Business today is all about the ‘customer experience’, and it applies even to areas you might not expect: like manned guards. When visitors, contractors or delivery drivers arrive at an office or premises, the security guard is often the first person they see. As the saying goes, ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’, so it’s vital that the professionalism the guard conveys is the right fit with the company they’re representing.
Today’s manned guard is an extension of a company’s approach to customer services, and they reflect its corporate image. In some sites, manned guards are just as likely to be wearing a company-branded shirt, or, in some settings, they may even be dressed informally. They have to look like they belong; the image they convey is: “I am part of this company’s team”.
Most buildings need a security officer, from data centres to shopping centres, office blocks, receptions, private and public hospitals. At all times, they should have the right manner to meet and greet important visitors and, if necessary, accompany them to a waiting area, all while projecting the appropriate brand.
At Sharp Group, when we hire security guards to match our clients’ needs, we look for someone with personality, who’s positive, and a problem solver. We then match them to make sure they’re the right fit for that particular site, always in consultation with our clients who have the final say in choosing the person who gets the job.
As well as welcoming visitors or handling deliveries, the modern manned guard has a range of skills such as first aid training or manual handling. Many people might not realise that they can also do ‘fire walks’ around a building, to check that extinguishers are still in date, or that fire doors are kept closed. Often, we put guards through additional training courses to give them skills they will need in a particular setting. From an insurance point of view, the security guard can help a company to tick every box.
One of the key attributes we look for in a manned guard is emotional intelligence to assess a situation and find the right tone in their response. Sometimes it’s about saying ‘no’ to somebody without saying ‘no’. If a person arrives on site, asking for access but they’re not listed, the guard can give them a valid explanation for refusing entry, all without being confrontational or going out of their way to antagonise that person. The guard might use a phrase like “your company hasn’t notified us that you were coming,” and they can explain how the person can fix the problem by calling a manager.
At other sites, we support our guards with real-time response and monitoring as appropriate. At one client with very high-level security needs, we introduced a health and safety measure where the guards wear an SOS watches, much like a smart watch or Fitbits, that lets us monitor heart rate and pulse from our control room. If the person suffers an accident while on duty, they can communicate with our control room via the watch and we can put emergency measures in place to help them.
The cliché of a uniformed guard sitting at a desk reading the newspaper, or the physically imposing person who says ‘no’, belongs in the past. Manned guarding is a highly tailored service, and always under review with clients so we can continue adding value.
Talk to us today about your manned guarding needs.