visitor management

Are your visitors’ first impressions the kind you want to last?


5 minutes read time

July 20, 2016

Updated 3 July 2017

WhosOnLocation CEO Darren Whitaker-Barnett talks about how your business could make a better impression (and in turn win over clients) with visitor management software.

What sort of first impression does a visitor to your organization get? Do you go out of your way to make visits quick, easy and friendly? Do you go above and beyond to make your visitors feel special?

First impressions are the mental image someone forms on a first encounter, made early on, they tend to last. If yours aren’t that great they will damage your reputation, brand, and customer relationships. Bad first impressions will lose you clients and contracts. Make no mistake, bad visitor management is bad for your bottom line.

When it all goes wrong

Gary has planned to meet Tim, the CEO of #1 Contractors Ltd, to talk about a contract tender. At least he thinks he is. The pair had decided on a meeting at a conference two weeks ago so Gary wrote it in his diary. But Gary isn’t sure if Tim has remembered, because when he tried to phone to confirm, the call didn’t go through. It’s too bad there was no response to the email he sent Tim either.

So Gary finds their address online and heads to the meeting anyway, wandering around for five minutes looking for #1 Contractors’ office. When he finally finds their front door, it’s locked, so he waits outside for another five minutes. It’s now long past their supposed meeting time of 1.15 pm. Tim walks through the door just as an unimpressed Gary is about to leave.

They do end up having a meeting which goes surprisingly well, after all, Gary thinks Tim’s a great guy. But unfortunately, this meeting will be their last. Gary’s first impression of #1 Contractors is so poor that he is really reluctant to do business with them. He certainly won’t be bringing them on board to handle their next major road project. Not only did Gary waste valuable time but the whole visitor experience at #1 Contractors showed him they may well have had major problems in getting the job done.

A good approach

June has planned to meet a lawyer for the first time. It didn’t take her long to walk to their offices as she knew exactly where she was going. This is because she had an email two days before with all of the meeting details; date, time, and a map. As a friendly gesture they had even included information about the best café nearby.

When June walks into the firm’s lobby she doesn’t see anyone but can’t miss the visitor sign-in kiosk. The kiosk is a touch tablet with the firm’s branding on it asking her to ‘Please Sign-In’. June thinks this is quite flash. She finds the sign-in process quick and easy, filling out her contact details, who she is there to meet and any special requirements. To June’s surprise, she is also asked if she would like something to drink. A cup of tea, milk with no sugar, would be great. Around three minutes after she has signed in a receptionist appears with her cup of tea and to let her know the lawyer will be with her soon.

June is blown away by her first encounter with this law firm. She thinks they’re smart, modern, efficient, and most of all friendly. After this first impression, and provided they do a good job, this firm will have June as a client for life.

First impressions visitor

First impressions last

In business first impressions can make or break an organization’s bottom line. Gary won’t be working with #1 Contractors now or in the future. He has given the road project tender to a company that gave him a better first impression. From those first impressions, he can tell the chosen company will be easier to work with. Whether #1 Contractors realizes it or not, they lost out on a potential multi-million-dollar contract because of their visitor management issues.

In contrast, June is likely to be a long-term client of her new law firm. Their visitor management system gave her an amazing first impression and customer experience. June will most likely generate new referrals too as she tells everyone about the great customer service she gets at her lawyers.

How to do it right

According to Cameron Studio, there are four first impressions people make when they visit your organization;

1. Ease of finding you

2. Sense of arrival

3. Efficient use of technology

4. Bathrooms

June’s law firm ticks all of these boxes by using visitor management software with a sign-in kiosk. Of course, a computer can’t clean the bathroom for them (yet), but it can tell a visitor directions to the toilet. And it can be used to alert Sam the receptionist to high-number visitor days, so she remembers to check restroom supplies in the afternoon.

Have a long, hard think about the first impressions your business creates. Are there areas you are lacking in that could be improved? Start with how easy it is for visitors to find you and work your way from there. Run a ‘first impressions test’: Invite a friend to meet you at your organization and tell you in-depth about their first impressions. Were they positive? Do they sit well with you? Are they the kind you want to last? Most importantly, do they win you contracts and encourage your clients to stay long-term?

If the answer is no, there are many ways to go make a change and start making great first impressions. For example, you could renovate your reception area, or make changes to artwork and lighting.

Another way to impress your visitors is by using a sleek visitor management system like WhosOnLocation. Using visitor management software you can create memorable and positive first impressions, the kind that you will be happy to last forever.