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A guide to visitor management systems

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners have been finding new ways to digitise and streamline various work processes. Key areas that have been under the microscope are visitor and traffic management, as previous methods of logging and tracking site visitors have been notoriously inefficient and time-consuming.

Visitor management software can also bring a whole host of other benefits, including increased visibility, security and data compliance. Wondering if a visitor management system could be right for your business? Here’s a quick introduction to these systems and 10 of the key advantages they can offer you.

What is a visitor management system?

Visitor management encompasses the processes that businesses put in place to welcome and track visitors to their site. These visitors can include clients, delivery drivers, employees from other offices, job candidates and more. 

Traditionally, visitor management is handled by a receptionist who greets visitors, asks them to sign into a physical logbook, and either shows them where they need to go or calls the right staff member to come to the front desk. This can work well if all processes are followed consistently and correctly, but human error can mean that data is lost or not filled in. This can lead to security and data privacy issues.

Visitor management software can help solve these key problems. Instead of having to fill in data manually, visitors will be guided to an electronic sign-in screen at the front desk, where they can securely and privately input their information. The system can then notify the correct person to come down and greet the visitor, and the visit information will be logged accurately for future reference. 

What is the purpose of a visitor management system?

The ultimate aim of an electronic visitor management system is to improve access control, security, visibility, data management and efficiency. The accurate logging of visitor information means that everyone in the building is accounted for at all times, which can help you thwart and deter security threats in addition to aiding emergency evacuation procedures. Plus, switching to a digital system can help you reduce overhead costs by removing time-consuming administrative tasks, allowing your employees to focus better on their work.

Still not convinced? If you’re unsure whether your business would benefit from implementing a visitor management system, here are 10 key advantages this software can offer you.

1. Enhanced visibility

First of all, a visitor management system can greatly enhance visibility for your business by ensuring that all visitors are always properly logged and tracked on the premises. With traditional visitor management, it’s common for visitor logs to be lost or filled in incorrectly, and there also isn’t an easy way to access data if you don’t have the official logbook to hand.

With a digital visitor management system, visitor data is immediately available and will be kept for future reference. Plus, data can be synced across devices within the system, so you can easily access visitor data if you need to track visits to the site over a certain period of time. 

Some visitor management systems can even include photo ID with visitor information, making it easier to immediately identify visitors and spot if someone is where they shouldn’t be. If you have the option to pre-register, future visitors could even supply their information and photo ID beforehand, which will streamline the process of identifying them and taking them to where they need to be when they arrive.

2. Improved security

One of the major benefits of this enhanced visibility is that you can prevent potential security breaches more effectively. Since there will be accurate and up-to-date records of all previous visits and visitors, including photo ID, the system will be able to immediately flag if a particular visitor has caused problems in the past. These people can be added to a virtual list that instructs security guards not to let them on the premises.

In addition, this system can more effectively restrict access to certain areas of your office building by adding visitors and personnel to different lists, which will determine the level of access they’re allowed using their pass or ID card. This access control measure can be supplemented by additional measures like the issuing of digital visitor passes, which will include an expiry date that prevents their use beyond that time. Visitor passes are also a common feature within traditional systems, but with digital systems, you can activate and disable these passes remotely, preventing people from giving physical passes to unauthorised people.

Overall, these access control measures and the enhanced visibility provided by visitor management software can deter suspicious or criminal behaviour because visitors will be more aware that their visits are being tracked. People may be less likely to attempt to access restricted areas if they know that this action could be accurately logged against their profile on a digital security system.

Visitor management systems work best as a workplace security system when paired with additional security measures, such as CCTV, industrial gates, bollards and car park barriers. Visit the Expert Security UK website today to learn more about how to choose the right access control system and the right security gates for your business. We also have a complete guide to workplace security that covers everything you need to know.

3. Easier evacuation

On the topic of security and safety, visitor management systems could be a huge help in the event of a fire or other emergency scenario. The problem with a physical logbook is that it has to be retrieved during the panic and commotion of an evacuation so that it can be used to check if everyone has left the building. Plus, if information hasn’t been filled in correctly due to human error, there may be visitors left in the building who didn’t sign in properly earlier in the day.

With a visitor management system, you’ll be able to access up-to-date information about who exactly is in the building across multiple devices. Plus, if everyone is signed into the system, they can receive emergency notifications on their devices telling them to leave the building. These measures can greatly speed up the evacuation process and help keep all staff, visitors and contractors safe.

4. 24/7 coverage

It’s difficult to achieve 24/7 coverage by relying on your staff alone. You can hire people to cover different shifts, but in addition to increasing overhead costs, this still won’t ensure that absolutely everything is tracked. Staff can make small errors or forget to log certain details, which could lead to security threats or at least a lack of visibility and accuracy in your records.

On the other hand, your electronic visitor management system can run 24/7 and log exact visitor data no matter when people arrive on the premises. This round-the-clock monitoring will greatly improve your site’s security and ensure that all visitor records are entirely accurate.

5. Better record keeping

As already discussed, visitor management systems improve your record keeping efforts by running throughout the day and securely recording personal information to create staff and visitor profiles, including names, occupations and photo IDs. Instead of using complicated spreadsheets or reams of paper to try to organise data, the digital system will log and organise it for you, creating distinct profiles, timelines and a clear picture of who is in the building at any given time.

The data recorded by the system will be saved securely in the cloud, so authorised personnel can access it and download it whenever they need to check historical visitor records. You’ll be able to sort the data by date and time to find exact records for any period – this is much easier than trying to sift through pages and pages of entries in a physical logbook!

6. Data compliance

Another issue with logbooks or spreadsheet documents is that they’re not entirely secure. Physical logbooks could be easily misplaced or stolen, and documents could be accessed by unauthorised people if they get access to someone else’s computer, login credentials or USB stick.

With the introduction of GDPR, businesses need to be much more careful about how they store personal information and who can access it. Visitor management systems can help you comply with data protection regulations by storing all data in the cloud, which means that copies of the data aren’t saved on people’s computers. Only authorised users will be able to access this visitor and attendance data in the cloud.

7. Improved brand image

First impressions matter, so why aren’t you showing off your business in the best light from the very first moment that visitors enter the building? Think of what a difference it could make if, instead of being shown an inefficient and time-consuming sign-in process, your guests are directed to a simple and streamlined digital process that gets them where they need to be in an instant.

Traditional visitor systems can be slow and complicated, with visitors asked to fill in a cramped logbook with company pens that are always going missing or running out of ink. Plus, if the receptionist needs to find out who to contact and then call them, it can take a long time for the right staff member to get down to the front desk and greet their visitor. 

This isn’t the case with a digital visitor management system. Visitors can simply type in their details on an intuitive touch screen or scan a QR code to create a profile in seconds. And, as soon as they sign in, the right staff member can be automatically identified in the system and sent a notification that their guest has arrived. All of this will present your business as efficient, forward-thinking and technologically savvy.

8. Time saving

Not only will visitor management systems save time for visitors, but they’ll also save time for your staff too. Managing manual visitor records can be a very tedious and time-consuming administrative task, and this could be preventing staff members from doing other important tasks that require more attention. A visitor management system will automatically save inputted data to the right place, and it can also organise these records so that there’s no need for staff to manually create lists or sign people in and out. 

9. Reduced resource usage

Having a physical sign-in system means you need to invest in logbooks, pens, physical ID passes and, crucially, a full-time receptionist or team of receptionists. In addition to the cost, this will significantly increase your resource usage, which may go against your business’s sustainability goals. Replacing these paper systems with a digital system is therefore a simple way for you to better achieve your environmental aims.

10. Reduced overhead costs

In addition to reducing resource usage, using a digital visitor management system can significantly reduce your overhead costs in the long run. Although you’ll have to make an initial investment into this software, you’ll quickly reap the benefits as you won’t have to invest in physical resources and full-time receptionist staff. Plus, by streamlining the visitor registration process, you can optimise your efficiency, automate key tasks and therefore reduce your visitor processing costs. 

Want to learn more about how workplace security and access control systems can benefit your business? Check out the Expert Security UK blog for more information, or get in touch to chat with our friendly support team.