How to pick the best visitor management system

Visitor management systems are no longer a new idea, and chances are that you’ve already used one when visiting another organisation. With health & safety and data privacy regulations becoming more stringent throughout recent years, the visitor management space has seen huge growth. But with a range of systems on the market, how do you know which is the best visitor management system for you?

Whether you’re new to visitor and staff management technology and are making the switch from paper processes, looking to tick the data compliance box or already have a system and are looking to see if there’s a better solution on the market, we’ve got you covered. Below is a step-by-step guide using our tips to help you pick the best visitor management system for your organisation.

1. Who will be using it?

First things first, think about who will be signing in on your visitor management system. Are you going to use it simply for signing visitors in and out? Do you want your employees to use it too, and will it be for office and remote workers? What about repeat visitors such as contractors? Are you a school that wants to use it to sign students in late?

Then think about the future. Right now you may just want to sign visitors in and out, but would the capability of signing in staff in the future be beneficial? If so, does the visitor management solution you’re researching offer all types of visitor in one selected package or will you have to pay extra when you want to do this?

Really go into detail when considering who will be using the system in your organisation. The best visitor management system for you will be one that’s simple to use for anyone that may be using it - young or old, tech-savvy or a tech novice, parents or pupils, etc.

2. What do you need it to do?

Now that you know who will be using it, it’s time to decide exactly what you need it to do. Do you need it simply for visitors signing in and out of your building? When visitors or staff are signing in, do you need to present important site information, health questionnaires or NDAs for them to read, complete or sign? Have you considered whether you might use the solution for managing deliveries coming into the building too?

Look deeper than just the standard features. Visitor management systems nowadays rarely just sign people in and out - they come with an array of different features for workplace management all in one secure solution. For example, some may also include a solution for employee sign in and others may also include desk or meeting room booking. Really look into the features each solution offers and whether these will be included in your subscription or are only available at an added cost.

3. Can it integrate with your existing systems?

Leading on from the point above - think about whether it would be helpful if a visitor management system could integrate with your existing systems such as Google Workspace, Azure AD, Salesforce or your school’s management system.

Integration with your existing system could be an easy way to keep your employee list up-to-date to allow for employee sign in. Integrating with your school’s management system can also help to keep your evacuation list accurate and up-to-date in the event of an emergency.

4. What’s your budget?

You have a figure in mind of what you can spend on a subscription for a visitor management solution and have found a company that fits your budget - great. But, have you considered if there are any hidden costs?

Here’s a few things to consider…

  • If you wanted to start using other features down the line such as new releases they bring out, will this be included in your subscription or will you have to pay extra to use these?
  • If you wanted to add another system to the same site, for example for multiple entrances, is this included in your subscription or do you have to pay more?
  • Does the subscription stay the same price no matter how many visitors you sign in or types of visitor groups you have?
  • After the first year, is it easy to renew and will the subscription remain the same price or does it increase?

5. Can you trial it?

How can you decide which is the best visitor management system without trialling them first to see whether the solutions work for your requirements? Don’t make the investment until you’ve tried it out.

See whether the company you’re purchasing from offers a free trial and how long you can do this for. We recommend finding a company that offers at least 2 weeks of a trial to give you time to test out all the features you may need.

6. Is it easy to set up?

You’ve thought about how easy the visitor management solution is to use for who will be using it, but the best visitor management system will be just as easy to set up too. We’ve split this into 3 points:

How quickly can you get set up?

Is it a case of straight out-of-the-box, download an app and you’re ready to get started, or will you have to have someone come out and install it for you?

Can you have a demonstration?

Some companies may offer an online demonstration of the solution to walk you through the product and show you how each feature works - can they tailor this to walk you through exactly how the product can work for your specific requirements?

Once it’s set up, does it require any maintenance?

Will the hardware require maintenance each year or will it be a case of simply downloading a new app update when there’s new releases and improvements?

7. Who’s the team behind the product?

Okay, so now that you’re a few steps closer to picking the best visitor management system for you, have you considered who the team is behind the company you’re purchasing from? This one’s important - no-one wants to buy a product and then have a poor customer experience from the company.

Are they easy to contact? There’s nothing worse than investing in a great piece of technology and then when it comes to needing help from the team behind the product, it’s like pulling out teeth. You don’t want to be speaking to a robot, you don’t want to sit on hold for ages, and you don’t want to pay extra just for a little bit of assistance on a product you’ve already paid for. We’ve all been there - we know how you feel.

Before you invest, find out how easy it is to contact the company’s customer service team. Can you easily find their phone number/email and when using live chat, are you speaking to a human?

Do they care about their customers? This one is something we don’t always think about when purchasing products, but in the long run it’s something you’ll be grateful that you considered when choosing the best visitor management system for you. Have a look into whether the VMS company really listens to what their customers want and whether they adapt and enhance the solution with the feedback they receive from their customers.

8. Is it compliant and is your data going to be secure?

Data security should be of utmost importance when it comes to choosing a visitor management solution. You’ll be collecting data from visitors, staff and contractors every day and it’s important to know that the data you’re collecting will be stored securely.

When picking the best visitor management system for you, consider whether the solution complies with local regulations and legislation (e.g. the GDPR in the EU). Is there flexibility with choosing exactly what data you collect from each visitor type? Can you choose how long you store the data for? Is there an option to choose where you store the data?

You also need to be sure that the new solution keeps your IT and compliance teams happy. Is the infrastructure that runs the system of an enterprise level? Is the required redundancy measures in place? Is the data encrypted at rest? All these questions will help you procure a visitor management system that is stable and protects your data.

9. Could it become obsolete?

It’s important to remember that more time in the market doesn’t necessarily always mean that it will be the best visitor management system in the market. Take a look at their social media or latest articles - does it look like they release new features and updates regularly? If you can’t see any information, ask them directly.

In addition to releasing new features/updates that improve general usability, are they keeping up with any current circumstances that could affect the way the solution is used? Take COVID-19 as an example - did they improve the solution to stay relevant in this time, such as introducing contactless sign in?

10. What do their customers say?

You’ve found a company that looks great. They share lots on their social channels, regularly share new information on their blogs and seem to have everything you need. But, can their customers vouch for them providing the best visitor management system in the market?

Check their website - do they have reviews/case studies on there? Have a look to see if they’re present on any review sites such as Capterra and if so, whether they’re getting good reviews. See if they have any reviews on Google. Head to social media - have their customers shared good posts about them?

Hopefully this guide has helped you pick the best visitor management system for your organisation. If Sign In App has made your shortlist, don’t forget that we offer a 15-day free trial (ticking off number 5 in the guide!) which you can get started with today by clicking here. If you’d like to find out more about Sign In App, our friendly customer experience team will be more than happy to answer any questions you have and can be reached via live chat, email or phone; all contact details can be found here.