It’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to attract a new one, and that holds as true in the security industry as it does in any other business. Achieving growth and profitability becomes much more difficult if you’re constantly having to replace lost accounts. That’s why post inspections, checking on guards to make sure they have all the necessary tools and that the client’s needs are being met, are so important. Unfortunately, many security companies fail to conduct effective inspections.The Reality of Post Inspections Today
Most companies simply use security post inspections as a way to see who’s sleeping on the job or not at their post. They drop in unannounced with the hope that they’ll catch a guard clearly slacking off.
With all this focus on accountability, there’s a missed opportunity to use the post inspection as a way to improve service. If the supervisor is just trying to catch a guy sleeping, they might miss getting information on ways to improve the process, tools that might be required, or an on-site problem going unaddressed.
Plus, using post inspections as a “gotcha” tool puts you in a confrontational setting with your security officers, rather than having you both be on the same team trying to improve your service. Inspections should be about establishing and maintaining internal standards and customer standards rather than just ensuring guards meet the minimum requirement of being present and awake.
Establishing Internal Standards
Whenever I conducted a post inspection, I would start by checking in on the officer personally, making sure they were doing alright and establishing that we’re on the same team. After that, I’d ask the following questions:
- How is the schedule working out for you?
- How do you like the other team members?
- How viable are the pass down notes from the previous officer(s)?
- Are you able to come in 5 minutes early to relieve your team member on time, and are you getting relieved on time?
- Does your team provide good information and is everyone communicating and working well together?
- Are keys or equipment getting misplaced?
- Are you developing good relationships with clients or visitors on-site?
- Are you comfortable using the guard tour system?
These questions ensured that our own security post orders and standard operating procedures were being met and helped me to identify areas that I could improve, such as shuffling around scheduling or adding better communication tools.
Establishing Customer Standards
The best way to make sure customer requirements are being met is to actually walk the job site with your officer. This will give you more of an opportunity to see all of the possible issues that need to be addressed and make it easier to demonstrate anything you want the officer to change right where it needs to happen.
Make sure that you know the post order requirements already though. You don’t want to be in a position where you have to ask the guard what needs to be done, as that might cause the field teams to lose some respect for you.
By showing up and walking the site with your guard, you demonstrate your understanding of what he faces in the field, your appreciation for his effort, and the importance you place on the reports he sends back to the office.
Prepare For Inspections
You can’t just show up randomly and hope to conduct effective post inspections. You want to keep a calendar to make sure you’re hitting all sites regularly, and prepare your route at each site ahead of time. Make sure in this scheduling that you leave time for emergencies or critical issues.
In addition, show up with previous Daily Activity Reports (this is easier if you’ve already gone paperless with an incident reporting software like Silvertrac) so you can walk through them with officers. Try not to rush inspections, or if you do have limited time make sure you tell officers so they can bring up any pressing issues right away.
Clear lines of communication are critical in the security industry, and that’s what post inspections should really be about. Rather than just checking to make sure officers aren’t sleeping in the car, use them as an opportunity to communicate standards to your guards, and for them to communicate any issues on-site to you.