Best practices guide to using a sign-in app

Why use a sign-in app? This guide will show you the benefits of using a digital sign-in application so you can choose the right one for your business.

Sign-in apps are a big part of life these days. We find ourselves "signing in" to confirm our arrival wherever we go—from the airport to business meetings.

Chances are, you've scrawled inside a guestbook (or paper logbook) to register your attendance somewhere or another—nothing too complicated—just basic info like names, addresses, or phone numbers. 

It's exactly that kind of data needed to identify who showed up, when they arrived, and why they were there (maybe even when they left).

However, the check-in experience can and does influence how we feel immediately afterward. This can be good and bad for your business.

In fact, two out of five professionals surveyed confessed to judging brands by the quality of experience at their front desks.

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As it turns out, visitor registration systems can have a major impact on how guests perceive you. This offers a unique opportunity to streamline front desk operations and maximize value for each visitor. 

Beyond making a great first impression, visitor management systems reinforce workplace health and safety during the COVID-19 era. They ensure visitors are screened for health risks before arrival, limit touching of surfaces once they arrive, track and report on all those who enter the building, and allow for easy access to data if health risks emerge following a visit.

Furthermore, people already use tablets and smartphones in everyday life, so bringing sign-in apps to business is a natural extension.

A recent report by Salesforce showed that 74% of small-to-mid-sized companies use at least one business app with 27% employing 5 or more. Growing brands tended to embrace apps while stagnant organizations reflect the opposite. 

Gartner predicts that we'll see nearly 4% growth in global IT spending in 2020 (particularly in enterprise software).

Worldwide_IT_Spending_Forecast-sign-in-app-guide

Certainly, you and your organization don't want to be left behind?

In this guide, we’ll talk about check-in systems—what they are and where they can be used. We’ll also describe the many benefits they provide and discuss what to look for when choosing a sign-in solution.

1. What is a sign-in app?

Even if your organization doesn’t yes use a check-in app or sign-in app, you've probably been exposed to the concept already.

It's basically a software application that's designed to run on your device of choice so your visitors can check themselves in. It should provide an audit trail for you to track attendees.

And having a system in place gives you a leg up on your competition. Optimizing the sign-in process may be a key differentiator in standing out from the crowd.

Touchless check-in mobile QR code Proxyclick

A visitor management system is a digital equivalent of the paper guestbook, Clearly, modern visitor management apps are capable of doing way more than any sheet of paper could do.

It's not just about logging in names and numbers, digital check-in systems can enhance nearly every part of your business. 

Proxyclick is self-explanatory for the user and makes checking in a quick and painless process for the guest.

Sarah B., Human Resources Assistant

2. When could a sign-in application be useful?

Check-in apps are often associated with "big business."

But they can be used to enhance the visitor experiment in nearly any environment. From small-to-mid-sized companies and all the way up to global enterprises, replacing the front desk sign-in sheet and saving a few trees in the process is becoming the norm.

In 2020, check-in apps for visitor management went from a “nice to have” to a “must-have.” Following the COVID-19 global pandemic, it’s more crucial than ever to have the ability to screen and inform visitors of health and safety regulations before they arrive, track their whereabouts and limit touching of surfaces on the premises, and ensure they’re informed of any potential health risks following a visit. 

If you take one look at our own customer stories and uses cases, you can see that organizations of all sizes across all industries implement digital sign-in books for different reasons.

And no matter the size or type of business, there are always instances when you could use an upgrade and say goodbye to the visitor sign-in sheet:

  • To reinforce workplace health and safety
  • To unburden your reception staff
  • To streamline the visitor check-in process
  • To up your security game
  • To better prepare for emergencies
  • To blow your visitors away
There are seven companies in my building, and every one of them has a different procedure when it comes to welcoming visitors.

Thy Moussa Traore, Senior Welcome Manager

3. What are some of the benefits of using check-in apps?

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Before your visitor ever arrives, there's a lot that goes into planning a meeting regardless of size. Sure, receptionists often handle most of the tasks from start to finish, but what happens when they're away from the front desk? Or what if they're on the phone or happen to be out sick that day?

Sign-in apps can even help you with the simplest of details like your invitation email. They can also help to easily and securely connect your visitors with your guest Wi-Fi. Your organization might also be one that faces liability issues and requires your visitors to submit electronic signatures on health and safety forms, NDAs, waivers, or other legal documents for your services. 

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Well, what if you could fully screen visitors for health risks, and have clients sign and submit legal documents before every arriving on your premises (or as part of the check-in procedure)? You could reduce the spread of viruses like COVID-19 in the workplace, while also avoiding unnecessary paperwork that causes unsafe (in a world of physical distancing) and inefficient front desk traffic.

H&S Agreement

With electronic sign-in apps, productivity and efficiency become a natural byproduct of the check-in process. Visitors receive better, faster service, operations are improved, health risks like the spread of viruses in the workplace are lowered, and frontline employees gain time to focus on higher-priority assignments.

Simply put - if your organization hosts visitors, clients, or guests, check-in apps are a must. It’s not just about boosting speed or saving time - the benefits of using check-in apps also extend into workplace health and safety and other areas of operation.

Many brands that move to electronic check-ins are surprised to learn just how valuable they can be. Benefits are seen both from the organization’s perspective as well as from the visitor’s standpoint. Here are a few examples of what we’re talking about. 

3.1 Strengthening workplace safety

In the COVID-19 era, organizations have the duty of care to protect all employees, visitors, contractors, customers, and anyone else who sets foot on their premises.

Rather than waiting to screen visitors for health risks upon their arrival and risk exposure to the virus, individuals can be fully pre-screened before they come to the premises.

Screen-your-visitors

Digital questionnaires are sent directly to them via a link in their email days before the visit. Companies can also choose to show images or videos, as well as send important text documents, in advance to highlight on-site health and safety procedures. Visitors will know exactly where to go (i.e. for temperature scans) and what to do on the day of their visit. 

If visitors’ answers in digital health questionnaires meet company requirements, they’ll be permitted access to the building or facility with a QR code sent via email. (If visitors don’t meet pre-screening requirements, they’ll be denied access and hosts will be immediately notified).

Without having to touch surfaces like iPad kiosks or door handles, guests scan this QR code at specific entryways or turnstiles for “touchless” access to certain areas of the building. (Learn how to use check-in apps to manage people flows at reopened schools.)

BNY building turnstile

Following a visit, companies can easily access important visitor contact information to inform them in case of a health emergency or possible virus infection.

Visitor data, however, can be automatically deleted to help comply with data privacy laws (see section 3.8).

 

3.2 Making a great first impression

Consider the last time you walked into another business or office space. After looking around, what was your first impression? Was the lobby clean and tidy with everything in its place? Or a bit messier - with papers or equipment strewn about and employees frantically jumping from one task to another. 

All things being equal, neat offices tend to inspire more confidence in patrons. Using visitor management software is a great way to project this image and reap the benefits.  

Rather than asking visitors to sign a paper logbook, they can use a kiosk or mobile app instead. Thereby avoiding the clutter of paper and inspiring confidence from day one. 

We live in a digital world and people expect a digital experience

Using a modern touchscreen device illustrates your brand’s commitment to innovation. Harnessing emerging technologies like visitor management systems can streamline operations and improve guest support also. Not to mention that including your logo on intake forms or documents (which apps can do) just looks more professional. 

Check-in apps provide flexibility and customization options that paper can’t match. 

3.3 Improving the guest experience

Although making a great first impression is critical, reception apps provide value long before guests ever arrive. Because these digital services live in the cloud, data can easily be shared with anyone who needs it. Which may include employees, administrators, and guests alike. 

Using a SaaS-based sign-in platform allows you to delight visitors ahead of time. Visitor apps like Proxyclick allow you to send critical pre-visit information - like directions or meeting agendas - long before the day of the event. Once guests arrive, hosts are auto-notified their visitors are waiting and can easily reply to check-in staff with further instructions. 

Once configured, network access and login information can be forwarded as well. All of which leads to shorter wait times and more productive visits for everyone involved. 

Sign-in apps not only make guests feel welcome but reduce the stress and anxiety of doing business. 

3.4 Enhancing security

A unique benefit of implementing visitor management technology is a stronger security footprint. Using electronic check-ins, organizations have real-time data about which visitors are on-site and where they’re headed. Data that improves incident response by providing accurate manifests to first responders including headcounts and last known locations.

In the same way other pre-event data can be shared (meeting times, agendas, etc.), electronic check-in apps help with visitor safety also. Confirmation emails can include floor plans, evacuation procedures, and emergency numbers. Details that visitors may be hard-pressed to find on their own during a true disaster.

Best of all, all digital data collected is easy to share with anyone who needs it. Businesses are no longer constrained to passing a physical logbook from person to person in times of distress. 

3.5 Tracking deliveries and packages

A little known yet highly useful feature of some visitor software is the ability to expedite package deliveries. Once couriers drop off items, they can be instantly logged and responsible parties automatically notified. Digital audit trails are created as packages change hands, so you’re never left wondering where your deliveries are.

No more chasing down drivers, searching the halls, or calling the front desk every 20 minutes to locate your items. With integrated delivery tools, you don’t find packages, they find you.

3.6 Increased productivity

While many check-in apps highlight the benefits of what you gain, there’s also value in what you lose. Namely, the time and effort frontline personnel need to perform their jobs.

Think about it - busy receptionists spend hours each day assisting guests and notifying meeting hosts of their arrival. While some will argue this is just part of doing business, that doesn’t mean the process can’t be improved. 

As we’ve discussed, check-in apps can automate the lion’s share of the visitor management process. From automated sign-ins and pre-printed badges to guest tracking and sponsor notifications, sign-in apps eliminate tedious work from front desk operations. 

When you remove the need to manage such tasks, opportunities for growth emerge. 

Staff are less taxed allowing them to focus on higher-priority assignments. Thereby increasing value for the organization without hiring additional employees. Sign-in apps also improve morale as many of the mundane, repetitive assignments staff complete are managed by the system. The tasks they’re left with can be done faster, easier, and more efficiently. 

Happy employees provide better experiences for those they come in contact with. Thus, making guests feel even more welcome (and supported) during their visits. 

3.7 Analytics

Visitor systems can help to facilitate better data analytics for both employees and visitors. Using electronic guestbooks, system administrators can identify which guests frequent a location, how long they stay, and for the reason for each visit. These reports also indicate which employees sponsor the most guests and the overall traffic volume for each office.

Highly valuable information that can be used to uncover peak activity times at a given facility. These data metrics often prove instrumental in justifying staffing or security upgrades or planning for future expansions.

visitor-management-system-survey-results

Nobody likes to have features thrown in their face when searching for digital solutions on the internet. However, being tasked with finding the perfect visitor management system for your business means you've got to be thorough.

Does the solution you're looking for check off all the boxes on your list of items for security protocol?

3.8 Stay in compliance

Lastly, ensure that your organization stays in compliance with nation-wide or industry-wide regulations like the Food and Drug Association’s (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) in the US. 

gdpr-compliant-visitor-management-system

Sign-in apps keep visitors’ data secure and out-of-view of others in open reception areas, yet another reason to replace age-old paper sign-in apps.

In addition, the right visitor management system will enable full audit trails, minimize the processing of information, and allow for automatic data deletion. That is, it will only retain necessary visitor information (especially sensitive health data during specific cases like the COVID-19 pandemic) for the least amount of days as needed.

Before we had Proxyclick, our previous system was slow. It was tedious for tenants to register visitors

Marc A. Cecere, Director of Applications

4. What should you look for when choosing a sign-in solution?

While there are many different check-in apps to choose from, not all are created equal. Thus, it’s important to identify which ones can best serve your needs not only for today but well into the future. Keeping this concept in mind, here are a few elements to look for.

4.1 Scalability

As with any other component of your business, finding a check-in app that grows with you is paramount. Smaller platform solutions can be enticing because of their low costs and quick setup. Yet, in many cases, functionality and support are less than optimal. 

Entry-level products often lack the stability and features required to operate in mid-to-large-sized environments. Options such as standard enterprise integrations, robust data encryption, or customizable APIs. 

Look for solutions that are accessible (and configurable) for multiple sites or facilities. Products like these offer the most flexibility and control in terms of managing complex environments and network infrastructures. 

4.2 Support

Going hand-in-hand with scalability is the need for optimal support. Best-in-class products like Proxyclick offer a full range of support options to minimize downtime and keep operations running smoothly. 

Our services include dedicated implementation teams to assist with new setups and a 24/7 helpdesk to quickly resolve any issues thereafter. We also offer a complete learning resource portal to answer common questions and help get the most out of your visitor management investment. 

Developing strong client relationships is a core element of our business. That’s why account managers periodically check-in with each customer to see how things are going. If clients are not completely satisfied, we do whatever it takes to make it right. 

4.3 Beautiful design and ease of use

Functionality is important, but intuitive design and operation are what ties it all together. The Proxyclick dashboard is easy to navigate and makes finding the information you need dead-simple. 

Even with little training, users can quickly locate and retrieve the data to complete assignments. And with loads of security configuration options, administrators can delegate tasks with confidence knowing users have only the minimum access necessary.

4.4 Security and privacy

With an onslaught of lawsuits in the media each day, data security and privacy issues have to be taken seriously - even with information as seemingly benign as check-in data. Names, addresses, and credentials are potential goldmines for hackers and poorly designed systems are primary targets. 

Let’s not forget about compliance either. With new laws and regulations cropping up each year, it’s important to isolate the types of user information you collect. Proxyclick’s built-in management tools make safeguarding (or removing) sensitive data a less painful process. 

Thus, when choosing a sign-in app partner look for those offering bank-level security and redundant failsafes to guard your information. Industry leaders like Proxyclick offer ISAE 3000 Type I and SOC 2 Type II certifications and utilize ISO 27001 compliant facilities for maximum safety and protection. 

Our check-in solution ensures privacy and native GDPR compliance with quick and easy removal of user data (when needed). Consistently awarded for excellence, Proxyclick is one of the most reliable, secure, and trusted names in visitor management. 

4.5 Touchless check-in capabilities

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it's more crucial than ever to limit the spread of the virus in the workplace by reducing surface touching. Employees and visitors should have the ability to enter the building without touching door handles, turnstiles, elevators, front desk kiosks, paper logbooks or legal documents, and other elements of check-in points.

Proxyclick’s Touchless Check-In allows for employees and visitors to be pre-screened before they arrive (limiting health risks and unnecessary crowds at reception) and gives them access to unique QR codes via their mobile devices. They can scan these at various entry points throughout the building for a full contactless visitor experience. (Check out our list of touchless check-in features here).

4.6 Track record of success

Lastly, never trust your sensitive data to a newcomer or other fly-by-night operation. Look for providers with large user bases and proven customer reviews. Brands like Proxyclick invest heavily in research, design, and engineering to provide an optimal product for our customers. 

With a global footprint, Proxyclick has seen hundreds of visitor register scenarios in dozens of different verticals. This type of experience helps us to install and troubleshoot systems quickly, continually update and innovate new features, and provide a robust customer experience. 

5. What is the future of visitor management?

Technology is integrated into nearly every part of our lives nowadays. From communication and shopping to travel and how we do our work. People expect to see a digital presence wherever they do business and check-in apps serve as a great way to make a memorable first impression.

With these apps, visitors not only save time and hassle during the check-in process, but front office staff avoids overwhelm and increase productivity. Employees can now shift their focus to higher-value assignments or give extra attention to guests who really need it. 

When looking for a visitor management solution, be sure to ask the following questions:

  1. How long has the solution been around?
  2. What do their customers say about them?
  3. How do they handle security?
  4. Is the system beautiful and easy to use?
  5. Will it help you in your regulatory compliance?
  6. Can you integrate your existing tools and apps with it?
  7. Will you be able to manage the software without your IT department?
Be sure to do your homework and read up on what others have experienced with the company.

6. How to get started with digital check-in apps

Proxyclick makes it easy to transition into the world of digital visitor management. Our intuitive, cloud-based app works on most tablets and kiosks and provides a powerful, yet easy-to-use check-in application. 

From small team offices to large enterprise brands, Proxyclick is built to impress visitors and streamline front desk operations. Our five-star rated product is trusted by thousands of users around the world and makes visitor management safe, secure, and reliable.

We offer a free trial (no credit card required) and packages to fit companies of any size. All features are included in every package, there are no hidden fees, and you can cancel at any time. 

If you’ve ever thought about adding digital check-ins to your brand now is the time.

Contact us today and one of our dedicated account reps will walk you through the entire process and help you get started. 

 

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