Back in 2014, as a part of our “Shifting From A Vendor To A Partner” webinar, we conducted a survey across a large number of property managers, asking a very simple question:
"How do you believe your current security providers can improve their customer service?”
The following 10 responses were the most common suggestions we received from property managers around the U.S. and Canada, from local to regional managers, managing both commercial and residential properties.
1. Better Understanding The Specific Duties
Too often, we hear property managers say that 1-3 months after a contract was awarded, the scope of service was no longer reflecting the initially agreed upon role. This goes back to one of the most common mistakes security companies make when dealing with customers, which is over promising and under delivering. This is a recipe for poor customer retention and few referrals.
2. Limit Tendency To Police
We heard about this especially at low-income and HUD properties, where property managers were upset about the security officers acting like police rather than fulfilling a customer service role. It’s important to train officers not just for the worst-case scenarios, but also to train them to have positive contact with residents and provide quality service on a regular basis.
3. Improve Communication Between Officers And Management
Property managers told us that they would deliver feedback to supervisors or account managers, and the conversation would make it seem like the issue was going to be addressed. However, nothing would happen on the site.
It’s important to have clear chains of communication so that customers know who to go to and officers know who can give them the necessary information. Our security dispatch system also allows you to leave specific notes and tasks for officers to show up on their handhelds when they arrive for their shift, and it’ll be documented for the customer to see.
4. More Communication Between Maintenance And Security
We’ve talked about this one before. Communicating well with maintenance and recording those issues is a huge value add. Figure out what procedures you need to follow to get on the same page with maintenance, and schedule routine rounds to check for maintenance issues.
5. Improve Customer Service Skills
Again, this just comes down to creating instances of positive contact. Usually, the only interaction residents and customers have with security officers is during incidents, which creates a negative relationship. Having positive contact, situations where the officer can be kind and helpful, goes a long way.
6. Better Adherence To The Chain Of Escalation
Property managers are busy people. They don’t want to be woken up at 2 AM for a problem that easily could have waited, or even just could have been handled by the officer. Making sure you have a clear chain of escalation in place so that officers are not wasting the property managers’ time with non-issues is key to a good customer relationship.
7. Improve The Quality And Timeliness Of Reports
We’ve beaten this point half to death by now, but we’ll say it again: Your reports are the main reflection of your service to the property manager. For reference, here are some of our past articles on how to write quality reports:
- How To Write A Daily Activity Report That Matters
- Why You Have To Go Paperless With Your DAR
- Super Easy Ways To Improve Your Security Officer Report Writing
8. Assist In Discovery Of Liability Issues
We suggest placing checkpoints at locations throughout the property that might present areas of liability. This means doing a walkthrough with the property manager to understand what are her main areas of concern and ensuring that officers know exactly what they need to be looking for at each checkpoint.
9. Provide More Detailed Inspections And Reports
This goes hand in hand with the last point. Make sure you are providing as much detail as possible and asking the property manager what she really needs to know so that your officers are getting all the details in their reports. Attaching pictures and audio files to the reports can be a great way to add more detail.
10. Employ Strict Employee Performance Requirements
We’ve heard several horror stories of officers at high-risk locations that are totally unqualified or untrained. You can have all the right tools in place, but if you don’t have quality officers none of it matters. We learned about a great company called Kwantek at CALSAGA that handles the whole hiring process, from tracking applicants, background screening, assessment, and on-boarding. After that, it’s up to you to put in place good performance measures and hold your employees accountable for delivering great service to the customer.