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Transforming visitor management: How visitor management professionals should approach risk, cost and experience

Transforming visitor management: How visitor management professionals should approach risk, cost and experience Photo

In visitor management, a visitor used to be someone who came to your office to do business, simple as that. But the concept of “a visitor” has changed.

Today anyone who engages with your organization can be categorized as a visitor in one way or another. From contractors, consultants and service providers to external meeting participants, clients and even employees, they’re all visitors.

What does it mean that we have redefined what a visitor is?

How we manage our security footprint has changed and this means that your perception of “a visitor” could be jeopardizing the security of your entire organization.

If you’re still thinking of visitors solely as someone who comes to your facility for business you could be setting yourself up for an increased risk. And if you’re still thinking of your facilities solely as physical spaces you are missing roughly half your visitors.

Today visitors aren't just people coming to your office for a meeting. Visitors include guests, clients, contractors, prospects as well as staff. And it includes on-site as well as remote visits, which means your facility isn’t just the physical real estate, it extends to the digital space as well.

Managing the whole threat

But our definitions aren’t the only things that have changed. The behavior and expectations of visitors as well as employees have changed too.

For instance, employees have come to expect a level of flexibility from their employers, and as companies we need a way to manage that flexibility. Not just so we can make sure employees have a desk or a seat when they come to the office, but for compliance and security reasons.

Managing the whole threat

One of the things we need to look at when it comes to how visitors have changed over the past years is which challenges this presents for companies.

What is the price of not treating visitor types differently, not just in terms of dollars but in terms of lost opportunities, wasted time and negative branding as well.

Managing the whole threat

Increased risk

Stating that anyone who enters your premises or engages with your business brings a potential risk isn’t a new idea. But because the way visitors engage with your organization has changed, there’s a good chance you will be unaware of some of those risks.

For instance, having a series of images behind the reception counter or even on the wall displaying everyone who’s not allowed onto your premises has been one way to handle bans and internal watchlists. But changing our understanding of the premises to include remote engagement as well means we need to move the screening from the visitor arriving to before the invitation is even sent out.

Managing individuals banned from entering the premises of your organization is of course an extreme example, but the idea applies to things like identity verification and standard security screenings too. And not sufficiently accounting for these things is going to increase risk.

Spiraling costs

In its simplest form increasing risk will increase your security costs simply by following the insurance equation that risk equals the probability of an incident times the cost of an incident. Or, in short, if something were to happen, how much would that cost you?

But the costs increasing due to a new understanding of what it means to be a visitor aren’t only related to risk. It’s related to the processes we use to manage visitors too.

For example, if we look at our example from before with a series of pictures kept behind the desk used as an internal watchlist, consulting that “watchlist” every time someone arrives is going to take up time and be prone to human error, whereas using a system that manages identity verification as part of the check in process would reduce the time spent registering visitors - and because of that reduce the cost.

Negative experiences

A negative visitor experience can have a huge impact on your business as a whole, and not just from a security perspective.

Imagine an interviewee coming in for a job interview. Their visitor experience will affect their desire to work at your company, and the experience an employee from another location has when they come to visit a location might affect their productivity during the visit or even retention of that employee, and the experience of a client could affect your bottom line.

In fact, according to a survey from December 2023 72% of customers who have a positive experience will spread the word of their experience to 6 or more people.

Watch the Webinar “Show, Tell and Excel: Transforming Visitor Management” right now

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