The role of security has always been primarily a deterrent for threats; someone or something that, by just being present, can mitigate risk. However, this presence can greatly influence how visitors and clients’ staff perceive the security officers and the security company that supports them.
After all, the security officer is often more than just a deterrent – they are the first and last person anyone sees at a facility. They are responsible for helping gain access to the facilities, and, as of late, have become a de facto safety officer. How incoming people perceive this first experience can often shape their perception of the company, the officer, and the security guard firm supporting it all.
In an upcoming webinar, we will be speaking with Carlos Francisco, who has created security programs for the likes of the Walt Disney Company, among others. Carlos now specializes in translating the best practices for corporate security professionals by speaking about the customer experience. Carlos helps instill the right team training and processes.
Below are just a few concepts that a guard firm should consider when thinking about improving the customer experience in security operations.
- Understand The Client’s Business and Their Culture: This isn’t necessarily a full company onboarding exercise. It’s more about knowing enough to understand how your team is able to align to the overall values and culture the client has instilled in their people. It’s always good to get the company mission statement or value statement. Or, even better, have a client senior manager provide a quick training to your officers on the company and values. This small step helps officers align those values with their actions, that way, when they step onto that post, they are now able to interact with visitors in the same manner an employee would (or should). This helps create a seamless experience as visitors and employees arrive.
- Active Listening and Communication Provides Two Benefits: Never underestimate the power of “small talk”. Having the security team actively engage in an active conversation with guests not only provides a sense of friendly demeanor for your officers, but can serve an alternative purpose. The more an officer engages, the more they can exercise active listening to mitigate a visitor threat. Officers can be trained to be friendly and conversational, while listening for verbal or physical cues to see if there is “something off” about that visitor. Good communication is a powerful skill that not only provides a positive customer experience but can mitigate risk at the same time.
- Create Positive De-Escalation Practices: There are visitors that will be upset, complain, or will be downright mean to security. This is not uncommon. The important factor is how you can de-escalate this behavior by reframing the conversation. It is very common for security to be either called to de-escalate a situation or are approached by a potential threat. The more times you can identify with the person, assess their threat level and respond in kind will influence how well you can mitigate risk and keep things calm. Knowing the difference between a potential violent encounter and a non-violent encounter can help to re-frame how you de-escalate. Officers that can identify with a frustrated visitor or employee and help them resolve the issue without force will make for a much more pleasant experience while mitigating risk.
- Have an Intuitive Visitor Management System: Sometimes the biggest frustration isn’t in the officer, the client, or the building – it’s the visitor check in process. Visitors that need to check in do not want to be burdened with too many obstacles before reaching their destinations. Visitor management Systems that automate the check in system, provide an advanced list of known visitors, and a list of unwanted visitors can help your officers make that check in process as easy as possible, and get them on their way quickly.
These are just some of the elements that help to make for a positive customer experience with your team. There are some self-serving benefits that result in customer experience training:
Client Satisfaction (and loyalty): Clients that see how much your officers put into their customer service skills will not only please your client, but will also keep them coming back for more of your services.
Officer Satisfaction: Increasing officer satisfaction reduces turnover. When officers are a positive force during their shift, they having more positive interactions with employees and visitors. This increases overall job satisfaction and increases employee morale.
Referral and Competitive Advantage: Word gets around; people see good officers and will want them working for their business. Additionally, demonstrating customer values during a sales pitch to new clients can only help win new contracts.
There is so much value to customer experience training and processes for security that having it embedded into your operations can really take your firm to the next level.
In our Customer Experience webinar, we'll cover a number of these topics and more, so be sure to check it out. Whatever industry you serve, there is no denying that customer experience matters. Good customer experience will help you retain officers and clients, and you gain new officers and clients.