The security function & customer service
Despite what most people, usually the bean counters and c-suite believe, providing exceptional customer service isn’t expensive or impossible, nor does it have to be, in order to be better than your competitors. And as for the labor aspect of it goes… it only applies in training and the supervisory follow-up, which is mandatory.
The biggest aspect of teaching customer service to your security staff is this simple little fact; Customer service is not a destination but a journey. And the journey is never completed. You are always on that road to get to exceptional customer service. And the road blocks and obstacles to overcome are never ending, which is what makes the journey so difficult to stay the course.
As for the officer’s effort, that is a different story. They have to put the effort into providing customer service over and above almost everything else they do at work AND other places as well. This is in addition to their security function. But, believe it or not, excellent security and customer service go hand-in-hand.
I like sayings from people who are far and away wiser than I am. One of them is from Socrates and he said;
We are what we repeatedly do
(This part is not his but I add it in because it is appropriate (
Excellence, therefore, is a habit not an act
Another saying, that isn’t quite so old, that I like to use is;
The Best isn’t and Good Enough Never Is
I don’t know where I got that one, but I’ve used it for nearly 30 years.
Another thing I tell people is this;
you have to do whatever it takes to get the job done- Right
It doesn’t matter whether you get it right the 2nd time or not, what’s important, especially in security, is to do it right the first time. The second time around may be too late.
One item they are surprised at is when I talk about their internal customers and the 5 sets of customers they serve on a daily basis. Regular security officers are often surprised that they have to deal with 5 different sets every day. When I ask this question, I rarely get more than 2 or 3 answers that are right, and never all of the5. And when I do tell them, the light bulb goes on.
one of the other items that I teach, in my COQS workshops, is the clock. I show them, figuratively, a clock face. I start by telling them that customer service is at noon. But then as they, and their co-workers, get disgruntled, upset, things are not fixed, the company cuts costs, and etc. the clock winds down to the bottom. The employee then starts complaining, sometimes rightfully so, as the clock winds back to the top, and it all starts all over again! The purpose of this clock is to show them how they are dependent on each other, and themselves, for customer service and their own jobs.
Another question I get from security people many times is simple enough. I’m there to protect the client/company’s property, not to be liked or treat some of those idiots with kid gloves. My simple answer back to them is ‘What does it hurt to treat them with exceptional customer service? If you’ve done your job, they won’t try to get anything over on you and they’ll respect you even more’
Unfortunately, I usually only get a guffaw and a totally disbelieving look from them. But I can guarantee you that utilizing customer service within the security function works in your favor, if not immediately then eventually as long as you stay on target.
And by staying on target and utilizing customer service within the security function you can learn many things about what happens within the facility that you probably wouldn’t otherwise. Until it was too late to do anything about it. Whether it be WPV, fraud, theft, time theft (yes this can be a major problem), or any other major crime or rule breaking by employees. And the feeling that will come over you for being trusted enough…
Customer service is one of those aspects of security that is rarely trained, unless you’re a ‘receptionist and window dressing’ for the client or company. ALL officers need to know the finer points of customer service, no matter where they are posted. Then it is up to them to learn the selective judgement in when to use a gruff authoritative tone or a much lower key approach. And that is the manager’s job to teach that selective judgement, if it’s not already known to the officer.
I’ve been using and teaching customer service in security for nearly 30 years. Have I never been wrong and treated a customer/client (internal & external), or a vendor badly? Of course I have! But I never try to and always attempt to correct the problem if I did.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/oneistoomany, here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues.