The Journey never ends
Despite what most people, accountants, c-suite, & many security people, 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 the labor part of customer service is in the training and the field supervisory follow-up, which is, by its nature, mandatory.
The biggest part of teaching customer service to your security staff is this; ‘Customer service is not a destination but a journey. And the journey is never completed’. You are always on that road to improving your customer service skills. And the road blocks and obstacles to overcome are never ending, which is what makes the journey so difficult to stay on course and accomplish.
Once you’ve decided to undertake this journey, then it is the officers who have to buy into the idea of providing exceptional customer service which includes their security duties. But, believe it or not, and most people won’t, providing excellent security service and customer service go hand-in-hand. It falls within the purview of providing great service to the customers.
It doesn’t matter whether you get it, whatever it may be, right the 2nd time or not, what’s important, especially in security, is to do it right the first time. The second time may be too late to save someone’s life or the property, & yourself from humiliation and embarrassment.
One item that people are surprised at is when I talk about their internal customers and the 5 sets of customers they serve on a daily basis. 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 and they say ah!-ha. Those customers are:
- The client/company
- . Their employees
- . co-workers
- . Vendors/visitors
- . Yourself
Another item that I’ve utilized 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 get disgruntled, upset, things are not fixed, the company cuts costs, get a little lax, & 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 & their own performance.
The final aspect of the clock is that it should constantly be at a quarter till phase. This means that customer service isn’t perfect, which it never will be, and they still have to improve on their performance.
A comment I frequently get, “I’m there to protect the client/company’s assets, not to be liked or treat employees with kid gloves”. My answer 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 even if they didn’t before.
Unfortunately, except for the ones who are willing to change, I usually only get a guffaw. But I can guarantee you that utilizing exceptional customer service within your security duties works in your favor, if not immediately then eventually as long as you stay on target and don’t slide into ‘just this once’. Once you do that, you’re done for.
By staying on target and utilizing customer service 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. 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 or window dressing. 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 management role to instruct selective judgement to their officers.
I’ve had officers use customer service to their advantage and others who quit shortly after they were taught, because they didn’t want anything extra added to their already ‘overwhelming’ duties. But is usually their loss of a job not the company’s loss of the account.
Remember what I said above and take it to heart. Customer service is not a destination but a journey. And the journey is never completed. You are always on the path to improve your skills, it’s never perfect. And from a pervious post I will remind you that The best isn’t and good enough never is.
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, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear