Ways to Improve Customer Experience

 

 

What would a Security Guard Know about Customer Experience?

Well, it so happens, good customer service is an integral part of his job. Whether you are working the doors of a new nightclub in town, or as a retail security guard; a security is often the first impression of an entities brand. You are usually the first and last face a customer sees.

Good customer service can elevate your reputation and that of your company. I had customers who became repeat customers, not necessarily for the venue or the event – they came back for the experience.

I made sure I went above and beyond for customers I interacted with. I learned to create great customer experience.

I was so good at it I was used to “break in” new venues. Within 2 or 6 weeks I would build a rapport with staff and establish a regular clientele.

I would then handpick suitable security crews and teach them to replicate the service I was providing. This became my model to win business. My system was based on a simple concept: Treat people the way you want them to treat you. This post will show you ways to improve customer experience.

What Is Customer Experience?

We’ve heard the term “customer experience,” but what does it mean? Customer experience includes many elements, but its really about what the customer thinks about you or your “brand”.

You might think your customer service is of a high standard hence creating a strong customer experience. But, if a customer thinks that customer service is actually lacking, then that perception becomes a poor customer experience.

People don’t always notice the right things you do. But they will never forget the way you made them feel.

I have incorporated this concept into everything I do. It helped me get into work that’s competitively sought after, particularly in the private security fields.

There is no question that there are experienced and capable operators out there. However, the amount of capable operators out there far exceeds the work.

I built a great network of potential employers and work colleagues using this “customer experience” concept because people never forgot me. When an opportunity came up I would be one of the first guys they would call.

How do you Want People to see you

Everything you do contributes to how customers perceive an experience. This includes, but is not limited to;

  • The way you communicate
  • How you conduct yourself
  • Your personal appearance
  • Your verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Knowledge and experience

Imagine what would happen if a company hired a security officer or operator for a client, who didn’t brush his hair, didn’t shave, spoke in a monotone voice and showed he really didn’t  want to be there.

Chances are customers will not have the best impression of him. If everything you do is an advertisement for you and the company then, in this case, the brand is lazy and doesn’t care about their business.

On the other hand, a company that hires passionate people and trains them to a high standard, the customer will more likely have a great experience and think highly of the brand.

Customer perception is fickle. It can change with each interaction, so constantly maintaining a strong customer experience is of utmost importance.

Customer perception is one of the most valuable aspects of a company. Managing that perception should be a  priority and a responsibility of every person in the organization.

This can be facilitated by having sound standard operating procedures (SOPs), a code of conduct, a good induction training program and performance evaluation reviews.

What Works for Me

Here are some tried and tested methods I use every day that will improve customer experience

Acknowledge Everybody

I got into the habit of making contact with everybody. That included customers, employees, suppliers, everybody. Greet people, even if just a smile or nod to acknowledge their presence.

I’m a pretty big intimidating fellow from looking at me. I understood that my appearance would illicit negative stereotypical opinions.

If there was a queue outside I made it a point to greet everybody, if even just eye contact as they came in. It takes away the feeling of just being another ticket number.

That simple gesture had promoters inundated with positive feedback about how safe and welcomed they felt. It looked good for the venue and for the company.

Good Communication Skills

Every security operative needs to communicate effectively whether they are dealing with the employees of a business or its customers.

Always be polite, respectful and friendly, whether that’s a greeting, being funny or asking a question.

Be open-minded and actively listen to what is being said or asked of you. Be aware of your body language, eye contact, hand gestures, and tone, since they all play a role in how someone perceives what you are saying to them.

Get to Know People

Learn the names of employees and customers, it can provide a number of benefits. Remembering names can help you build professional relationships and make it easier to reference them when necessary.

As a doorman, knowing the names of regular customers is crucial for return patronage. You can see the little glint and smile on their faces when you refer to them by name. It makes them feel valued and important. Especially when you pluck them from a queue as well.

Make Small Talk

In addition to remembering the names of people, making small talk works wonders. I make it a point to remember details from the small talk. Example, the mention of a birthday party to be attended in the weekend.

I would recall this info and ask when I saw them next how the party went. People will like the fact you have remembered details about their lives.

I loved working for the busy events and parties at venues where there were long queues of people waiting to get in.

You could see the restlessness and frustration as they were waiting in the line, anticipating getting asked for I.D. or have their bags searched.

Once the queue stopped was when I would start the small talk with people at the front of the line. It was about anything.

They soon forgot about the waiting and if you had a joke or two was even better. Handing over an I.D. and getting a bag searched wasn’t so bad for them anymore because in less than a minute you won their trust.

Be Ready to Help

When you see a problem, be the solution. Offer customers assistance when you can. Here are some examples;

  • If you see someone trying to wave down a cab in the rain, ring them one send them back in the warmth and you’ll let them know when it arrives.
  • Maybe you are the first person a lost visitor sees. You can point them in a direction they need to go.
  • Help customers carry their purchases to their car. Open the door.
  • Offering a jacket while someone waits in the cold, a hanky when someone sneezes, opening the door of the cab when it arrives.
  • Maybe your job is to search bags and personal items, do so respectfully and neatly. If you’re guarding a retail store overnight, you might offer to escort staff and crew to their cars after dark.

Be Observant
Become a master of detail, train yourself to notice everything, and when appropriate, act on any information you observe or discover about a guest.

I have actually had patrons pat me on the back for discovering hidden bottles and other objects on someone unassuming and unobtrusive.

You might overhear someone making an anniversary reservation and wish them a happy anniversary.

You might notice someone anxiously hovering outside holding a ticket, you offer to hand the ticket to a person when they arrive so they can go inside to enjoy a concert.

How Important is Customer Experience?

It should be reiterated that as a security guard, your objective and priority is to protect people, property, and information. Great customer experiences add value, and they also instill an enormous amount of loyalty and trust.

It is a mindset that should be cultivated within your organization’s culture.

It can be hard to do your job and offer good customer service at the same time. However, learning to find a balance between carrying out your duties and providing great customer service will set you apart from others.

Remember, people don’t always notice the things you do,. But they will never forget the way you made them feel.

10 Replies to “Ways to Improve Customer Experience”

  1. nice article. It gives me a whole new perspective when it comes to viewing security guards at the doors of the clubs that I go to.

    I also now understand why I like some guards better than others

    nice article very insightful as always. Keep them up!

    1. Thanks Nikolas to be able to share insight and a new perpective is the whole reason I am enjoying doing this. Cheers.

  2. What a fantastic attitude you have. If more people took care to look after their customers in the ways that you suggest, no matter what industry they are involved in, I’m sure that they would find much greater levels of success. After reading your article I find myself thinking of the times recently when I have personally failed, or missed an opportunity, to provide outstanding service. I’m now much more focused on rectifying that, so thank you very much. Some great insights here.

    1. Thanks Carlos I hope to bring more insights and lessons that can apply to most life situations.  And attitude is always the starting point to achieve anything don”t you think?

      1. Hi Sam, I completely agree. Our attitude is the key, and it’s in our control to change, improve and develop it within ourselves.
        Really looking forward to your future posts.

  3. Hi Sam

    I enjoyed and benefited from your article. Thanks!

    I was wondering if you have any views on how Security personnel and companies can actually CHECK WHAT THE CUSTOMER THOUGHT of the service?  For example, in the businesds world (and Security is a business), often consumers are given a survey after each transaction, and sometimes steps within an overall process.

    A good example is the “Net Promoter Score” from Bain and Co (there is a book called “The Ultimate Question” that focuses on asking 1 key question – “would you recommend our products/services to others?”).

    Would appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks

    David.

    1. Hi David,

      I know when running my own security business, feedback was very important for continual improvement. It helped me understand what training might be needed, the capabilities of your guards, understand the environmental demands and market you are working in. 

      Trying to gauge the quality of the service mostly came from briefings and feedback from clients and of course from complaints that were emailed from customers of clients. Any feedback, good or bad gives you some indication of where you might be able to improve and I find its always best to ask your customers directly while incognito. You really need to get out there and get your finger on the pulse.This would be the best and most honest way to find out how the customer has enjoyed or not enjoyed the experience. 

      You’re right though you need to be asking the right questions and they should be open ended questions. Initiating and divulging in general conversation will illicit a wealth of information from customers if you know what to ask. 

      Thank you for the heads up on the book “The Ultimate Question”. I will add it to my list of books to read.

  4. Hey i really enjoyed your article, it was very informative.  I have been to places that has had horrible customer experience and you are right people will get online and write bad reviews if they were treated poorly or if something has happened that was not professional.  I do try to treat people right and the way i want to be treated but i have never been in a position where i needed to deal with people all the time.

    1. Hi Justin,

      I’ve been doing this a very long time in different environments, different circumstances in different countries all over the world. In fact I have adopted the very principles of good customer service and customer care in my everyday life. It is second nature to me now and seeing how I can put a smile on anyones face is rewarding. If we all treated each other the same way I think the world will be a better place. How hard is it to be nice, it doesn’t cost you anything.

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