Gaurav Saini of Vizitor tells us about the touchless visitor management system.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gaurav Saini: We all are doing good and adjusting to the new normal. It’s a change that we all are adapting to and taking proper precautions to keep ourselves safe. Thanks for asking, and I hope that you and your family are doing the same.
Also, I would like to take this opportunity to give a message to all the families and businesses getting affected by this pandemic that we are in this too, and together let’s create an ecosystem to support each and everyone in whatever way we can.
These are tough times for everyone, and once it’s over, we will be much stronger than before.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vizitor.
Gaurav Saini: I am a full-stack developer who has become an Entrepreneur. I worked for several organizations where the culture gave me experience and knowledge that forced me to create my own IT firm. Apart from this, I have been mentoring in Google Summer of Code with Mifos Initiative. I always wanted to build a product that would solve real-life problems in society. With my personal experience, I got inspired to launch my very own touchless visitor management system, “VIZITOR.”
It is a product that lines up with the new normal, enabling organizations to have the safest check-ins on their premises, and it is a very easy-to-use tool that can work with your current infrastructure. We designed it in such a way that we can cater to every form of organization, whether it is a full-fledged multinational corporation or a small office. Vizitor ensures a safe, protected, and seamless check-in process.
Apart from the above said for those programming geeks, I have written a book titled “Hybrid Mobile Development with Ionic,” published by Packt Publication.
How does Vizitor innovate?
Gaurav Saini: The primary focus for our innovation drive is creating a product that lines up in catering to the social problems. Our idea generation phase is very customer-centric and focuses on providing solutions that will help in making their environment efficient and economical. We have a great team dedicated just to market research to find these problems and, similarly, a technical team that is highly experienced in solving these problems.
VIZITOR’s idea was driven by the digital revolution and industries asking for seamless traffic management. The majority of the places that I have been at are using manual entry systems like registers, diaries, etc., but with VIZITOR, you are doing something similar but digitally. It not only keeps your data of visitors safe, but you can do much more than just enter names with who came into your organization. With the power of analytics, you can even have great insights into your visitors. It is a very simple system that does a lot, at least a lot more than just manual diaries.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Gaurav Saini: During the early stages of the pandemic, just like other organizations, our company was also facing a few difficulties. But sooner or later, we were quick in adapting to these changes. Our marketing team was already used to giving a demo of our various offerings via online meetings, so one factor was already taken care of. The major problem that we faced was on collaborating with our technical team to brainstorm new ideas. Because of the virtual interaction and a totally different way of communication, working on problem-solving started getting affected. We needed to come up with a task that kept the motivation and engagement of all our departments high. Because sitting for long hours, staring at your computer screens and your room walls was causing a drastic impact on the thinking parameters of my team. So, to solve this, our HR team did a fabulous job. Every week they had several fun, interactive activities that led to deeper communication between vertical heads and teams working under them. This led to better collaboration in a virtual environment.
The new normal and working from home led to quite a few changes in our product mix. Though the majority of our offerings are cloud-based, there were few solutions that needed to be bought onboard the cloud platform. Apart from that, this also led us to think of coming up with solutions that could be offered post-pandemic. Another factor was the motivation behind VIZITOR. So, we had to incur a few additional costs for old projects; however, we started to save a lot on infrastructure. Overall, we had to rework our annual budget, and for future such events from now onwards, we have started to introduce contingency funds in our budget. I feel that our employees and customers are what make our organization, and they should be least affected by such events.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Gaurav Saini: Yes of course! The offices went nonoperational, and everyone was working from their home, so the demand for Vizitor decreased rapidly, and the existing clients also stopped using it. There were no subscription renewals. It was the time we had to think of the ways we could grab this chance and tell organizations aware about the use of Vizitor after everyone resumes back to their work.
We learned that there could be another opportunity we can find in the same product that we are building, and this is how we launched our touchless check-in system.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Gaurav Saini: Over the due course, we have always worked in developing products that have been heavily inspired by what are the inputs by our customers. This has not only led to creating solutions to problems that they seek but also to developing a bond strong enough to keep our brand knowledge high.
During our initial stages, the bridge between our customers, their requirements, and problems were not that strong. But steadily, we have now learned how important this bridge is both pre and post-sale. We are using a few tools that help us in marketing through the right channel and manage our customer base to be efficient in addressing any queries and hence keep the brand association strong in whatever sense they perceive in.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Gaurav Saini: Primarily, the schemes laid down by the government were not so beneficial for the small, micro, and medium organizations. However, what helped our business afloat was the trust of our customers in our offering and our dynamic employees. We were and are putting in all our efforts to help organizations like us in surviving this pandemic.
We have even given the flexibility of various kinds to organizations who aren’t in the state to support us with payments. I believe the growth and strength of the relationship with our customers can be improved and taken to the next level only if we support them in their toughest times and understand their problems.
Your final thoughts?
Gaurav Saini: No matter how tough the going gets, you can bring the most out of it only if you surround yourself with the right people and have the right team. Today we all have the power of the internet, and if we utilize this power in the right way, we can do wonders. To anyone who is looking out find ideas, try to keep customers and society’s problems as your center. No matter how big or small your idea is, just remember that it is not impossible to achieve it.
Another thing which I would like to put out is that the initial stages of your product development will either make it or break it. So while making a team, bring onboard people who treat your idea and product as their own and have the same passion and dedication to work towards building it.