“It is estimated that we walk through up to 150 doors each day. And protecting many of these entrances will be a security guard, who can make, or break, that all-important first impression of a building or business.”
In his fifth blog for Infologue.com, John Briggs from First Security takes a look at the role guards have to play in supporting the corporate image; protecting not only a company’s assets, but its brand too.
“I discussed the concept of first impressions in one of my previous blogs, ‘Striking the Right Balance’, where I looked at ways clients can secure their premises properly while still maintaining a welcoming environment.
“Of course, not every company wants to create the same environment. To use a few clichéd examples, a banking institution may want to portray a professional, trustworthy approach whereas an Internet service agency may want to come across as fresh, fun and intelligent.
“In this context, ‘brand’ isn’t simply about the colour on the walls, the right foyer carpet or the best company logo. It’s about what the building feels like to a visitor – and this is where the security guard can play a vital role as the first, positive impression the customer receives when they enter a building.
“But how can the security guard create an impression that will last – for all the right reasons?
Embed the culture
“Security guards will be better equipped to deliver a positive brand image when they fully understand the company culture.
“Instilling a sense that the guard works for the client and is therefore treated as a colleague, not as simply a service supplier is a critical part of this process. In practice, this can be hard to achieve, especially on sites where you expect to have a high turnover of staff.
“One way to overcome this is to detail a defined set of behaviours that are consistent with the brand, which the outsourced security company can then build in to its induction and training process. So this may be something as simple as referring to customers by their first name only, opening the door or gate for them, directing them to a car parking space and so on.
Understand the zone
“It is also worth categorising the people entering an organisation’s building, such as staff, visitors and suppliers as it is likely that there will be a pattern and trends to the routes they take through the premises.
“For instance, a visitor may only experience the gatehouse, reception and conference room whereas a staff member would come straight through the gatehouse to their office area.
“In this way, the security solution can be aligned to different zones and the appropriate service delivered to suit expectations. Attention can then be paid to the detail; if a visitor is expected preparations can be made in advance, such as having the security pass ready and a car parking space reserved; if a large delivery is due, the driveway can be kept clear to enable easy access.
Strike a balance
“It should never be forgotten that a security guard is employed to fulfil a specific function – to protect a building and the people that use it. In this respect, the best guards will perform a dual role – providing the welcoming and helpful initial point of contact alongside the ability to discern and react to any potential security concerns posed by visitors.
“While much of this will be down to the specific attitude and behaviour of individual guards, training plays a vital role in aiding and developing this skill.
Work in partnership
“A partnership is a two-way relationship, so as well as an organisation sharing its values and brand principles, a security firm can share its expertise to create synergy and ensure that security and the corporate image correlate.
“Creating the right perception can be very simple. Undoing the wrong customer experience can be much harder. Maybe it’s time to recognise the security guard’s very real role in protecting the brand.”