Visitors Shouldn’t Have to Wait to Check In: Here’s How to Eliminate Lines in Reception

Many offices can’t count on a steady rate of office visitors all day. Instead, the visitor load varies quite a bit from one hour to the next. That means that inevitably, several visitors will show up at once and have to stand around waiting.

Most guests don’t mind a brief wait in the lobby. But if your front desk staff doesn’t have a plan to deal with these sudden rushes, your company certainly won’t make a great impression.

To tackle the busy times in the reception area, smart companies invest in a great front desk staff, and they streamline the standard check-in process in several ways.

Create Custom Visitor Procedures

Of all of the work companies do to speed up visitor check-in, they often ignore the most effective and arguably most obvious tactic: Tailoring visitor check-in procedures for each type of visitor. This organizational effort is the foundation of any good visitor management system, as we wrote in our full post on the topic. Even better, it’s a simple step that doesn’t require any extra tools or expenses — just a few hours of planning.

It’s common for businesses to use the same standard check-in procedure for all visitors. But people come into your facility for a wide variety of reasons, from dropping off a catered lunch to coming in for a job interview. Asking visitors to take steps that don’t apply to them can be confusing, it will certainly slow the check-in process down.

For example, people making deliveries might not have to sign non-disclosure agreements, and job applicants shouldn’t have to indicate which company they’re affiliated with.

Our visitor management software takes you through the step-by-step process of developing custom visitor procedures, but you can also use this post to develop some guidelines for your front desk.

Structure the Front Desk Role for Productivity

Many smaller companies struggle to justify the expense of a front desk staff, even when inadequate front desk coverage has started causing some awkward situations.

Of course, if you absolutely need to save the cash, visitor check-in software like The Receptionist can take the place of a live receptionist. But human element in the reception area can be invaluable for making visitors feel welcomed and confident, especially in high-traffic offices.

Plus, hiring people to cover the front desk may not be as costly as you may think. That’s because the right front desk staff can free up time for the rest of the staff to grow the business. If your executives are still doing things like accounting, administration, and office management, it’s time to delegate. These are ideal tasks for receptionists to work on and stay productive when there are no visitors to manage.

For more on how to structure your front desk staff jobs, you can read our full post on the subject.

Encourage Your Staff to Pre-Register Visitors

Pre-registration lets your visitors know you care in two ways: It shows that you were expecting their visit, and it shows that you respect their time.

As we mentioned in our post about subtle ways to impress job candidates, no one likes to show up to an appointment and get the feeling that the staff was totally unaware of — or completely forgot about — their scheduled visit.

Also, in most cases, the company they’re visiting already knows all of the personal information they’ll ask for in the check-in process (name, contact information, company affiliation, title, etc.). Why not simply fill those fields in for them before they arrive?

This type of pre-registration can make a VIP guest check-in as brief and effective as the front desk staff saying, “Good morning, [visitor name]! If you can just verify your information here, [host name] will be with you shortly.”

Fast-Track Frequent Visitors

This is the cousin of pre-registration, but for familiar, repeat visitors instead of VIP guests.

In smaller offices, receptionists may know all returning visitors personally. But in bigger offices with more formal systems and bigger staffs, it’s a great idea to put something official in place to fast-track frequent visitors.

This may mean keeping a list of these visitors and their information on file for easy front-desk access so the process can be as brief as possible and not hold up other visitors. If you’re using a visitor management software like The Receptionist, you can enable an option for certain visitors to indicate that it’s not their first visit. After that, they can simply enter their email address and verify (or update) the rest of the information that they used the last time they came.

Double up on Your Software Solution

Investing in a visitor management app or software system speeds up the check-in process in several ways.

First, it automates many of the other time-saving measures we already mentioned (streamlined visitor procedures, pre-registration, and fast-tracking). It also frees up your human receptionist to spend more time on other important projects.

However, another benefit of a tablet-based visitor check-in system is that in the case of an unexpected rush of visitors, all your front desk staff needs to do to essentially double their check-in capacity is pull out an extra tablet.

With the right software, your front desk staff can double their check-in capacity with one tablet. Click To Tweet

Many of our clients choose to mount their tablets on stands, either on the floor or on the desk. However, it’s also a possibility to keep an extra tablet in the desk and have it ready to hand manually to visitors whenever a heavy visitor load is expected.

With more than one check-in station, the odds of any visitor being left waiting more than a few minutes go down significantly.

Want to learn more about how to eliminate reception area lines with visitor management software? Check out more about The Receptionist or sign up for a free 14 day trial. You can also checkout our hardware options in our store.

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