The 5 groups of People you represent
. Typically, the first person a visitor will encounter when entering a building is a security officer. To that person you are the company. Therefore, because of that you are representing five sets of people when you greet a visitor.
The client or company
If you are working in the contract industry, you as a security officer are representing the client you work for. I have seen and heard many examples of a potential client walking into facility staffed by security officers whose company was bidding for the potential client. Remember what they say about first appearances?
Some potential clients were immediately turned off by a surly, unkempt and unknowledgeable security ‘guard’, not officer. Therefore their business went to a competitor. On the other hand, some clients have been so impressed with the professionalism and demeanor of the officer; they decided to give the bid to their company.
A colleague of mine at First Response, Inc. of Mission KS. Was responsible for gaining a corporate account for us because of his actions, professionalism, demeanor, & customer service skills.
The potential client walked into an office building for a meeting. The officer instructed the man to the office which was through a myriad of twisting turning hallways & doors. The officer assisted him and guided him through the maze to the right office.
Whether you work for a department or a contract agency, you are representing your company. Visitors, especially those on company business the c-suite, want to see a smiling, happy, professional sitting the front desk or other entrance. They want someone who is knowledgeable and can assist them in any way possible. When they see that, they will think that this company really cares about the safety, security, and comfort of their employees, clients, and visitors.
Company/ Client employees
Again, first impressions make lasting impressions. For the most part company visitors & employees will see you as an extension , enforcement arm, of the management. They may not even see the patch identifying your company, if you’re a contracted officer.
Seeing a sloppy, inattentive, unknowledgeable person sitting at the entrance of the building or patrolling the grounds, may make the visitor believe that the entire operation is just as uncaring. Which means lost revenue and fewer resources to do other things.
The security industry as a whole
You have seen the perception of security officers in television, movies, and print. They are generally portrayed as bumbling idiots who have no clue. Take the portrayal of security officers in the movies Armed & Dangerous or Mall Cop.
The ineptness that was shown of officers in those movies doesn’t improve the perception that many people already have of security.
You carry the weight of the 2 million security officers in the United States on your shoulders every time you put on your uniform. Movies, books, television, & other media all have the same portrayal of officers. We are the ones that have been mostly stigmatized by it.
Lastly you represent yourself. Yes, every time someone sees you, they form an opinion of you as well. What impression will they leave with? Will they be left with the impression that you are a competent & a professional officer? Or will they leave shaking their head that someone like you is protecting the property & lives of employees and that the company actually hired someone like you?
In 1983 when I started in the business I worked for Peachtree Doors & Windows in St. Joseph, MO. The Corporate Personnel Manager gave me a glowing recommendation letter stating that I had it all together and knew what I was doing and knew how to do it right.
He stated that I was a good example of what an officer should be. It was my job performance that pushed the client to go corporate with Wells Fargo Guard Services (now Securitas) at all 3 manufacturing plants & the corporate office. Wouldn’t you like to have that on your resume?
I’ve used the word sloppy in here several times. That is the perception that someone gets from an officer,, who does all of the other things wrong. If they are inattentive, sleepy, more interested in their phones than you, and kicked back in a chair most people will consider them sloppy.
Then of course there is the traditional sloppy. The kind of sloppy where you can tell that they have just finished eating chili or sloppy joes for lunch. And of course we won’t mention the untucked shirt, unkempt hair, beard growth, baggy pants and…
The days of the watchman, or guard, where you look sloppy, inept, unwilling to help & sleepy are long gone. The idea that you are just plain inept, unwilling to help, sloppy, and a What the Hell Do You Want attitude must also be thrown out. Or the question becomes do you want the perception that you don’t give a damn or that you have genuine concern and professionalism?
(This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Customer Oriented Quality Service: The COQS Method, It is due out spring 2017)
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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