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There are security companies and there are security companies. Sometimes we do not hire right because of a number of factors. Sometimes we are carried away by the fancies and blindfolded by aesthetics and technology. Let’s face it, that’s not the point, that should not be, and that’s not what to look out for in selecting the right security company for your business.

Expensive communication gadgets, large fleet of security vans, well tailored security uniforms are all helpful but they do not guarantee efficiency. Does your company have a feedback system whereby you can measure customer experience with security men manning posts at the banks, eateries, malls, airports, office blocks, homes and so on? If your answer is No, then I will advise that you begin to look inwards. You may be gradually losing patronage in your business as a result of bad treatment meted to your customers by security men at your gates. Some aggrieved customers will simply work away and you may never know the reason because they will not complain.

Reacting to a bad experience with a security man, I received this text message from a Vanguard reader “Security men are a pain to customers. Are customers beggars? Do management know what they are putting customers through? Please make them understand that they are denting the image of organisations”.

Recently, Mary shared her own experience with the security men in charge of the office building where she has her law practice. She closed early on a certain Friday in order to meet up an appointment. Her secretary who had been complaining of ulcer pains hurriedly closed at 5pm to enable her see a doctor. Unknown to them, that same Friday, the estate manager scheduled a team of janitors to fumigate the building. Although the law office was locked, the secretary inadvertently left a window open while rushing out to see her doctor.

The training, psychology, orientation and perception of the security team manning the building was soon put to test. Rather than persuade the janitors to schedule another visit to fumigate the law office, the security men reported that a window had been left open at the law office.

The janitors fumigated the office through the open window. Incredible, I must say. It is unimaginable that a team of security officers can throw safety and cautionary measures to the wind. This is a clear case of incompetence and error of judgement. How could they expose the security lapses at the building they are paid to guard? Egunje may be a contributing factor. You never know. Times are hard. What then should companies do to ensure they hire the right security company?

Investment in training is key. Your security team needs training, training and continuous training. If you leave your business to chance, you don’t stand a chance. Security men should be trained continuously. Some companies do not realise the importance of training their staff until they begin to incur losses by way of customer defection. Security personnel should be trained to be customer friendly without undermining security, to be patient with customers, show respect, be courteous, and be welcoming in a professional manner.

I also recommend that basic education for security personnel should be at least a secondary school certificate supported by training. With a school certificate, they are expected to be able to articulate properly and make informed decisions.

I have personally seen adverts for security officers placed on wooden plaques on the high street without educational qualification stated or reference needed. When you hire cheap, your hires will deliver cheap service in your company name and by the time you realise the extent of damage done to your company, your client would have engaged your competitor for better service. The cost of getting a replacement or regaining the lost business is always very high.

Check out all references and previous work done and claimed. This will save you from engaging a “thief” within. When the “thieves” are in-house, their conspiracy is hard to discover. Ensure due diligence.

Spot checks are also necessary to ensure that duty posts are properly manned all the time. An inexperienced security officer may be lured into leaving his duty post by a friend or colleague with dubious intention. Even a one minute absence at the post may result in the disappearance of a laptop or cell phone put under your watch. Do not trust people who are not well known to you.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.