Many of the security guard companies that I speak with talk about high quality security guard service. The question that often pops into my mind is “Exactly what is high quality security guard service and how is it measured?” But even more importantly, how do security guard service buyers measure and assess high quality service?
To be successful, companies must develop methods of conveying the value of their services to their customers. In many cases they can accomplish this through the use of metrics. Metrics help companies focus their people and resources on the things that their clients value most. Focusing on those things then leads to service that their clients would consider high quality. For companies that provide security guard service those metrics can come in many flavors.
The ASIS Foundation recently published findings from a major research project focused on security metrics. The foundations’ research was based on a survey that invited more that 3,000 ASIS members to answer questions about the metrics that they are currently using. Of the 3,000 members invited to participate 297 responded. Of those respondents, seventy-seven percent said that they were collecting and using security metrics.
The high percentage of respondents using metrics should not be surprising. For the past 10 – 20 years the idea of speaking to customers in terms of metrics has been slowly gaining acceptance. That acceptance has been driven by the ever-increasing ease of capturing information via software like OfficerReports.com’s security officer reporting software.
Metrics for Your Security Guard Service
Although it appears that many of these respondents were in-house security forces, the study is still applicable to contract security providers. The respondents were asked various questions about the aspects of their security programs that were being measured. The top five categories for which they used metrics were: 1) Security Incidents 2) Criminal Incidents and Investigations, 3) Cost against budget, 4) Security training and education, and 5) Guarding performance (turnover, inspections, etc.). Within those five categories there were several metrics that security guard companies should be regularly providing to their customers. The following list provides those metrics:
1. Security Activity Metric
This metric measures items such as:
- Alarm responses
- Door openings
- Material bearer passes
- Security incidents
2. Officer Performance Metric Panel
This metric measures several aspects of a contract security organizations performance. This metric includes items such as:
- Employee turnover
- Employee involved safety incidents
- Safety and security incidents on the client property
- Response time
- Safety assists such as employee escorts, charging dead batteries, etc.
- Number of trainings conducted for officers on site
- Post audits
3. Security-Safety Metric
The security-safety metric was intended to detect events that affected the overall safety at a facility. These events included:
- Water leaks
- Reckless activity
- On-site drug use
- Workplace injuries resulting from slips, trips, and falls.
4. Security Incident Metrics
This metric is fairly straight forward. It counts and analyzes the number and type of security incidents at a facility.
5. Loss Reduction/Security Cost Metric
This particular metric primarily focuses on shrinkage and the effect that security has on these losses. This metric can be directly linked to the cost savings for the customer. It specifically measures:
- Stock discrepancy
- The cost of security as a percentage of sales
Each of these metrics provides great information that will help you and your customer understand the value of your security guard service. However, the study also points out that there are a few things to keep in mind when presenting metrics. The study makes five recommendations regarding the presentation of metrics to customers:
- Present metrics that are aligned with your customers objectives. Metrics should not be developed in a vacuum that excludes your customer’s specific issues and concerns.
- Present metrics that meet measurement standards. Using reliable data that has been tested and approved is more valuable and persuasive to your customers.
- Use the metrics to tell a story. Remember that your customers are probably not statisticians who love working with chi-square tests. Make your metrics part of a compelling story that speaks to your customer.
- Follow the KISS principle. Make sure to use visual aids such as graphs to convey complex information. Also ensure that you keep the presentation as short as possible.
- Make regular presentations. Regular presentation of your metrics provides you and your customer with information that is timely and actionable.
Although I hope that you found this article informative, it is not a comprehensive review of the original study. Instead, it is a summary of key points that are valuable to companies in the business of providing high quality security guard service. To understand how to better use metrics for security guard service you can find the full study “Persuading Senior Management with Effective, Evaluated Security Metrics” on the ASIS website.