How often do your receptionists and concierge staff end up handling packages for tenants? With hundreds of residents ordering items from the internet on a regular basis, we know it takes up a lot of time. Not only is parcel management time-consuming, it also makes reception areas look more like post offices.
Consumer buying habits have changed massively in the last few years. 2020 in particular saw online purchases skyrocket. Is it fair that receptionists now have an added duty to manage packages? Not at all, but it’s fallen on their shoulders because they’re front-of-house.
Making parcel management easier has to be a priority in all residential buildings. The reception area’s layout plays a key role, as it’s where all the hustle and bustle takes place.
We take you through how your layout can be improved to keep parcel management under wraps.
Why is Front-of-House Parcel Management so Important?
In many respects, parcel management in residential buildings is straightforward. A courier makes a delivery, the receptionist signs for it, and the package is put to one side until the owner picks it up.
That is a very basic point of view though, and it doesn’t take into account the knock-on effect. Hundreds of items can be delivered in the space of a week, which negatively affects staff productivity and the professional appearance of your reception area.
A cluttered reception creates a bad first impression, which can stick in a potential tenant’s mind during an initial viewing. Parcels also create a health and safety risk, as they can easily be tripped over if they’re not stored away properly. If there’s been a particularly large amount of deliveries, this could lead to queues, which again, reflects poorly on a reception’s professional look.
Then, you have to take into account how often a staff member has to stop what they’re doing to focus on packages. It can take a significant amount of time to sign for every parcel, and then there’s the matter of finding them again once the owners come to collect their package. If this happens daily, you could be losing several hours every week.
Reception Area Layout Tip #1: Use Space Efficiently
When there’s no space for a resident-facing parcel solution in a residential building, concierge staff are usually handed deliveries, which are then stored in a nearby cupboard or staff only area. If staff are accepting packages for residents, PSP Lite can make the process easier and quicker.
With PSP Lite, all staff need to do is take a picture of the parcel label. Then, it’s automatically logged to the PSP database, and a notification email or SMS is sent to the owner.
As the cupboard behind the reception desk area isn’t resident space, deliveries can be packed in tightly. This makes for the most efficient use of space when there is little room available, but this method still requires staff to be involved in parcel management.
Having staff members handle some parts of package deliveries can take time out of their schedule, but if the process is efficient and the students are interacting with a friendly face, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
How you approach the situation will depend on how much work your staff already has and how many deliveries you see every week.
Reception Area Layout Tip #2: Don’t be Taken in By Parcel Lockers
Some residential building operators have installed parcel lockers, and to an extent, they do take a small amount of pressure off receptionists and concierges, though only in the short-term. Lockers provide a parcel storage place, but they come with a monumental amount of issues.
When parcel lockers are installed in residential buildings, the reception area’s layout is basically wall-to-wall lockers. You have to provide enough for every parcel (and remember, some residents will order multiple items in one go), which turns a well-designed and inviting reception into a locker room that wouldn’t look out of place in a gym. Not only that, lockers have to be bigger than the items being stored within them, which means there’s a lot of wasted space.
Even with all that wall space dedicated to them, lockers still aren’t efficient. At peak trading times such as the September PBSA move-ins, Christmas, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is a huge boost in online shopping. Those parcel lockers will fill up quickly, but they won’t be emptied every day. Residents will only come to collect their package when it’s convenient for them.
And when the lockers are all occupied, what will couriers do next? They’ll head straight to the reception desk, and your staff are back managing parcels.
With all the package overflow, it means there has to be a second storage space, too. Regardless of whether some lockers are free or not, all bulky items such as ironing boards and mirrors will still have to be left at reception.
Parcel lockers are great for a retail setting, but they’re not fit for purpose in a residential building. They take up a lot of room, which can’t be used efficiently, and at some point, your staff will have to go back into parcel management, as well. If you thought lockers were a good idea, they’re actually the worst option you could go for.
Reception Area Layout Tip #3: Install a Parcel Room
Parcel rooms offer the full solution to parcel management. Installed near the reception desk, your staff can still keep an eye on deliveries without having to get involved. For the most part, they’ll simply be pointing couriers and residents in the right direction.
Imagine it; instead of receptionists and concierges handling endless packages, the courier goes straight to the parcel room to drop off deliveries. Your staff will save countless hours every week, and that time can be put towards better serving residents.
With an entire room to work with, there’s plenty of space for parcels. Couriers won’t have to put small items in massive lockers. Instead, they pop them on a shelf or rack without taking up valuable space that could have been used for a bigger item.
What’s more, an effective parcel service is key to tenant happiness. It’s something that gets used regularly and provides a practical use. When potential residents come to view a unit, parcel rooms make a great part of the building tour, as you can highlight it as a key amenity.
A parcel room takes a lot of stress away from you and your team. From saving time, using space wisely, creating a unique selling point and even reducing parcel liability, a dedicated room can put your residential building ahead of the competition.
How Parcel SafePlace Can Help
The accepted method of parcel management has to change. Receptionists and concierges will soon be completely overrun with deliveries if support measures aren’t put in place.
Parcel lockers are being used as a solution in some residential buildings, but operators are quickly discovering how highly flawed they are. The best solution is to introduce a parcel room.
A parcel room ensures there’s more than enough space for each delivery, and couriers can quickly check in every item knowing they are safe and secure. A dedicated room keeps your reception neat and tidy while saving your staff a huge amount of time.
However, if you’re not ready for a parcel room yet, the right software can still be a massive help. Take a look to see if you qualify for a free two-month trial period of PSP Lite. For more information on how a parcel room greatly improves package management, make sure to get in touch with our team.