The High Touch Benefits of Visitor Management Systems
Using a visitor management system is a smart approach for flex workspaces to keep track of visitors and to make sure potential members and event attendees are quickly and efficiently checked in. There are many benefits to having an automatic visitor registration process via an app or kiosk, yet some coworking organizations resist using them. The point of coworking, they argue, is to build community. How can you build community when you take out the human element? In fact, using technology to check in guests can actually facilitate a high touch, friendly environment when approached in the right way.
A high touch environment, by definition, requires a high level of human interaction. Examples of high touch include:
- Waitstaff coming to your table and taking your order.
- Writing a letter or thank-you note by hand.
- Holding an in-person meeting or event. In our increasingly high tech world, there is concern that we are losing the human touch. In many places, technology is replacing people. It is easier to go about your day without interacting with another person:
- You might spend ten minutes on the automated phone line when you call customer service.
- You no longer have to talk to a cashier because you can check out your own purchases in the self-checkout line – or don’t even go to the store at all with online ordering and delivery.
- You text your friends instead of calling them. When done right, high tech and high touch can go hand-in-hand, and a visitor check-in app is the perfect example. There are several ways flex offices can benefit from using such a system.
Let’s face it: coworking spaces generally don’t have a lot of staff. Most of the people who are in a coworking location at any given time aren’t employees. They are members working on their own projects or interacting with each other, clients or visitors. It is likely only one or two employees actually manage the location. If the community manager is tied to a desk to greet everyone who walks through the door, they are much less likely to be circulating among members. To build a community, you want your manager in the fray, engaging in high touch activities. Using an automated check-in process frees them up to do just that. People hate being interrupted. We now know that multi-tasking is a myth, and interruptions can be incredibly disruptive to productive work. If your manager is in the middle of a conversation or troubleshooting a problem, a guest who walks through the door needing immediate attention can short-circuit the process. A visitor kiosk helps guests feel welcome without stopping the flow of work. Many coworking spaces sponsor workshops and informal gatherings to encourage community-building among members. These events are perfect times to invite clients, potential members and visitors to see what the location has to offer. Pointing guests to check in at an automated kiosk allows your community manager to run the show, shake hands and connect in the moment.
Tech doesn’t just free up employees, but it creates an opportunity to provide hands-on service in its own ways. Thinking back to those special events: when a guest checks in using a visitor management app, it builds a digital database of possible connections. You will know exactly who walked in the door and can then follow up later in a decidedly high touch way with a phone call, handwritten note or an invitation to learn more about the organization. Consider, also, that people are more comfortable with high tech than you might expect. Self-service reduces time and frustration in several arenas. This plays out quite a bit with a visitor management system:
- People often choose to use a self-service system even when a person is available. It ensures their information is entered correctly.
- If your manager is engaged in an activity, the visitor will not want to interrupt. A self-service option allows them to be assisted immediately rather than wait. You never want a potential member to have to wait.
- After-hours staffing is often very minimal – or none! Digital check-in systems work 24/7 and allow visitors to get registered in a matter of minutes.
- The best visitor management apps will automatically notify the host that their guest has arrived by voice call, text message email or even Slack. This allows the host to personally greet their guests rather than send them through a stranger first.
Utilizing a high-tech way to check in and manage visitors to your flex workplace can provide quality service to your guests, give you an opportunity to follow up with them later, and free up your employees to do more hands-on community building. Using a thoughtful, deliberate strategy of high tech and high touch really can provide the best of both worlds. High tech is easy. It gives you the time to forge human connections and the dividends are well worth the extra effort.
About the Author
David Miliken is the founder and CEO of Greetly digital receptionist service. The product was launched in 2014 and currently used by hundreds of companies worldwide to manage visitors.