Recently I attended a week-long training course. It was in one of the fancy buildings in London, and true to form I was subject to rigorous front desk security procedure, especially on the first day. I not only had to sign up with the course provider, I then had to also go through the building security, where the front desk staff printed me an ID on a lanyard, complete with a half-surprised face of me printed on their ID-maker. No doubt they’d kept a list of ID/barcode list of those in the building, as you needed it to gain entry inside.
What I didn't realise, was that you didn't need to scan it when you leave, as the gates only controlled access one way. I’d found out the hard way when I’d found it a pleasant surprise to be able to leave the building for lunch (I’d left my lanyard on the desk), and then was stopped by the same guard at the end of lunch. The embarrassment aside, I had to have another ID made for me (albeit having about 3 seconds more to prep for the photo), and it took enough time for my fellow delegates to have caught the lift and gone up to the training room. I’d hurriedly grabbed a drink and joined the class, eager to put the whole thing behind me. Of course, I’d never left behind my ID for the rest of the duration.
Being who I am, I couldn't help but think about the nature of this approach. Sure enough, having an ID, and (I can’t remember if they asked for it), but perhaps a person in the building they’re visiting for access control and security purposes while the visitor is on premise. However, there were glaring holes in the security arrangements behind the flashy arrangement (both figuratively and literally speaking). Let’s take a look at some of these.
Before I begin though, I want to make a note that in reality it’s likely that the picture is complicated. If the course provider was renting the space then they would’ve had agreements in place covering liability and it’s likely that there are agreed processes in place for security events, fire drills etc. That being said, it is worth noting that there are still a number of areas that could be optimised, which would result in not only efficiency and better oversight, but also boost productivity. Efficiency in the overall process counts for a lot more for a small and medium organisation, where every little help counts.
1. First impressions (last)
Often it is misunderstood that front desk experience, when working with building security in mind, ends up being inevitably bad- without the need for really expensive solutions. The entry system, the label makers, the visitor log system, the visitor communications system (or print outs of info for the visitor), they all add up if we’re ‘going digital’- right?
What we can offer with DigiGreet is an all in one solution that integrates into your existing hardware as DigiGreet is a cloud-based solution running through a URL to offer a paper-and hassle-free experience for the visitors to your organisation.
2. Knowing who is in (and out)
As in my story above of the training location, one thing that we easily get wrong is understanding the core function for visitor logs- knowing who is in the building at all times, and controlling access. If we don’t pay as much attention to who leaves as we do for those upon entry, we’re not capturing accurately who’s in the building. We’d need to know in case of security events, or fire alarms and evacuations and other investigations. However, this is easier said than done. If we stick to our current procedures, I can confidently guarantee this would double your current FTE count for the front desk staff, at the very least. This would also likely cause more traffic at the front desk (if they enter and exit the same way), and would also take away brownie points on having a smooth visitor experience.
We can offer you a robust process to manage facilities security without extra personnel or prohibitive costs we know that sometimes Visitors, Staff & Contractors may forget to sign out, so to make sure your fire safety is up to date we can offer an auto sign out function based on working hours, time or if you didn't want to sign them out automatically an email can be sent to an administrator to confirm whether they are on or off site.
3.Offering them what they need (and want)
In this ubiquitously digital world, the very least a guest expects is the meeting room and WiFi information upon entry. What if they need to wait a bit before the meeting, or they arrived early and had a few minutes to kill? You may not be able to offer a designated visitor space kitted out with a coffee machine and free treats, but it’s about understanding what they need for the purposes of their visit, and then adding a little extra, that helps you stand apart from the rest.
Personalised guest welcome messages can have meeting room information and other information alongside the guest WiFi information shown to them as part of the signing in process which would give them everything they needed, and a bit more Thus, without the need for any involvement from front desk staff at all, the visitors are able to feel at ease and ready for a hassle-free visit, even if they have to wait a little.
4. Staying connected
Now let’s move on through the visitor journey. They’ve seen the Wi-Fi code through the welcome message. Upon guest check-in, the meeting host is notified of arrival and can meet the visitor at the earliest opportunity- all without having to cough awkwardly every so often in hopes of the front desk staff noticing so you don’t feel even more awkward to check in at the desk, for those of us introverts reading this.
5.Visitor management (in its true sense)
Visitor management, in its true sense, is visitor empowerment. We’re empowering our visitors with all they need for their visit to this office, and anything they need while waiting. This way, they can choose to browse the magazines, strike up a conversation with your front desk officer, or should they feel like it, simply catch up on their work emails while waiting. Should something go wrong, they’re immediately told of the processes, and you can keep the visit and exit brief and light touch, without compromising on safety and security of your facilities. This way, other kinks in the process will seem minor, as the important stuff is handled efficiently and optimised.
In a post-GDPR world, it is even more important that we stay on top of how we use people’s information and where we store it. Personally speaking, I’m less precious about my work email which, let’s face it, anyone who’s seen my LinkedIn profile, or perhaps looked me up on the company website can reasonably guess my work address. I know that this is used only in work contexts, and will deactivate once I leave work. Some of us may have our own social email address, or one we use for the sole purpose of signing up to mailing lists. However, leaving me car’s reg number, mobile phone, and full name on a paper log book concerns me.
As long as we have a robust data retention scheme in place that will automate the data’s lifecycle, we can give the assurance needed for the visitors to entrust their information with us. Should we need to use it for another ‘purpose’ (in GDPR terms) in the future, keeping in contact makes it that much easier for us.
Get in touch with us at OFEC today to find out how we can optimise your visitor experience, either give us a call on 01865 556070 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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