Greetings: The Beginning of a Great Visitor Experience

Greetings! Crafting the beginning of a visitor experience is akin to laying the foundation for a grand architectural marvel.

When someone comes to your workplace, what do they see and feel? Does their first impression of your organization reflect well? If you haven’t thought about this lately, it might be time to review how you welcome visitors. How you greet them sets the tone for your relationship with them.

Before you say, “We don’t get visitors,” remember that anyone who comes to your office but doesn’t work there is a visitor. This includes delivery people, customers, potential employees, and even managers from other offices. What impression do you want all these people to have?

The Visitor Experience

Why is the visitor experience important? It’s because being in a place helps you really understand it. You can see if it’s busy or calm, hear if it’s loud or quiet, and watch how people act – nicely or not so nicely. You can also see if the place is clean or messy, and if things are organized or not.

This helps you decide if you like the place and its people, both based on logic and feeling. You also decide if you want to spend more time there or do business with them. Colleges and universities understand this, so they work hard to bring students to campus and make their visit enjoyable and memorable.

Who or What Welcomes Your Guests?

The visitor experience starts with someone saying hi or not saying anything at all. What happens where you work? Most likely, one of these things greets your guests:

  1. A receptionist who focuses on helping guests. Sometimes this could also be a security guard.
  2. A receptionist who welcomes visitors but also has other important jobs to do.
  3. An employee near the door who ends up helping visitors, even though it’s not officially their job.
  4. An empty reception area with or without signs to show people where to go.
  5. A computer kiosk where visitors can check-in, with or without clear signs.

In today’s modern office, not every workplace has a dedicated receptionist. Receptionists are valuable as they interact with visitors. But many places can’t afford to pay someone just to greet visitors. If you have an employee sitting idle, it’s not a good use of money.

If you can’t say who greets visitors, you probably have a semi-dedicated receptionist. They have other tasks besides helping guests. But consider how often they leave their desk or get interrupted by visitors.

An empty reception area often makes other employees act as informal receptionists. Guests may wander around lost or approach the first person they see. This interrupts the employee’s work and may lead to frustration and reduced productivity.

A digital check-in kiosk can save employee time while still greeting and registering guests. Offices without a real need for a human receptionist might find this method effective. It can be used alongside a human receptionist, letting guests check in themselves while the assistant handles other tasks.

The choice of method depends on your building layout and business type. Consider what impresses visitors while using employees’ time and money efficiently.

The Key Components of the Visitor Experience

Different organizations around the world use various methods to greet guests. It’s important to check if the way you greet guests gives them the experience you want. Here’s what to look for:

The Atmosphere: When visitors arrive, the first thing they notice is the atmosphere and how people behave. This shapes their first impression. Make sure your reception area looks professional and engaging. Consider:

  • The environment: Is your reception area clean and organized? Does it reflect your brand? Clear signs should direct visitors, and decorations should match your brand.
  • The people: If you have a receptionist, they should greet guests warmly and helpfully. If not, consider using a digital check-in system to welcome visitors. Ensure your guests are comfortable while they wait. Offer comfy seats, clear directions to facilities, and amenities like magazines or refreshments.

The Details: Guests need to feel their needs are understood and met. Here’s what to do:

  • Recognize them: Make sure someone acknowledges visitors and helps them. This can be done by a receptionist or a digital check-in system that prints visitor badges.
  • Share contact info: Collect important details like name, company, and contact information. This helps in notifying the person they’re visiting.
  • Understand their needs: Guests usually have a reason for visiting. Make sure to ask who they’re meeting and the purpose of their visit.

The Follow-Through: After collecting guest information, ensure a smooth transition and follow-up:

  • Connect them with their host promptly. This can be done through phone calls, emails, or messages, or automatically by a digital system.
  • Escort them to and from the waiting area, considering security needs. Escorting ensures a positive experience and enhances security.
  • Follow up after their visit. This can include thanking them for coming or inviting them to future events. Use CRM systems for record-keeping and task management.

In Conclusion-

The visitor experience begins before they enter your office and ends after they leave. How they’re greeted and treated matters a lot. You aim to make them feel great about your organization, so they think, “I want to work with them.”