As a security guard agency in today’s competitive marketplace, it is essential to take advantage of every opportunity to build your brand and leverage every efficiency. That is especially true when it comes to using the latest in technology. With the advent of inexpensive smartphones, it is now possible to place these mini-computers in the hands of every employee and security officer. The possibilities of what you can accomplish using this type of technology are endless. So as a security guard vendor where should you start? To get you going on this journey we have outlined 10 apps that every security guard agency should be using.
For Corporate Staff and Security Guard Supervisors
- Evernote – If you are in the business of supplying security guard services, you probably have more than 1 person on your team that would benefit from Evernote. Evernote is an easy to use app that helps you remember everything. Evernote allows you to take notes at client meetings, take pictures on walk-throughs, and quickly record the address of that property with the sloppy guard you saw – all while keeping everything searchable. It does all of this and synchronizes the information across all your mobile devices and computers. Available: Apple, Android, Windows. Price: Free.
- Notability – If you are looking for a way to transition away from all those paper note pads, Notability is the app for you. Notability allows you to take handwritten or typed notes for client or internal meeting and annotate any PDF contracts that you might have. Notability makes it incredibly easy to organize and sync your notes to Dropbox for access anywhere. Available: Apple iPad. Price: $1.99.
- Dropbox – Ever get tired of moving proposals and contracts from one computer to another? Well Dropbox helps eliminate that problem. Dropbox allows you to effortlessly synchronize files across mobile devices, laptops, and desktops. It is easy to install and also supports file sharing. Available: Apple, Android, Windows. Price: Free.
- SalesForce.com Mobile – If you are not already using Salesforce.com feel free to skip to the next section…or take this opportunity to look at the best CRM that I’ve seen for security guard vendors. If you’re using SalesForce.com, then the mobile app will just enhance the SalesForce.com magic. Enough said… Available: Apple, Android, Windows. Price: Free.
For Security Guards
- OfficerReports.com – OfficerReports.com provides security guard vendors with a simple way to make their guards more efficient. OfficerReports.com does this by eliminating paper security guard reports through use of its Security Guard Reporting App. The app contains Daily Activity Report Software, Incident Report Software, Post Order Software and much more. To see just how effective this software is at reducing cost and strengthening your client relationship, sign up for a FREE 30 day trial. Available: Apple, Android. Price: Free 30 day trial.
- CPR & Choking – This app was developed by leading physicians and educators and serves as a great refresher for any security guards that you have that are CPR certified. The app features videos that cover both proper application of CPR techniques as well as assisting someone who is choking. Available: Apple. Price: Free.
- iTrack – Interested in GPS tracking your security guards’ smartphones? If so, take a look at iTrack. iTrack allows you to track multiple security guards, watch the speed at which they travel, and view a street level picture of their location. iTrack also allows you to see the last 6 hours of their location history for auditing purposes. Available: Apple, Android. Price: Free.
For Your Clients
If you want some kudos from your clients, or if you’re looking to bring some added value to that relationship, introduce them to these great apps.
- Life360 – Life360 provides several really cool features all in one app. Using Life360 your clients can GPS track family members, receive arrival notifications when kids get home, send panic alerts, and get a map of sex offenders in their neighborhoods. Available: Apple, Android, Blackberry. Price: Free.
- Nixle – Depending on the area that your clients live in, Nixle will allow their municipal agencies, including law enforcement and fire departments, to send them alerts and advisories in real time. These alerts can range from road closures to emergency notifications and Amber Alerts. Available: Apple, Android, Windows. Price: Free.
- Guardly – The Guardly app provides your clients with a means to transform their smart phones into personal emergency phones. When the app is launched, Guardly will transmit the users real-time GPS location and give them 2-way communication with their personal safety network, first responders, or your security guards simultaneously. This app is great for people working late as well as for students. Available: Apple, Android, Blackberry, Windows 7. Price: Free.
Although this list is not in any way comprehensive, we felt that it was a good starting point for you to begin exploring the myriad options that are currently available.
Are there any apps that you use that you would add to this list? If so, please leave us a reply telling us what they are.
By Courtney Sparkman
As a security guard agency it is more imperative than ever to reduce customer attrition. According to a study by IBISWorld, there are more than 40,000 security guard companies in the US. Rest assured, the competition is knocking on your customers’ doors daily. With so much competition in the industry, customer loyalty is the single most important factor in your business. So how do you make sure that your clients stay your clients? Wow them.
For an example of what Wowing your customers is, let’s consider the housekeepers at Walt Disney World. Their jobs can’t be easy, in fact cleaning up after people on a Disney vacation is probably pretty challenging. Even with that being the case, the housekeepers will do little things that make guests say, “Wow.” For example, while the guests are out with their children in the Magic Kingdom, the children will often leave their stuffed Disney characters in their hotel rooms. Often times, the housekeepers will position the stuffed toys with playing cards in their hands to create a moment of magic for the children.
Although the Wow factor has been around for a while (The Pursuit of WOW!, 1994), few security guard companies understand the meaning or value of Wowing their clients. So fortunately for you, Wow is still a rare enough experience in the security guard industry that you can use it as a huge differentiator. Use Wow to create high levels of loyalty with your clients.
5 Security Guard Agency Wow Principles
Here are 5 principles that any security guard company can use to achieve the Wow factor for their customers.
- Go the extra mile with customer service – Many security guard companies think that price is the reason that many customers leave. But according to a study performed by the Rockefeller Corporation, 68% of customers leave because of poor customer service. Because customer service is so crucial, you must treat every customer interaction as an opportunity to build your brand. Make sure that your customers always walk away with a positive view of your company after every conversation.
- Never forget to innovate – Listen when your customers make suggestions, or even when they complain. Use each instance to extract an idea that will lead to something great. For instance, if your customers complain about your security guards’ reports, consider investing in daily activity report software. If they mention training, consider upgrading your training curriculum.
- Always be honest – I haven’t met a client yet that likes being lied to. When you maintain an open and honest dialogue, even in the most difficult situations, your customers learn to trust you. Unlike price, the trust that you build through honest communication is something that your competitors can’t match.
- Advocate for your customer – Ensure that you have personnel outside of your operations department who can be true customer advocates within your organization. Customer advocates are crucial when concerns arise that your clients are not confident in raising with your operations department. Having this secondary reporting structure helps build confidence with your customers that their concerns will always be addressed.
- Get to know your customer – Find out as much as you can about your customers and the challenges that they face. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more you know and understand about them and their needs, the more of an asset you become.
As a security guard vendor you must always remember that customers drive your business. If your customers are Wowed, feel respected, and are honored they tend to stay your customers for a long time. But most importantly, they also become the best salesmen for your company.
How do you WOW your customers? Is there something that you would add to the list? Please leave a comment below.
By Courtney Sparkman
In a previous post we talked about using a lead generation company to source new leads for your security guard company. If you missed that post you can find it here. As part of that post we suggested that the agency should have 4 objectives when contacting your list of potential customers:
- Confirm that security guards are used on the property.
- Confirm the responsible party’s contact name and email.
- Confirm the dates that the contract ends.
- Determine who the current vendor is.
So after you have that information, what then? Well for starters, how about starting an email marketing campaign for all those valuable email adresses. Although many companies are familiar with and use direct mail, studies have shown that email marketing campaigns are less costly and provide comparable results.
Benefits of Email Marketing for a Security Guard Company
When considering whether or not you should undertake email marketing, here are several benefits that you should consider.
- Email marketing allows you to maximize your marketing ROI – Email marketing is up to 20x more cost effective than some of the other traditional media sources.
- Helps increase prospect awareness – For just a few pennies your email can drive traffic to your website and increase brand awareness with your prospects.
- Improved tracking and feedback – When using an email marketing services, like Constant Contact or Mailchimp, your emails can be tracked so that you can see who clicked which links within your email.
As a security guard company your sales and marketing department are probably tasked with two dozen projects and adding email marketing might seem like a stretch. Fortunately, companies like Constant Contact and MailChimp provide an email feature know as an “Autoresponder” that makes email marketing much easier.
Create, Add Email Addresses, Move On
An autoresponder is just a series of emails that you setup that get sent to a list of email addresses in the order and at the times that you decide.
For example, let’s say you have 40 different prospects that you would like to send a series of 12 emails about your company. The autoresponder will send those emails according to the order and at the times that you specify…without you having to do much work. With autoresponders you just create the emails, add the prospects’ emails, then move on and let the autoresponder do the work.
Autoresponders are a GREAT tool for the sales or marketing department for any security guard company. I have been using them personally for years and they are well worth the money. We will discuss the actual content of your email campaign in a separate post. But in the meantime, if you are a security guard company are you currently running an ongoing email campaign? Are you using an autoresponder as part of that campaign? If not, please let us know in the comments if you will be starting…
By Courtney Sparkman
Have you ever tried to summarize in a very succinct way why your clients or prospects should use your services rather than taking their security in-house? Or have you faced the task of outlining the benefits of your service in marketing collateral? Even if you haven’t, I know that in the past that I have. So here is a short list that does a great job of enumerating those reasons.
6 Reasons Companies Use Contract Security Officers
- Contract Security Officers Allow Companies To Improve Company Focus – Companies that outsource the security function can concentrate their limited resources on their core function. By allowing an outside expert to control these duties those companies can concentrate on meeting their customers needs.
- Contract Security Officers Allow Companies To Gain Access to World Class Capabilities – Contract security vendors make extensive investments in methodologies, technology such as daily activity report software, and people as a result of lessons learned from facing similar challenges across numerous clients. This investment helps reduce your client’s investment in technology, training, etc.
- Contract Security Officers Allow Companies To Accelerate the Benefits of Process Redesign – The need to attain efficiencies across all areas of operations is a challenge in all companies. In a company whose core function is not security, the systems and process that make up the security function can be become less efficient and less productive. This usually happens as a result of being placed on the back-burner as your client faces other challenges. By outsourcing this function, the security vendor can speed the benefits of process redesign.
- Contract Security Officers Allow Companies To Share Risks – By outsourcing the security function, your clients effectively spreads the risk associated with operating a security team with you, the vendor.
- Contract Security Officers Allow Companies To Free Resources for other Purposes – Outsourcing the security function permits the client company to redirect its resources, most often people, from non-core activities to activities focused on serving their customers.
- Contract Security Officers Allow Companies To Reduce or Control Operating Costs – Because a security contractor focuses on providing security guard service, they typically have a lower cost structure due to economies of scale. Those reduced costs allow your clients to focus on activities that increase their competitive advantage.
I have found this list to come in handy from time to time and thought it would be good to share. For more on why companies contract security officers read “Outsourcing Security: A Guide For Contracting Services.”
Are there other reasons that should be included on this list? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us what they are.
By Courtney Sparkman
Daily Activity Report Software
As a security agency you know how critical it is to supply your clients with good security officer daily activity reports. You also probably know that there are many benefits to using web based daily activity report software. Some of those benefits include: elimination of illegible reports due to poor handwriting; real time access to reports for clients; and the ability to easily archive and review reports. But if your security guards are submitting bad information, it makes those benefits less relevant…Garbage In – Garbage Out (GIGO).
With Daily Activity Report Software Avoid GIGO
When using web based daily activity report software, your clients are much more likely to regularly access this information. As a result, you should use this opportunity to showcase the great service that your officers are providing. But be aware that some security officers don’t include enough details in their daily activity reports. In many of these cases, officers aren’t sure what or how things should be documented. So here are some general rules of thumb for writing good daily activity reports:
- There is never such thing as too much detail – Whether you are using daily activity report software or paper, officers should try to leave no lines unused.
- Be as descriptive as possible – When security officers are describing something or someone, they should be as descriptive as possible. Being descriptive gives the reader a better understanding of the situation.
- Include an accurate detail of the duties or tasks that are completed – If your officers are responsible for checking something specific, for example locked doors, ensure that they document it.
- Document the people that are encountered – When officers document people that they see, your client will know that your officers are engaged and attentive.
- Record information about vehicles – At times when security officers are in need of content for their reports, vehicle information is always easy to add. Record the make, model, and license plate of vehicles that make it into daily activity reports.
- Most importantly don’t be repetitive – “All secure” is OK, but seeing that eight times in a row on a report begins to make the client wonder. Officers can break up the repetition by giving specifics: “All exterior doors checked secure, all outside lights working…” or “All fifth floor offices locked, all light are off, all OK.”
Here is a great presentation that covers many aspects of security officer procedures which includes a section on report writing starting on slide 31.
If you are a security agency that is providing access to your reports via daily activity report software like OfficerReports.com, it is critical that your officers understand how important this activity is. Take the time to read your officers’ reports and offer coaching and training as necessary. In the end, better reports make for better clients.
How do you train your security officers to write reports? Do you think that your clients value good reporting from your officers? We would love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below.
By Courtney Sparkman