Security guard staff are often seen protecting assets, inventory, and property. While this is a necessary part of the job, they also have a responsibility to safeguard people. In fact, many suggest this is the most valuable and versatile component of the job.
As a highly trained and uniformed security guard, you will have been taught how to spot irregularities in your environment, take observational initiative, and communicate effectively with people from all walks of life.
While it may seem that gating access to and from locations is your primary purpose, actually, learning to communicate with people, negotiate healthy social outcomes, and resolve conflict seamlessly is much more integral. You don’t have to be an uber-charming, suggestive social butterfly to be an excellent security guard, but you do have to pride yourself on customer service at every professional level.
So; let’s discuss exactly how to focus on that skillset, taking your capabilities, and opportunities, to the next level.
Liaising With Clients
As a security guard in South Africa, you will have the chance to liaise with clients from all walks of life. Some may be private clients asking you to judge and allow hospitable entry to well-behaved, well-dressed patrons entering a hotel, restaurant or bar.
Some may be corporate security clients asking you to properly scan and frisk those entering a large event space, for the safety of all involved. You may be a necessary part of a logistics security outfit, ensuring cargo is transported from point A to point B without issue.
Learning your clients and their needs means discussing the scope of the job, learning the structure of your environment, and the tools you have on offer, such as parking gate access buildings and their operation; hours of operation, and guests that have been pre-approved entry. Depending on the infrastructure of the area, such as guarding a private airfield, you may also need to understand the operational parameters of how staff come and go, and the particular layout of the space.
Having these conversations candidly, asking questions if you’re unsure, and exercising your judgement within those guidelines help you become a natural fit within a team. Dress well, and be punctual. Your clientele understands the need for security, but they rarely wish to think about it every moment of the day. This is where you come in, to integrate your professional safeguarding duty of care in a seamless, always approachable manner.
Polite, Imperative Language
The best tools you have for your job as a security guard are your eyes and mouth. Being able to approach people confidently, respectfully and without distraction is key. As a security guard, attendees, guests or visitors will see you as an authority figure based on how you carry yourself.
This means you need to politely instruct people as to what is expected of them, or how to comply with demands should a difficulty arise.
Let’s say you notice that an event attendee has entered a private part of the convention space you’re guarding. First, getting their attention with a polite, impartial greeting, firmly informing them they’re in the wrong area, and confidently ushering them to the public area. Here you will have noticed an issue, approached the problem, and applied a path of resolution.
Imperative language is an important part of this interaction. In this situation, you would instruct politely. Then you’re to ask how they found this area, to gauge if they were lost or purposefully trespassing. When they have been chaperoned to the correct area, you can radio your colleagues to inform them of the actions you took (for accountability purposes), give a description of the person, and report the issue to a team leader should you need to.
As you can see, a swift and clean resolution occurred because you took the direct initiative, judged the situation, and firmly led someone to that end result. This way, you will have handled your authority with care, without causing undue offence, escalating conflict, or demeaning anyone. The most important element of this is learning to be that obstacle, to say ‘no’ without apology, and to be clinical but also human in how you approach people.
Tangential Skills & Your Contract
The duties expected of a security guard can differ wildly depending on the scope of the job they’re attending to. However, in this role, like in most job roles, being able to widen your tangential skillset is worthwhile.
For instance, undergoing first aid training as part of your professional development will help you potentially save a life on the premises. It’s not hard to see the value in this. A professional driving license for security purposes may also help you transport high-value personnel from one area to another seamlessly.
In some cases, security guards will also undergo specialist training for distinct responsibilities – for instance, bank security guards hired to move large volumes of cash from one place to another will be trained in the correct, step-by-step accountability procedures in transporting cash cases, securing cargo, and driving with focused observational skills.
Evolving customer service means investing in your professional development, either with your agency or through your own initiative.
Resolving Conflict Capably
The first lesson any capable martial arts instructor will teach their students is how to be disciplined, and how to avoid fights wherever possible. The same perspective applies to security guard roles of all kinds.
In some cases, you will encounter conflict. It’s the nature of the job. That said, your exert control of the situation by remaining proactive, communicative, and calm. A client will much prefer you prevent a disagreement from escalating into conflict than a situation forcing you to put an end to the conflict via additional resources, or distracting/disturbing the pleasant enjoyment of other guests or staff.
Communication is key here. Being able to firmly state no, to politely inform someone that their actions are unsustainable, and calling in backup where these resources when you need them to resolve conflict quickly is key. Avoid escalatory language, insults, and unprofessional behaviour no matter what. Your job is to protect people or a location; and the best way to do that is to neutralize threats before they start, like asking someone to leave before a full-scale disagreement begins.
A security guard is often judged by how well they can judge and become proactive against escalating issues than they are a expressing a ‘tough guy’ persona, able to jump on anyone at any time. This shows wisdom, candour, and heightened customer service not only for your client but everyone you have a responsibility to within that space. Moreover, remember that security guards may also give directions, help maintenance staff find the right location, or ensure everyone is counted in the event of a fire alarm.
With this advice, we hope you can remain a better security guard through exceptional customer service.
Be sure to contact Lodge Security for all of your world-class safeguarding and security guard needs.