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Deliver security and customer experience

Optimum guest services include problem solving, clear communication, empathy, service knowledge, business acumen and time management as well as a cheery reception. For the right person, this level of customer service comes as a second nature. For someone who always delivers excellence in everything they do, and has a higher level of attention to detail, SIA security training would be easily embraced resulting in the best-in-class security and customer experience combined.

Businesses shouldn’t need to choose between quality front-of-house guest services and security. A concierge experience with a security mindset built is the solution. In this article, Jose Saez, pictured, security project manager at Portico Safe says personality is everything when recruiting for a security officer to elevate customer experience.

We live in a world where experience is becoming one of if not the most important factor behind an impression of a company – be that as a customer or an employee. Consumers are now viewing customer experience as the key brand differentiator ahead of price and product according to research carried out last year. Meanwhile, studies by Gartner show that employers who improve the way the employee experience feels can lead to a boost in engagement and support a positive company culture.

That experience, in many cases, begins when employees or visitors first enter a building, making the role of the security officer important on multiple levels. This is all the more critical given the added dynamic created by the pandemic.

COVID-19 has accelerated the need to provide a front of house service that marries the best of security and guest experience together. As organisations bring their staff back into the workplace, creating a safe and welcoming environment is essential if this transition is to be successful and lasting. Security officers will often be the first point of contact, be it to carry out bag checks, sign-ins or COVID-19 safety measures such as temperature checks and ensuring one-way systems are followed.

Personality is everything

To ensure visitors and occupants are left with a positive first impression, front of house security services should offer situational solutions, clear communication, empathy, service knowledge, business acumen and time management, as well as a cheery welcome.

This is what we look for in our security guards as part of our recently launched Portico Safe service. It represents a new breed of security offering designed to either complement existing front of house services or become the singular point of welcome.

To provision the service as effectively as possible, personality has become the primary factor when it comes to recruitment decisions. For appropriate candidates, delivering the required level of customer service and guest experience will come as a second nature.

Combine this with a high level of attention to detail as well as a track record for pursuing excellence in everything they do, and SIA security training should be easily embraced, helping to empower employees in providing a dual-purpose service of best-in-class security and customer experience.

What to look for

By adopting this approach to recruitment and development, businesses need not have to choose between security and a first-rate guest experience. Our experience has shown that finding people with the right personality is both the first and most critical component of creating a successful blend of security protocol and service.

So, what is it we look for in our existing and prospective employees?

While there is no neatly boxed personality type, and nor should there be, we find the people best suited to this role are welcoming, hospitable and enjoy others’ company. We also look for individuals who express confidence and empathy in communication and are proactive team players. What organisations should also do is align their interview processes with company values to ensure the personalities hired reflect their brand as truly as possible.

Last year, we completed a project which saw us review and update our values – an endeavour we felt was important in light of how much our business and sector has changed over recent times. What became clear is that we are first and foremost a people business, and three consistent themes emerged that form our new values.

The first, love, encapsulates a culture that empowers our people to flourish by adding their own unique personality into the heart of the service they deliver to our clients and their colleagues.

Immersive, our second value, is all about understanding the individuality of our clients to enable us, including our security officers, to become custodians of their brand. Third, and what underpins our approach to security, is experience – ultimately, Portico’s purpose is to make a difference through the experiences provided by our people.

These values are helping to shape our interview forms and recruitment processes, and organisations seeking to adopt an experience-led front of house security service should also ensure their values and hiring procedures are aligned.

My final piece of advice is for managers. While it is critical to ensure the personalities in your organisation enable you to elevate the guest experience, it is even more important that decision makers know their employees. In the security context, it is essential that the right employees are matched with the right clients.

Is the building busy or quiet? What messages and impressions does the client want to give when guests or employees arrive at their buildings? Are the people using the building appreciative of a chatty front of house host? These are all questions that a manager should be able to answer. Indeed, only by knowing the individuals inside your security teams can the correct deployment calls be made.

About the firm

Portico Safe is based in London WC1; visit


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