How to choose the right visitor management system

What is visitor management?

Visitor management is the process of identifying and tracking all the people entering your workplace. This includes employees, contractors and visitors. It usually requires people to verify who they are by signing in. For new visitors it may require providing details such as name, company and reason for visiting. Depending on the site, it may also involve health surveys, and documents to verify someone is safe, authorised and compliant to enter. The process itself can be very manual and involve staff and/or visitors filling out a paper log book to record attendance. However, the process can also be automated using software and contactless kiosks.  

When do you need a visitor management system?

Having a system to electronically record and approve each person that enters can have a wide range of benefits. With a visitor management system you’ll be able to:

  • Keep account of everyone who enters to improve security
  • Track employee time and attendance
  • Check contractor compliance
  • Welcome new visitors and make sure they meet the requirements for entry 
  • Save time and administration by automating the check in experience
  • Run more effective evacuations
  • Allow for social distancing between reception staff and visitors 
  • Better manage overcrowding and occupancy levels 
  • Receive host notifications when the person you're meeting arrives
  • Verify the time and attendance of external contractors such as cleaners
  • See who is currently on-site at any time
  • See which days are most busy and which groups of people attend the most
  • Make data-driven decisions based on the volume of visits and attendance

Learn more about why visitor management is important.

Must have visitor management features

Ultimately, you need to decide what features are critical based on your needs, but some of the must have features include:

Easy sign in

The best place to start when evaluating visitor management systems is to look at the user experience for staff, contractors and visitors. A system can have all the bells and whistles but if the experience of signing in is cumbersome, then people won't use it.

Contactless

The check in experience should be touchless if possible, especially as we learn to live with COVID. No one wants to touch a screen, deal with dirty pens or scan their fingerprint anymore.

Visitor workflows

If you think about all the different people that turn up to the workplace, it makes sense to provide custom workflows for signing in based on who people are. For example, you might want new visitors to fill out a form but remove the form for regular visitors such as staff. You want to only capture the details that are necessary for each type of visitor.

Pre-registration

Pre-registration is where admins of your visitor management system can invite visitors to pre-enrol prior to visiting. This may include scheduling a window of time for their arrival, collecting their details, signing declarations or completing forms. This speeds up the sign in process on arrival helping to avoid congestion at the entry point, but also improves security as you can pre-approve people before their arrival.

Flexible onboarding

In addition to making it easy for new visitors to check in, it's also worthwhile thinking about how you are going to onboard regular visitors such as staff in the beginning. Is there an easy way for staff to self-enrol? Is there an API that you can work with to upload identities? Can you upload a list of names or profile images? The best systems are flexible to meet your needs. This is an important consideration especially for larger workplaces with lots of employees.

Automation

There should be little human involvement when it comes to signing in staff and/or visitors. Whether it's instructing people to sign in, automating temperature checks, capturing visitor information, or notifying a host of a visitor's arrival, the best visitor management systems are self serve and shouldn't require involvement from front desk staff.

Notifications

Notifications are important to know when there is a problem. Maybe someone has been stopped at the entrance because of a survey answer or high temperature. Or maybe you want to know when someone on a deny list tries to sign in or someone fails to complete a visitor survey. This is where notifications can help. They are also useful for knowing when a client has arrived for your meeting.

Evacuation management

With a record of everyone on-site, you should easily be able to access this data from the cloud and mark people as safe in the event of an evacuation.

Analytics

No visitor management system is complete without a digital record of check ins and visitor data. Whether you want to quickly see who checked in today, how many people are currently on-site, or which days get the most traffic, you should be able to do this and more with analytics and reports. This includes data for easy contact tracing if needed.

Remote access

Being able to access data plus get notifications from anywhere, anytime is a must have feature. Most systems are cloud based but not all systems have a phone app for administrators. Whether you're at the desk or on the go, you should be able to access insights when you need them.

Surveys

Survey's are another staple of visitor management systems. Survey's should offer different answer types eg. Multiple choice vs checkboxes vs signature required vs text box. Some systems also offer survey logic (displaying different questions based on previous answers). With Nirovision Doorkeeper, survey answers can automatically apply Labels to visitors eg. Staff, Visitor, Contractor, Vaccinated etc.

Security and privacy

Given the sensitive details that a visitor management system can collect it's important that the system you choose is secure, especially around things like cloud infrastructure and authentication. Software should also be password protected and it's helpful if you can hide data for some users eg. security guards may only need access to notifications while front desk staff might have full access to all data.

For the best solution, also consider these features

The below features are still important. However some are more important than others. It depends on your needs and what you're looking for.

Easy set up

Most visitor management systems involve software and hardware and are relatively easy to set up. Some integrations may require more time to set up but remember, even if there is some friction to set up, most systems are going to save time in the long run and reduce workplace costs.

Custom messaging / logo

Being able to add your own logo or edit messaging that visitors see is a nice feature to have. Maybe you want to change "Check In" to "Clock In" or display the name of the person checking in or customise STOP and GO messaging. A good visitor management system should reflect your brand given the important real estate it occupies at the entrance.

Temperature screening

As we learn to live with COVID-19, temperature screening is arguably a must have feature for some workplaces. Whilst a high body temperature doesn't always indicate someone has a virus, it can be helpful in alerting you to possible cases. A thermometer like this one can be used to measure temperatures.

BAC testing

If your workplace has alcohol guidelines then integrating with a breathalyser can help ensure workers are safe to enter. The data collected can also help with insurance and dispute claims especially if a worker knowingly came on-site despite a high reading.

Badge printing

If your workplace is large or dangerous in nature, badge printing can be helpful in distinguishing staff from new visitors. This can help security teams know if someone unauthorised has wandered into a certain area or explain why someone is not wearing protective gear. It also helps other workers greet visitors by their name to improve the visitor experience.

FAQs

Do visitor management apps integrate with other systems?

Yes they can. Popular integrations include payroll, security cameras, access control, and calendar apps. See what Nirovision integrates with.

Do visitor management systems require a subscription?

The best systems do. With a subscription you not only get ongoing support but you get software updates, improvements and new features over time which enhances your system.

Does a visitor management system replace front desk staff?

In some cases yes, but it's up to you. Not all front desks are manned all the time, and sometimes staff are busy on a call and can't attend to visitors right away. So a visitor management system can improve the welcome experience and allow visitors to quickly check in and take a seat, rather than wait around.

Keep in mind, front desk often perform a lot more duties than simply greeting visitors so automating the process can free staff up to focus on other business tasks.

Are staff and visitors ok with using visitor management systems?

Most people understand why they need to check in, whether it's for security, safety or time and attendance reasons so are ok to follow a company's policy for checking in. This however doesn't mean people want to jump through a lot of hoops to check in. The process should be as easy as possible, especially if it's a daily requirement. Even something as simple as scanning a QR code and answering a couple of questions can become a burden for regular visitors so that's why we created a visitor management solution powered by facial identification.

If you have questions about visitor management systems please get in touch.