cutting costs.
The guide is split into two sections – if you are…
Just starting to learn visitor management
Considering a Visitor Management System
- What is a visitor management system (vms)?
- What’s the evolution of visitor management systems?
- The benefits of a modern visitor management
- Is it replacing my receptionist?
- How much money can I save?
- The concept of On-grid & Off-grid to calculate my efficiency
- How to measure the ROI?
- How to choose the right vendor?
- How to convince internal stakeholders?
What is visitor management? A Definition
Visitor Management is a task in facility management that tracks the usage of a public building or site, managing visitors’ arrival and ensuring they have a great experience when they are at your building. Visitor Management usually involves a multitude of processes that keep visitors and employees safe, secure and in the correct place.
Visitor Management is relevant in many industries including commercial, retail, hospitality, tourism, finance, manufacturing, and education.
What types of visitors go to offices?
The type of organisation you have will determine what kinds of visitors you have. Examples of office visitors fall into three broad camps with different subgroups amongst them:
- Employees are now a new type of visitor
including sub-contractors, visiting employees from other offices, prospective new hires, delivery drivers, customers, VIP customers, business partners and cleaners.
An effective Visitor Management Tool enhances the building’s security and the visitor experience by having a high-level overview of all types of visitors and giving them different levels of access permissions.
Why is visitor management important?
Visitor management is vital to ensure the workplace is safe and compliant while delivering an outstanding experience for every person on site. However, the traditional process of managing and tracking visitors that relies on manually collecting and storing visitors’ data, usually with a paper-based visitor sign-in book, could put corporations at potential risk while losing efficiency and productivity.
Is visitor management relevant to my industry?
Visitor Management is relevant in many industries, including commercial, campus, retail, hospitality, tourism, finance, manufacturing, and education. The benefits of using a visitor management solution can be seen in any type of building in any industry.
Companies across different industries that are using Vpod visitor management systems include Vodafone, LAX Airport, CBRE, Mitie, Ricoh, GE, Sodexo, and many more.
What do I need to be aware of while managing visitors?
To figure out the best approach for your business, the common problems and challenges you need to be aware of are GDPR compliance, inefficiency, and the high administrative cost involved at your reception area.
1. Avoid breaching GDPR
Drafted in the European Union, GDPR relates to any organisation that stores and processes the data of any countries that are in the EU. Even if the country you operate in is not part of the EU. GDPR is a regulation that strengthens individuals’ rights while ensuring the free flow of data in the digital market. The regulation amps up the role of several concepts such as visitor consent, deletion period, and more.
Any personal data of people in the EU such as names, addresses, date of birth, purchases, and bank details must now be stored in a specific way and for a specific time frame. Visitor data is commonly collected in any organisation to deliver a better visitor experience or ensure the building’s safety. Organisations collect the personal data of people who enter and exit your offices. Whatever the purpose is, the manual process of collecting, managing, and erasing the data requires techniques and experience which might lead to a single point of failure.
Read more about how Visitor Management Systems can help you stay GDPR compliant
2. The hidden problems and challenges involved
Are you facing unpredictable visitor traffic and are you increasing the headcount at the reception desk to cover times of peak traffic? However, the number of visitors, deliveries, contractors, and hybrid workers, is hard to predict – leading to over-staffed or understaffed saturations.
Whether you have a visitor book or a traditional electronic visitor management system that uses a web-based network to monitor and record visitor information, you are likely to face the following challenges:
- The manual processes at the reception desk led to high administrative cost
- The compliance risks lead to fines and damage the brand reputation
- The visitor management system is isolated from other building systems which leads to more manual work for the team
- The visitor experience is inconsistent across different sites, relying on human presence.
You can also go into detail about the challenges for each reception type, depending on the number of receptionists you have.
In the later section of this guide, we are taking a deeper look into these challenges and solutions from Experience, Efficiency, Security & Compliance risks, and Cost.
How do we solve these problems with effective Visitor Management?
- Use technology to automate manual repetitive tasks using a visitor management system.
- Use technology to deliver a contactless express check-in that can efficiently handle more visitors a day.
- Upgrade the reception staff to meet and greet service and implement the human-touch element of service.
The right technology not only solves the problems but also brings significant benefits to the organisation, all while providing an impressive ROI. Continue to read why and how you can achieve the same.
What is a visitor management system (vms)?
A visitor management system (VMS) is a solution that allows organisations to streamline and automate their visitor management process, using technology to monitor, track, and record visitor information.
The combination of visitor management software, hardware, and databases enables preregistering visitors, effective communication, express check-in, interactive mapping, and efficient visitor management workflows.
What’s the evolution of visitor management systems?
Managing visitors is not a new task for businesses but it took a long time to go from the paper visitor logbook to digital. The obstacles were the overlap of operations, facility management and IT, and difficulties in introducing a unified system to multiple company locations with different processes and requirements. The legacy on-site visitor management software is expensive and requires maintenance (Source: Forbes).
These obstacles lead to cost- and time-efficient cloud-based visitor management software, becoming known as software as a service, or SaaS. This software licensing model makes it available to users all over the internet. Users can manage visitors from a web browser or an app.
Many cloud-based visitor management systems provide comprehensive customer support along with monthly or annual subscriptions that can be updated constantly, removing the need for manual patches and updates. There are several visitor management tools available in the market, let’s take a look and help you understand how to choose the best solutions.
1. Electronic visitor management system
The products we are referring to are the digital version of sign-in books. Visitors or receptionists key visitor details into the system upon visitors’ arrival, followed by printing them visitor badges for granted access.
An electronic visitor management system might be gdpr-friendly, but the manual processes are not removed.
2. Software only
Being able to be installed on iPad or smartphones, these software-only packages usually offer users a free trial.
A wide range of visitor management software is available on the internet for users to download. The important software features are visitor registration, effective communication, easy and express visitor check-in, and customisable workflows.
However, visitor management hardware is key to maximising efficiency for businesses and boosting user experience. If we look at the current market offerings, they are
- software only
- iPad/app variants
- Software vendors that started in something else and strayed into the visitor management
- Kiosks that are not integrated
Read more about why we think an iPad is not efficient and sacrifices the visitor experience
3. Modern Visitor Management System
Not just digitalising visitor information and records, modern visitor management systems feature an open API for integration with other workplace management systems. For example, they integrate with access control systems, meeting room and desk booking, and wayfinding solutions, and they are designed to be fully customised.
Because modern visitor management systems are adaptable to any workflow and software integration, they are a durable solution that evolves with the organisations’ growth and changing needs.
Modern visitor management systems extend their functionality beyond visitor check-in. Some iconic features include branded meeting invites, host notification, visitor registration, video call a virtual receptionist, catering, handling deliveries, meeting room booking, and more.
What are the benefits of modern visitor management systems?
We discussed the benefits of a visitor management system in detail, here are some key benefits that we summarised based on the valuable feedback from our customers and research – Supporting the front desk staff to deliver more personalised customer service, enhancing security, cost reduction, and improving efficiency.
1. Support the front desk staff to deliver more personalised customer service
Are self-service kiosks supplementing or substituting face-to-face human interaction? Visitor management systems can be easily perceived as a device requiring ‘no human interaction’ that leaves visitors to help themselves.
However, removing the majority of the repetitive tasks by technology can repurpose the reception team from behind the desk to delivering a concierge-style service. They are empowered to better support customers and bring value to the reception area which, in turn, “increased productivity in a big way”.
What first impression are you making?
2. Enhancing workplace security
Verify and track every visitor in your building
Workplaces can face several security threats such as:
- Strangers or unexpected people gaining entrance to the building
- Lack of identification and motives of strangers
- Unawareness about which employees are in the office, or might have had a change of heart and decided to work from home.
With real-time insight into the building’s safety, visitor management systems automate the process of visitor registration and identity verification to ensure the highest standard of office security. All data is logged and accessible as digital reports for audit purposes. In case of an emergency, updated visitor data can be recalled to check how many people are in the building and where they are.
Integration with access control systems
Integrating office access control is considered to be one of the cornerstones in turning office spaces into safer and smarter offices. The technology can tailor or accommodate any company security policy, from the pass being upgraded to also allowing visitor access control through any global or national barrier system. The Facilities Manager now knows who has checked in and controls the visitor entry.
The 5 key reasons that you should integrate visitor management systems with access control systems are
- Customise your visitor’s access level
- Digitally track your visitors
- 24/7 Building Security
- Efficient background operation with Microsoft access visitor management system
- Integrate with market-leading access control systems
Read more about the Visitor Management System’s access control feature
3. Cost reduction
The cost reduction of a visitor management system is measured by looking at the cost of implementation and subscription against the money saved on administrative costs, labour costs, and the upkeep of legacy applications.
Reduced daily administrative cost
Administrative costs stand for the hours you’ve paid your receptionists to do the manual jobs that take up their time to focus on other more valuable tasks. We calculated the numbers with a reception team with 3 receptionists, checking 200 visitors in a month, the total cost comes to £3,060/month for work that could be done much more efficiently.
The workload includes manual check-ins, data collection, badge printing, event management, and more. By upgrading your visitor management process, you can utilise your resources and staff for more high-value work – saving money and improving productivity, all while guaranteeing consistent customer service.
Reduced labour costs
When the manual tasks are removed, you eliminate the need to over-staff your reception in anticipation of high-traffic periods, which saves labour costs and improves efficiency. In the meantime, you can repurpose your receptionists to other areas of the business that brings more value.
Save on up-keep of legacy applications
If you depend on a legacy system for visitor management, you are likely spending large sums of money supporting, maintaining, and implementing legacy software. By using cloud-based visitor management software that can be remotely updated and maintained continuously, you can reduce a significant amount of cost in subsequent years.
4. Improve Efficiency
To best introduce the efficiency a visitor management system can bring, we are going to cover two concepts: The On-grid and Off-grid, and the measurement of digital efficiency.
The concept of On-grid and Off-grid
A “connected workplace” is key to delivering the best efficiency in the workplace – where different systems exchange data to enhance the experience or make processes more efficient. It is a simple but significant concept: On-grid when systems are linked and connected or Off-grid, where some systems exist, however processes, are largely manual and costly.
The so-called ‘open API’ in technical terms, that enables the systems to exchange data with any software/system, has a large impact on your workplace efficiency and is key to achieving the On-grid visitor management. It means there’s no limitation with what systems you want to integrate with or what workflow you want to set up.
Is your visitor management system Off-Grid?
With Off-Grid visitor management, here is what could happen:
- An employee schedules a meeting in Microsoft Outlook or another meeting scheduling system, but the data sits there serving no real purpose, except for the meeting attendees, who may not know how to get to the building or how to access the meeting room.
- It takes more manual processes to ensure the reception is aware of some of the visitors they are expecting.
- The reception team are largely reactive to visitors and has manual processes passing information from one system to another.
In a connected workplace, visitor management systems integrate with any building systems, including Microsoft Outlook, wayfinding, and Room and Desk booking. Each system informs the other, making the workplace intuitive, informed, and intelligent.
The concept of Digital Efficiency
We published a free digital efficiency calculator tool to measure the involvement of manual processes and parts of workflows that require multiple touches.
Digital efficiency does not only mean getting the latest technology but embracing a solution that can help the organisation constantly adapt and evolve in an ever-changing marketplace. We encourage you to challenge your workflow step, process, and data source.
What’s the visitor management system’s price?
The price of a visitor management system in the market sits from £20 to more than £1000 a month, based on if it’s SaaS subscription or hardware included, the product’s customisation, and more.
With Vodafone achieving a return on investment of £80k in year 1 and £175k in year 2 with a visitor management system, we advise looking at the Return On Investment the solution will drive rather than looking for the cheapest offer in the market. Let us explain it in detail.
How to measure the ROI of visitor management solutions?
So, you’ve fully understood the benefits and impacts visitor management solutions have, but how do you present the ROI to convince your internal stakeholders to buy in?
When it comes to technology, the ROI goes beyond comparing and measuring the cost and profit – Instead, it’s crucial to evaluate both quality and quantity.
1. Measure and compare the tangible ROI
The tangible ROI can be measured by looking at the cost of the visitor management software against the money that can be saved. The savings include:
- Reduced daily administrative costs
- Reduced labour costs
- Improved compliance procedures
- Increased digital efficiency
- Expensive up-keep of legacy system
2. The intangible ROI that drives the long-term success
You should also take an approach that is not solely number-driven or quantitative, but instead human-centric and qualitative – the intangible ROI that relates directly to the people driving the business.
The intangible ROI that drives the long-term success of your business:
- Higher job satisfaction & lower staff turnover rate
- Staying competitive
- Strengthen brand perception
- Sustainable growth
- A better understanding of your workplace
Read more about how to calculate each ROI for visitor management software
3. Use the ROI calculator tool
You can also use our special ROI calculator to measure the saved labour costs yourself.
How to choose the best visitor management system?
1. Think about your visitors
Start walking the customer journey and think of your visitors. Spend one day with an employee, a contractor and a visitor and watch how they use your building, what things do and don’t work, and question them about what needs to change.
2. Evaluate your front desk service: Break the traffic paradigm
Different types of reception face different challenges, calculate your workplace’s digital efficiency to understand how many staff you actually need at busy times and how your visitor management solution can enhance front desk service.
3. Start talking about “return on investment” not cost
Budgets as a term are replaced by returns on investment and returns on the experience you delivered.
4. Prioritise the solution’s integration and adaptability
The new technology you are looking into should adapt to your workplace, not the other way around. It should make lives easier for both employees and visitors. Integrating with any software is crucial for visitor management systems, as it can maximise the value of the innovation you brought into the workplace and lead to higher employee productivity. The top 5 software we recommend for integration is wayfinding, room and desk booking, intelligent lockers, access control systems, and data reporting.
Once you’ve decided what software you want to integrate into, you can evaluate and compare how easy it is for each vendor to meet your requirements.
How to convince internal stakeholders to invest in visitor management?
There are three key points to remember when trying to gain buy into an idea or project
1. Bring your stakeholders in the loop early
One of the most helpful things you can do to encourage stakeholder buy-in is to involve them early on in the project. By doing this, you allow your stakeholders to familiarise themselves with your project aims and the solution you are exploring.
2. Listen to concerns
A short stakeholder workshop is an effective way to hear out any concerns or worries that they may have before the project gains traction. During the session, you can answer questions and concerns, or take notes and get back to them after the session. Your stakeholders will appreciate the chance to make comments before you go ahead with the project.
Keep your stakeholders up to date throughout your project. Depending on how influential they are to your project will define how often you do this; whether it’s a daily update in Scrum, a weekly phone call, or an email update, be sure to communicate at an appropriate level.
Vgreet Digital Visitor Management System
Vgreet Virtual Reception is a cloud-based visitor management solution that connects different systems, integrates with any software, checks in visitors and employees, handles deliveries, and more.
With our global partner network, our visitor management system is available for customers in the UK, US, EU, and Asia.