How to Elevate Your Security Guard Service

If your security enterprise offers security guard service, consider how you can elevate their ability to deliver on enhanced services.

It was a stormy night long ago in a far away land, past midnight, when suddenly a shrieking sound let loose and a bright light appeared. I jumped up and started to run … toward the light and shrieking noise. Was it my Marine training to run toward trouble?

Actually it was 3 a.m. and I was working as an Alarm Service Investigator (ASI) in the Youngstown, Ohio, ADT central station.

ADT had runner service since its inception but added the ASI position as an armed resource with limited police powers. An ASI had technical repair skills for burglar alarm systems for customers who wanted a higher level of service response … spelled ASI, or in today’s terms, higher RMR.

This service ended decades ago when consolidation of local central stations was driven by changes in transmission technologies. Customers where I worked were heartbroken that we stopped delivering this high level of service and personal attention to what they cared about most, their businesses.

Capturing perpetrators who broke into protected buildings prior to the police arriving was exciting, financially rewarding and a bit dangerous as Youngstown had a reputation of being a bit rough n’ tumble.

By rewarding, I mean that ADT offered a capture award of $15 per head in 1977! This was roughly five times my hourly wage! Captures reinforced the value of the ADT brand and service levels we provided. How do your customers today value your security services?

If your security enterprise offers security guard service, consider how you can elevate their ability to deliver on enhanced services by leveraging your system integration teams to differentiate your company. Now, there are admittedly some challenges you may face.

  • The guard and systems integration teams are separate and in different divisions.
  • They have different leadership, business models and compensation goals.
  • They have their own customers and may not want to share those relationships.
  • The training curve is way too steep in technology to train our guard teams.
  • This will require collaboration, team selling and new enhanced post orders … oh my!

With so many challenges to overcome, why not just let your sleeping dogs lie? Why not just go with some improved earnings with blended margin performance? Well, probably because your competitors are already rethinking their business strategies, enhancing service offerings and selling above their traditional weight class of security directors.

They have moved to the C-suite with customer executives by providing new value messages that enhance their brand value, in customer’s eyes. While the big companies are certainly in that mode, what about smaller companies?

Smaller companies have a distinct advantage of being able to make decisions and implement them faster than their bigger competitors and should utilize that advantage with customers. In some cases, smaller companies are more accessible to solve problems faster.

However, they also can get stuck in their past way of doing business, which can be detrimental if bigger competitors begin to innovate at a faster rate by introducing better guard/technology solutions. So, are standing guards and integrated technology really mutually exclusive today?

Nope, they are not. Technologies today can and do enable faster and more effective responses to crisis situations, like workplace violence/active shooter scenarios, with better situational awareness, and tools for observing and acting on physical security features such as video analytics.

In addition, they are well positioned for additional emergency response training and should be trained to be the onsite, first responders when critical seconds count to save lives, defend innocents and provide real-time intelligence to first responders. Position your guard offering differently and higher up in the organization to create differentiation and brand value by being a valuable information source.

When I would respond as an ASI guard to an apparent break-in, the adrenaline was usually in great supply but situational information not so much. This could increase the danger to law enforcement responders. I always waited for local law enforcement to arrive to decide on our search, detain and arrest strategy to avoid mistakes that could make a dark warehouse more dangerous than it already was.

Having heads-up and real-time situational reports prior to arrival with technology or guard sources would have been a welcome addition to response effectiveness.

Some food for thought … should your guards be armed? We will tackle that next month as we continue the discussion.

About the Author

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Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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