Top Three Reasons to Fire Your Security Provider.
In the last seven years FCS has experienced approximately 500% growth in revenue and in services hours provided. All of this growth has been organic which means we have never made an acquisition of another security company. In almost 100% of the cases, we took over security from an existing provider. So why do clients fire their existing security providers? With the exception of many government contracts where change is frequently driven by a requirement to go out to bid at predetermined time frames, often at the lowest cost, we have heard customers tell us these are the top reasons they fired their current security provider:
1. Lack of Management Involvement: – An often-heard phrase when we assume a security contract is “we love the officers, but we never see the company’s managers once they won the contract.” This is disappointing to clients because during the proposal stage, security companies often make promises they cannot or will not keep, such as closely supervising officers and being available to the client on a regular basis. A contributing factor to this problem is the rapid consolidation in the security industry where today, three mega-companies control nearly 60% of the security contracts in the country. They don’t necessarily have bad managers, it’s just that many officers and managers don’t even know who they work for, or the culture of their current company. We recently took over the security contract for a large municipality whose previous mega-security provider (they fired) had changed three times in five years due to consolidation in the security industry. Officers were showing up to post in three different uniforms; one officer told us she had not seen a supervisor for five years. “They don’t even know if I show up to work,” she said.
2. Failure to Fix Pain Points: This is closely related to number 1. Recently a client told us considering their previous provider, “I give them a list of nine things that need to be fixed. A month later, they considered fixing one of them to be a success.” The security officer industry is a service business. There is nothing else we create, manufacture, or sell, except the promise that we will provide great customer service to help fix problems related to security. If you wanted the pain associated with running a security operation, you would hire your own security staff. You don’t, which is why you hired us.
3. Getting Billing Right: As a client of any service, you should expect; an invoice in a format that works – for you; an invoice that is correct and auditable – by you; and a method of payment and terms that work – for you. Again, during the courting phase, companies often make promises to do whatever the potential client wants until such time as the contract is won, and then the inflexibility sets in. Not knowing your security costs, not being able to tell if you are getting the services you are paying for, and having to change the way you make payments is unacceptable – you are the customer.
The Chairman and founder of FCS is famous for saying, “The security business isn’t rocket science. If it was, I wouldn’t be in it.” What the security business is about, is caring about the customers and the officers, holding managers accountable, and paying attention to details – every day.
If any of these problems sound familiar, maybe it’s time to consider firing your current security provider.
Jim Casey is the Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer at FCS – First Coast Security headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. He is a 32-year veteran law enforcement officer, the last 25 as an executive at the FBI. He also served on the National Security Council (NSC) at the George W. Bush White House, and was VP for Asset Protection at the national retailer Stein Mart Inc. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.