013: How to Write a Daily Activity Report that Matters
On today’s episode, we talk about how to write a Daily Activity Report (DAR) to track incidents, learn lessons from them, and clearly communicate your daily activities to customers. A high quality DAR is one of the most important tools for improving customer retention.
The Daily Activity Report Represents Your Work
For the most part, the customer isn’t going to see the actual work your team does. They’re not along for the ride to see the myriad of tasks you perform every day to keep their property secure. They see the DAR, and if it’s sloppy and incomplete, they’re going to assume the work you do is similarly poor.
“It’s what’s going to represent the time you spend on site,” I tell Chris. “The more time you put into the report to make sure this is a positive reflection of your company really goes a long way to how your customer views you and your services on site.”
Going into detail, keeping an accurate log of every incident and your response, really helps build trust and confidence with your customers.
Why Accuracy Is So Important
Accurately logging arrival and departure times is extremely important for an effective Daily Activity Report. Modern DAR systems, which are paperless and can be updated from mobile devices, are extremely helpful in this regard, as they allow officers to enter the information as it happens, rather than go back and try to remember the time later. As Chris points out, the importance of keeping accurate time logs of arrivals and departures goes far beyond customer satisfaction.
“Maybe there’s an incident that occurred…” he says, “if it ever went to court, and you had to go sit in front of a judge and jury, all those things can be challenged.” Inaccurate time logs could invalidate the rest of your notes, create legal problems, and reflect poorly on your company and your customer. That’s why Chris recommends creating reports that are accurate down to the second.
This idea, that your DAR might someday be used in a court proceeding, is a good one to keep in mind. That’s why it’s so important to make note of all the small details, as well as the big incidents. You never know what might end up being important down the road.
All Is NOT Well
Chris and I share a laugh over the common notation “Code 4”, or “All is well” that shows up in so many Daily Activity reports. Beyond confusing customers, managers, and others that might be unfamiliar with the lingo, it’s just a useless designation.
“It doesn’t deliver any value to your customer…” I tell Chris. “Instead of saying, ‘all is well,’ why not say, ‘I checked the perimeter, the fence, I checked the valuable assets on the property,’ and list them off. Go through the detail of the activity that was completed.”
Not only does this extra detail show off your hard work to the customer, it ensures that there are no discrepancies or inaccuracies in your report, and can protect you from liability.
Moreover, recording these small incidents can be useful in terms of figuring out what important tasks you might be missing, or what processes can be carried out more effectively. If you don’t know what you’re doing in the first place, you can’t come with ways to improve.