Tom Ward of Anabas explains how the role of security has evolved over recent years and why it is now a security officer’s responsibility to make a memorable first impression.

The face of the security industry is changing. The stereotype of a door supervisor as intimidation and deterrent is far from the reality of the integrated role that security plays in today’s organisations. Security officers are often the first point of contact for any visitor to a building. As such, they play an important role.

Studies suggest that we only have seven seconds to make a first impression. Whenever a guest enters a building, these first few moments are spent interacting with security officers, being greeted, shown into the building, or given directions. The way the officer responds to these needs determines that initial impression. The line between the security role and a front-of-house position is rapidly blurring and the skills demanded of officers are expanding to include customer service.

In London – especially in high-profile offices and headquarters – commercial buildings will see vast numbers of important visitors on a daily basis and each one of these should receive the same exceptional treatment. A visitor’s experience, from arriving at a building, throughout the day, to leaving, is the customer journey and this process is garnering greater consideration than ever. As it becomes a central part of creating an exceptional business, we must ask: how can we create an incredible end-to-end customer experience?

Technology, facilities, and aesthetics all play a role in the customer’s experience. Ultimately, however, it boils down to the staff members who create the customer experience journey and those who make the first impression in particular. The security officer is a distinct figure of authority and ideally positioned to welcome a customer to a building.

Officers must maintain the safety of an entire building, a role which is rarely straightforward and likely necessitates problem solving. A legitimate visitor to a building may not have the required pass – if their host has not yet given them


the correct documentation or the guest has misplaced it, for example - and an officer must offer polite and respectful help while observing all security protocols.

In addition, the nature and frequency of threats are changing. It may be the case that someone arrives at a site with the intention of intruding or determining whether intrusion is a possibility. The demeaner and high degree of professionalism demonstrated by a security officer is a significant deterrent in these instances. A simple ‘hello’ will reassure guests and alert the uninvited – or those who are engaging in ‘hostile reconnaissance’ - that their presence is noted.

Security professionals must perform this three-fold role – the greeter, the problem solver, and the deterrent – which should be performed in a close relationship with other front-of-house and reception staff, prioritising people skills and teamwork. Any distance or fragmentation between these roles will create an incongruous customer experience.

The customer experience journey will vary with each building. Each organisation should create a unique customer experience journey that is tailored to enhance the reputation of their business. A security officer needs to tailor their own demeanor accordingly – down to the smallest details such as whether to approach a guest to welcome them or to wait to be approached for directions if needed. The value of an officer having familiarity with a site should never be underestimated.

Finding staff that are able to maintain exceedingly high levels of professionalism, respond to rapidly changing situations, and work well with people, is no mean feat. Well-trained security officers can be the jewel in the crown of a front-of-house team. Finding these staff will ensure those few seconds your business has to make an impression really count.

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