There has long been a misconception in the private security sector that the performance of the security function is mutually exclusive to the simultaneous application of customer service. At Xiphos, we not only believe this is an incorrect perception but that one compliments the other.
One of the primary purposes of a readily identifiable security presence is to serve as a visual deterrent to crime or criminal acts. This concept conjures images perhaps of a physically imposing individual, a particular paramilitary uniform perhaps, or the “Secret Service” look of a suit, tie, and radio earpiece. While this has been demonstrably effective at making a bad actor reconsider a harmful course of action, it can be off-putting to clients or customers with no ill intent.
Broadly speaking, in the United States, the marriage of an effective security presence and pro-active customer service evolved in the retail luxury space. Where the aesthetic of the security professional deters potential crime, the customer service aspect welcomes the good faith customer. In this luxury space, entities such as the renowned jeweler Tiffany & Company, one or more security professionals are placed at the primary points of entry where the foot traffic is likely to be the most prevalent. This placement means the first and last interaction a potential customer has is not with the store staff or products but the security professional themself.
This initial interaction can have a profound impact on the potential customer, no matter the service offering of the store. Suppose the security professional applies their presence in only an “angry wallflower” way. In that case, that interaction will likely stick with the potential customer for the duration of their visit to that store and, if perceived negatively, may prevent them from purchasing something or returning to that location. Conversely, adding the customer service component can have the opposite effect on that potential buyer, make them feel more welcomed and relaxed in that environment, and more likely to encourage repeat business. This can manifest as something as simple as upon entry, a warm greeting by the security professional; “Welcome to our location. Please let me know if you have any questions about where to find something and enjoy your stay with us.” Upon the customer exiting the location, this can be; “Thank you for stopping by today. We look forward to seeing you again.”
The salutation offered by the security professional goes beyond a value add for the customer experience. A primary role of a security professional at points of ingress of a high-risk environment is to assess potential risks posed by individuals quickly. The initial interaction with the security professional allows for a few extra moments to subtly deduce if there are hallmarks of a potential threat, where a quick passing by may have allowed these risks to go unnoticed. In the security sector, creating a longer timeline in which an individual can process a situation and appropriately react to a potential threat often makes the difference for a positive or negative outcome.
The marriage of a security presence with a genuine customer service approach is effectively a “win-win.” Whether evaluating your current security provider or potentially employing one, make sure you ask about their approach to customer service in security and measure that entity not only on the aesthetic but if they match your companies culture, values, and interest in creating value for your business.