Receptionists’ Visitor Management Challenges – How to fix them?

by | Nov 25, 2020

What challenges are the receptionists facing in terms of visitor management when we return to work? And how do we fix these challenges?

Office working is not a thing of the past; 4 of 5 employees want to return to the office, in some capacity. With the hybrid working model being adopted by more and more businesses, how can companies encourage their employees back into the office and ensure their safety?

As the first touchpoint in the building, the reception, or Front of House as we call it in the industry, previously saw a high traffic rate. The first and most important challenge for your receptionist visitor management is the need of ensuring the traffic entering and exiting the building must be managed effectively.

In this blog, we will cover the following

  1. Front of house / Receptionist visitor management challenges
  2. How can we fix these problems and improve visitor management?

What are the potential challenges a receptionist might face?

The list of issues reception management faces while managing visitors and employees – here are 10 common challenges that have occurred during the pandemic:

1. Adherense to government guidelines

Failure to comply with governmental guidance can have serious consequences, including fines and imprisonment for company directors or those responsible for workplace safety. It is crucial for workplaces to fully meet the guidance in order to ensure safety.

2. Multitasking

Receptionists are often required to handle multiple tasks simultaneously, such as answering phone calls, greeting visitors, scheduling appointments, and managing administrative duties. Balancing these responsibilities efficiently can be challenging.

3. Real-time oversight of visitors

Many departments desire the ability to have real-time oversight of who is entering and leaving the building, along with their expected arrival and departure times. However, with meetings being constantly being changed, it poses a challenge to receptinoist to keep all apartments up to date.

4. Personalised meet & greet


During peak times or when short-staffed, receptionists face the challenge of providing a personalised meet and greet while efficiently guiding people to their destinations. They must create a memorable experience for customers by making them feel acknowledged and valued.

5. Stressful situations and staff burnout

Receptionists often need to handle stressful situations, such as managing conflicts, handling complaints, or dealing with upset visitors. Maintaining a calm and professional demeanor in such situations requires emotional resilience and excellent customer service skills. Additionally, repetitive manual reception tasks, such as entering visitor details, printing visitor lists, or managing parcels, can contribute to employee burnout.

6. Top-class experience for employees

Similar to customers, employees also expect a great experience at work. Onboarding new employees, especially when remote onboarding is involved, requires a different approach. When employees do visit the building for the first time, the front desk plays a crucial role in ensuring they have a fantastic experience.

Do these challenges sound familiar? By addressing these challenges, reception management can enhance the overall efficiency, safety, and satisfaction of both visitors and employees.

How can we fix these problems?

Traditional receptions can prove beneficial, in part due to the variable nature of visitor traffic, and the need to demonstrate to employees and visitors you have a safe workplace. However, the traditional receptionist visitor management is troublesome. The drawbacks are:

  • Fixed reception headcount requires the cover of shifts for training, holidays, sickness or peak traffic
  • Lulls in traffic still require headcounts
  • Manual tasks require a labour-intensive approach
  • Government guidelines amplify the need for more stringent processes like self-certification

1. Start leaving a good impression before visitors arrive

To create a positive first impression, receptionists can extend their influence beyond the traditional front desk approach. By taking proactive steps before visitors arrive, you can enhance their experience right from the moment they receive the meeting invite. Consider implementing the following changes:

  • Extend your brand to the invite: Customize meeting invites to reflect your brand’s personality and professionalism, showcasing a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Provide clear directions: Send a Google map or detailed instructions to help visitors easily find your location, reducing any potential stress or confusion.
  • Share host details: Share relevant information about the host, such as contact details or a photo, so visitors feel connected and prepared for their meeting.

2. Pre-register Visitors

Implementing a pre-registration system (VMS) can significantly improve your visitor check in processes. This approach ensures a safe and secure check-in experience while alleviating the burden on reception staff. Consider incorporating the following features:

  • Self health certification: Enable visitors to complete health questionnaires in advance, addressing any concerns related to office safety and wellness.
  • Service or security questionnaires: Utilise questionnaires to enforce security protocols and identify any individuals on blacklists.
  • Touchless check-in: Implement a streamlined, contactless check-in process to enhance efficiency and minimise physical interaction.

3. Add virtual receptionists to support your reception

Expanding your reception staff during peak times can be costly and resource-intensive. Instead, consider leveraging digital receptionists to supplement your existing team. This approach offers flexibility and consistent service while reducing expenses and staff turnover. Explore the following options:

  • Concierge services: Employ virtual receptionists as a temporary addition during peak visitor traffic, ensuring a seamless experience without the need for additional permanent staff.
  • Digital receptionists: Implement a visitor management system that integrates virtual receptionists to handle various tasks, such as check-ins, inquiries, and information dissemination.


Receptionists face numerous challenges in their role, such as multitasking, providing a personalized experience during peak times or when short-staffed, managing stressful situations, and ensuring efficient navigation for visitors. However, these challenges can be addressed through a three-step approach to reception management.

Introducing virtual reception system can overcome receptinoists’ challenges, streamline operations, and leave a lasting positive impression on visitors.

More resources

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