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Is a self-service kiosk right for your business?

Visitor management might seem like a niche issue. However, streamlining your visitor management on any level can help improve both your business costs and customer experience.

Full service vs. self-service kiosks. Adapted from vecteezy.com

You might have a lobby attendant stationed at a podium or desk to register visitors that enter your building. And this system has been working for many years, so why change it? Research shows that over 65% of customers prefer self-service kiosks. The trend is expected to continue, with the self-service kiosk industry expected to grow another $2.29 billion.

Considering the trend towards self-service is spreading to and growing within more and more industries, here are three reasons it might be time for your business to upgrade to a self-service, kiosk-based visitor management system:

1) Lack of Security


Let’s use an example of Pete’s experience when he visits Susie for a meeting:

  • Pete enters the building and walks to the security desk

  • Security asks for ID, Pete hands it over

  • Pete is asked to sign-in on a piece of paper with the date, time, name of company visiting, and name of individual visiting – in this case, Susie

  • Security searches for Susie in the building directory and calls to verify that she’s expecting Pete

  • Security takes a picture of Pete and then prints him a visitor pass

  • Security informs Pete of the floor and suite number for Susie

  • Security keeps a file of the hand-written sign-in sheet for reference

Sounds familiar, right? This process provides little to no security, leaves visitor information available for anyone to see, and is an outdated way of registering a guest.

Now let’s see how the scenario would be with a self-service, automated visitor management system:

  • Pete enters the building and uses the self-service kiosk

  • Pete scans the bar code in the email he received from Susie with all the details for the meeting – date, time, address, floor and suite number

  • Pete scans his driver’s license and the built-in camera takes his photo

  • Pete’s identity is verified, and a visitor badge along with a building access card is printed with his name and photo

  • Susie gets an alert that Pete checked-in to the building; Pete heads to the elevator to meet with Susie

  • After their meeting, Pete returns his badge and access card to the same kiosk and his exact check-in and -out time are recorded

This method doesn’t leave meeting and personal information on a piece of paper that everyone can see. The kiosks can integrate with your existing access control systems, so Susie can set meeting details to ensure that Pete’s building access card gives him clearance for the places he needs to access, but not for places that have nothing to do with their meeting.

2) Better Customer Experience

Let’s use another example with Pete’s meeting with Susie:

  • Pete arrives at the building and finds the security desk, but nobody is at it

  • He rings the bell, and waits patiently until someone can come help him

  • Eventually someone comes back to the desk, and Pete gives him the information about his meeting with Susie

  • The desk attendant cannot find a record of the meeting at his desk and calls Susie’s office to confirm

  • The call goes to voice mail because Susie is on the other line at the moment

  • After a few more attempts, the desk attendant finally gets through and confirms the meeting with Susie

  • The desk attendant then takes a few minutes to check Pete’s identification, take his picture, fill out the permissions needed for his building access card, and prints out his badge and access card to give to Pete.

  • As Pete walks away from the desk to go to his meeting with Susie, he feels bad for the person who entered the building after him who was waiting in line behind Pete the whole time.

Now let’s try it again with a self-service check-in kiosk:

  • Pete arrives at the building to meet with Susie and holds the door open to let someone else in ahead of him

  • The person he just let in goes to one of the available self-serve kiosks, and Pete goes to a different one

  • He pulls out his phone to scan the meeting code that was automatically generated and sent to him by Susie

  • The kiosks guides him through the steps of scanning his ID, taking a picture, and printing his badge and access card

  • In minutes, Pete and the person he held the door for are off to their respective meetings, and Susie has been alerted to Pete’s arrival

With a self-service kiosk, customers can immediately start the check-in process. The process itself is quick and easy to follow, and the software can be customized to fit your unique visitor management process, rules and notification preferences. Kiosks are always ready to serve, and having multiple units can make sure no one has to wait in line to check-in. The system also tracks visitors so that in case of emergency you know where to check first.

3) Less pressure on human capital and pathogen transmission

In the same way that customers no longer have to wait to speak to a desk attendant, desk attendants also do not have to be glued to their station. This way they do not have to waste time standing at a desk when no one is there, and they can be alerted by the self-service kiosk if a customer needs assistance. Alternatively, if your front desk is consistently getting backed up, a self-service kiosk can help relieve some of the pressure brought to desk attendants for simple check-ins and individuals who would rather use self-service, and allow the desk attendants to better focus on more unique check-ins or people who would rather speak to someone face-to-face.

If trying to reduce the spread of pathogens, self-service kiosks allow you to avoid face-to-face contact, can be spread out to reduce crowding, and help reduce things like backed up lines or longer wait times so that guests aren't in proximity to each other for extended periods of time. They also can be equipped with antimicrobial films and surfaces to keep bacteria, viruses and other pathogens from growing on common touch surfaces.

Conclusion

Self-service kiosks can help most visitor management systems, but it may not be right for everyone. See what category you fit in to:

Situations that would be greatly benefitted by having self-service check-in kiosks:

  • Businesses that have high check-in rates throughout the day, or get increased check-in demand during certain times of the day, which can lead to longer wait times for the customer.

  • Business that get visitors sporadically throughout the day, and cannot afford to have desk attendants wait at the desk at all times for a few visitors here and there.

  • Businesses that have customers that may prefer self-service options for speed, convenience or privacy.

  • Businesses that frequently have visitors coming in for meetings or deliveries.

  • Businesses that put a high priority on avoiding pathogen spread, and want to reduce face-to-face contact, crowding and long wait times as much as possible.

Situations that may not benefit as much from self-service kiosks:

  • Businesses that don’t have any consistent check-in procedures.

  • Businesses that require visitors to be personally escorted to their destination.

  • Businesses that have little or no need for security, or who allow visitors to come and go as they please.

  • Businesses who prefer all guests interact with another person, whether for personal touch purposes or because of heightened security needs.

Whatever solution you choose to go with, self-service kiosks are here to stay, and may become the primary way of interacting with customers and visitors in the near future.