2020 was the year that taught the world how to be physically separated. From contactless delivery to remote learning, everyone re-learned how to interact with each other when forced to be apart.
Many businesses found their operations models upended. With employees sent home and limited office contact, they had to react quickly. As 2021 arrives, the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine means that there may be some gradual “normalcy.” However, many businesses may find that the changes they were forced to adapt will be permanent.
Businesses may rethink their lobby management in a post-COVID world. Visitor sign-in, greetings, directories, and more don’t need to be handled by a person waiting at a desk. Instead, businesses can turn to a virtual receptionist for their lobby needs and find that they can better manage their visitors.
Virtual Receptionist Benefits
There are a lot of efficiencies to be gained in a more virtual experience. As it turns out, businesses could still find ways to connect with their customers without sacrificing the customer experience.
A virtual receptionist can detect visitors and greet them with a friendly, pre-recorded message. The visitor can use intuitive touch controls. Then, if the visitor needs further assistance, the virtual receptionist can connect the person with a member of the team.
Having a virtual receptionist benefits companies in a number of ways, including:
More flexibility. No need to pay someone to sit in a lobby and “fill time.” You can have employees work on other tasks, anywhere.
More availability – With pre-recorded messages and touchscreen service capabilities, you can have a virtual receptionist available when a human is not.
Stress-Free – You don’t have to worry that visitors will need to wait or find desk coverage in the lobby if your receptionist has to step away.
Coverage from anywhere – When your visitors do need to connect with a live receptionist on a call, the receptionist can be located anywhere. Your employee can also manage multiple buildings or locations as a virtual receptionist.
Reduced physical interaction – With uncertainty around future health protocols, you can keep your visitors and employees safer by one less point of contact.
How a Virtual Receptionist Can Manage Your Lobby
Lobby needs vary from business to business. Some businesses need to verify the identity of visitors. Others need to connect the visitor to an employee for assistance upon arrival.
Whatever the business use cases, a virtual receptionist can handle the same functions that an employee located in the lobby can accomplish. More importantly, you can provide a more streamlined experience for your visitors.
Visitor Detection and Greeting
By a motion-activated system, your virtual receptionist can detect when visitors have arrived. You can use a pre-recorded greeting to guide visitors to the next steps on a touch screen.
If your visitors need to connect with a company employee, the virtual receptionist can call the employee. The employee does not need to be physically present in the building, and calls can be both audio and video.
Visitor Sign-In and Screening
When visitors arrive, they can use a self-check-in process with a virtual receptionist. This can be from a pre-scheduled list of visitors or for visitors that do not have an appointment.
Virtual receptionists can handle visitor verification. Scanned driver’s licenses and ID badges can be checked. If needed, photos of the visitors can be captured and included in a visitor badge.
Reporting can help your organization review guest activity. You will have a log of all guests and the information collected.
Employee Directory and Notification
If a visitor has arrived to meet with an employee, the employee can be notified via text message or email. This allows the employee to continue working on other tasks up until the moment that the visitor checks in.
Visitors that do not have scheduled appointments can use an employee directory to call employees. Employees are able to receive both video and audio calls and talk with the visitor. You will not need to worry that you will miss impromptu visitors because a receptionist is not sitting at a desk in your lobby.
In some business models where most of the visitors are meeting directly with employees, employee notification can replace the need to have an employee dedicated to reception. Instead, your visitors would connect directly with the employees upon arrival.
Provide Visitors with Information
Your virtual receptionist can provide information to visitors outside of employee directories. Help visitors find what they need with maps, calendar events, and web pages. You can engage with visitors by including web pages, photo slide shows, and videos.
Using a touchscreen, visitors can find the information that they need and learn more about your company through the information you provide.
Greet Visitors from Anywhere
Your employees are not bound to the building to use a virtual receptionist. Communication can occur via desk phones, mobile phones, soft-phones, or Skype. If your employees are at home or on the road, they are still able to answer calls from visitors.
In looking into the future of work, the idea of an “office” will be more fluid. Many companies will offer more flexibility to their employees in where and how they work. A virtual receptionist allows you to maintain your lobby interaction with your visitors without placing too many restrictions on employees.
Transforming Lobby Management with a Virtual Receptionist
Business models will continue to be examined for a post-COVID world. Many people have become accustomed to self-sufficiency, from visitor sign-in to contactless interaction. These changes are going to be the “new normal” in terms of customer experience. Your business should prepare to meet such expectations.