Providing Customer Service
I read this article recently that was written several years ago by Dan Walker, a Criminal Justice major in an upstate University. It speaks volumes and is relevant to our mission at TriCorps. Enjoy-
The Role of Security in Providing Customer Service
It is important to understand that the only reason a company is in business is because of the customers that the company serves. Customer Service is a service that is provided to customers by the employees and security officers of a business. The security force must be made up of individuals who are capable of not only protecting the assets of the company, but also being sales representatives who come to work with the understanding that they are representing the company through their actions and appearance. In order to do this, several measures and steps must be taken to ensure that customers are receiving the best service possible from the security officers that are protecting the facility, the employees and the customers who are shopping or using the services provided by the company.
The reputation of a security department is put on the line every time a customer has contact with one of the officers. “You many never have a second chance to make a first impression” is a common saying. Physical appearance is one of the most important aspects of customer service. In most cases people will see an officer before they hear them. Regardless of how well they speak or how good they are at solving a crisis, if they do not look professional the opinion a customer may have of an officer will greatly diminish because of the way they look. “Dress for success” is an old saying that is still sound advice for security officers.
The way officers present themselves is very important because they are representing management and the company. Officers should be neat. This means:
- Shirt tucked in and pressed.
- Shoes tied and polished.
- Hair well groomed.
- Clean shaven.
- Duty belt and equipment positioned correctly.
- All equipment is working and located in the proper place.
Officers must be clean. This means clean and pressed clothing, hands washed and fingernails trimmed and clean. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum (a watch should always be worn), only light makeup and not a lot of cologne or perfume. Officers should follow the saying “less is more.”
The equipment worn by officers can be just as important as what they wear. When conducting patrols officers need to be prepared for a variety of different situations. Obviously ensure your firearm and retention style holster are clean and operable and are of sound design and quality, do not ever money skimp in this area. The communications equipment issued to officers can be vital to their safety therefore must be maintained and always in proper working order. Other equipment that every officer must carry is:
Pens. More than one pen should be carried in case one is loaned to someone or one doesn’t work.
Notepad. A notepad needs to be used in order to write field notes. In the security field notes should be an accurate method of what an officer observed, did and heard. The written word is an important “tool of the trade,” reports of events can be utilized by others who did not witness what happened.
Flashlight. A flashlight is important in case of power outages or if an officer can’t see very well in a certain dark area that they are assigned to patrol. A flashlight can also serve as a sort of magnifying glass for closely examining locks, windows and other parts of the environment for signs of tampering. Tampering could indicate an intrusion attempt or the planting of a destructive device.
Handcuffs and handcuff key to secure an individual subsequent to a lawful arrest or detainment. A properly secured arrestee prevents injuries and escapes.
In a recent survey of a large customer base in the United States, female shoppers were asked why they shop at one place compared to the other. The number one reason was safety. If a customer does not feel safe in the store in which they are shopping they will shop somewhere else. In order to make customers feel safe, security should be seen as approachable and always present. A surveillance system is helpful in catching shoplifters and employees who are stealing, but at the same time it can also promote customers confidence which will make the customer want to come back. Surveillance systems should be visible. Customers should know that they are being watched, not only to stop them from steeling, but also to make them feel safe. Crime deterrence should be integrated with customer relations whenever possible. Visible surveillance systems are one way of doing this.
Being a good listener is very important when communicating even if the officer does not agree with or like what the customer is telling them. Angry people can be the most difficult customers to handle because something has made them mad obviously and they see it as the officer’s duty to fix the problem for them. When listening to a customer the protection officer should concentrate on what is being said so they can understand where the customer is coming from. During a conversation an officer must treat the customer with respect. The Role of Security in Providing Customer Service means not interrupting, not looking away, not putting words in the customer’s mouth and not answering questions with questions.
Our next TriCorps training day will be held on Monday, August 10th in Chandler. We have had two great training sessions so far this year with good participation. Make sure you sign up and get out to train with us. I promise it is worth your time!!