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Help clients measure

Mark Folmer, vice president, security industry at Tracktik, a North American provider of workforce management software, offers seven tips on how improving your guard force management can create value.

Years ago, the regional president of the security guard business I worked for announced a visit to our office. We jumped at the chance to have him attend one of our transition meetings with this new client.

In his opening remarks, he told our new client how we would make mistakes. In fact, we would likely make various mistakes. I did not gasp out loud but it was close! He continued, saying that what matters is how we react, what controls we put in place to avoid human resource issues, and the QA measures we adopt to drive our success — my heart rate came back to normal! The security guard business is based on people — and like it or not — we all make mistakes. But there are things we can do to deliver better service.

Your clients spend a lot of money on security services — often the biggest expenditure of their security program. Thankfully, more and more often (but still not fast enough for me), clients are not settling for the status quo. Both you, as a business owner or manager, and they as a client should expect more — in short, it is no longer OK to settle for mediocrity!

As I type this, I can hear the “Yeah, buts”: “The margins are so low — what do people expect?” And “We have so much turnover, how can we keep training people?” I admit I am a glass-half-full kind of person, so I maintain that if you accept these two objections (and there are more), you are doing so by choice. You actually have other options.

In fact, when we take Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) into account, that management model reminds us that we should shift our view from security as a cost to security as a way of creating value.

1) Define yourself at the business level.

You can choose to play in a low-margin environment or you can tailor high-end services. Once you choose, stick to the plan, and consider your choices as strategic.

2) Never forget you are in a service business

People deliver service, and good service is often supported by good technology.

3) Invest in training

Since security is a skill and requires knowledge, investing in training is critical. At least two types of training are necessary: pre-assignment and site-specific. In markets where basic security training is a condition to licensing, pre-assignment training should focus on company processes as well as the key areas of basic training. Site-specific training should line up exactly with client expectations.

4) Find and retain good people

Selecting and screening new staff should be a painless process for employee and employer alike. Automating the process is always a great idea. Once selected, your employees wear your uniform. They represent you and your client. When they leave the first impression, it must be a positive one.

5) Support retention with good technology

Enabling supervision with technology allows you to be much more efficient and to track results and drive retention.

6) Keep the paperwork flowing smoothly

Do not let tardy or inaccurate paperwork tarnish a good business relationship. So make sure your contracting and invoicing paperwork is efficiently handled. Your systems should require you to enter data only once.

7) Help clients measure what is important to them

Clients have expectations. Ask what they are, understand them, and agree to a scope! Get insight into your clients’ overall business objectives, and help your clients meet their internal measures. Once the measures are defined, adopt a service level agreement and report on agreed-to metrics and KPIs. Do this regularly and avoid unpleasant surprises. Here are a few examples of KPIs: number of patrols executed, incidents resolved, individuals screened, visits by manager/supervisor, shifts delivered vs. open posts, etc.

Ultimately, challenge the status quo. Don’t settle for the same old input and thus the same old results. Dare to be better, blow your client’s mind, and thus drive retention. Secure in such forward-thinking service, your clients will be transformed into passionate promoters of your company and breathtaking force multipliers of your success.


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