Can you automate visitor management?
(tl;dr - Yes, you can. With The Receptionist)
Office Automation and the Internet of Things are slowly improving our lives and - to a growing extent - our jobs. This week, we're focusing on the Reception Desk.
Buzzwords aside, the smart office is something real and getting better year after year. Tools like slack integrate with a variety of hardware and software solutions so you can open a door by sending a bot a simple message. A more down to earth example would be our very own Door App (which allows you to check into a meeting) or the myriad of appointment schedulers we've covered a while back. Then, there are the smart energy meters that can optimise your electric bill.
However, one of the best things you can add to your office space to make it instantly more user-friendly and improve someone's job satisfaction is The Receptionist, one of the first visitor management systems out there and the first iPad-based VMS product. Its main purpose is to help your Reception Desk do away with time-consuming, boring tasks like generating badges for your visitors and showing them around. Especially if it's not their first time visiting you and they just want to get to their pre-assigned meeting room. Anyone can write down names and check-in/ check-out dates in a ledger - and let's be honest, that's not what you want your receptionists to do. They're there to represent you as a brand and make a good first impression with your visitors.
We reached out to The Receptionist a while back because we were really curious as to what their visitor management workflow looks like. And then things got complicated. We were hoping to find a simple, 4-step process - visitor comes in, visitor checks in on the iPad app, someone gets a notification to come get them and everything gets recorded. While that's possible, it's barely scratching the surface of what their system can do - their button-based scheme allows you to really make it your own. Want to have visitors sign an NDA and answer a couple of questions after watching a video before being onboarded? Check! Want to snap their picture and generate name tags? Check! Want to get notified when a package got delivered for you? Check. You can even add some of your staff's contact details on there to allow visitors to contact them.
The Receptionist was created out of someone's care for their own employees. Brad Feld from Foundry Group wanted an app that would shield his company's receptionists from endless interruptions. He needed something that would improve their job experience:
“We’ve never had a dedicated receptionist at Foundry Group but our office was oriented so the people “in the line of fire” were constantly interrupted whenever someone came in the office….[TextUs] came up with an iPad app called ‘Receptionist’ which freed up anyone from having to pay specific attention to the front door. As a result, we redesigned the entrance to our office with ‘Receptionist’ front and center…”
Many things happened since then and, long story short, The Receptionist was born.
We'll be writing about them again, in the near future - but in the meantime, give them a try.