Who's at Your Front Door – The Convergence of Security and Concierge Services

Security officers and concierge personnel have been an integral part of residential operations for a long time. Some complexes and buildings were large enough to have separate departments that served their tenants while others had to choose to have either a security officer or a concierge. Without the option of hiring both, residences lacked a full-service program. This article will detail a dual-role concierge / security officer program, will cover why it isn't the standard the residential industry, and explain how this benefits the tenant and visitor experience.

The impact of having the dual role concierge / security officer will be seen in the residences' overall safety, customer satisfaction, and cost-savings. Property management firms and residential owners shouldn't have to choose whether they value a secure environment or a welcoming environment when both are possible with a properly trained and licensed security concierge.

An initial step in developing a full service tenant program for residential owners and property management firms is to combine the two departments by hiring licensed security officers who are trained as concierge personnel. This full-service professional must have the requisite skills and knowledge of both professions and be able to adapt to a variety of complex situations and incidents. The dual role concierge / security officer must possess the excellent customer skills of a concierge and the regulation enforcement of a security officer; the ability to make reservations and the ability to respond to emergencies; the care and cooperation of a concierge and the crime prevention of a security officer. In order to be successful with this service an intricate training program must be established which focuses on security and concierge skills as a unified style of service not as separate roles. The service provider must have experience with both services and have an officer developmental program.

Why haven't many security firms or concierge services gone to the dual role officer? Security firms haven't gone to this model because of the training demands, accountability, and the necessary wage structure to provide the level of quality customer service and protection expected by tenants in a residential environment. Concierge firms haven't gone to this model because of the liability and cost of licensing their personnel as security officers to monitor cameras and respond to emergencies. The increased risks of terrorism and crime require security officers to receive more diverse training in emergency first response, life safety procedures, and overall crime prevention. Gone are the days when security officers were counted on for merely contacting 911 and waiting for law enforcement and EMS to respond. Security officers must now be first responder certified and trained in homeland security defense to protect the lives of the people they serve.

Concierge personnel have been known to assist residents with any and all requests for services needed, although, there is a void between the emergency response capability of the concierge and the security officer. The dual-role officer can assist with anything from monitoring closed circuit televisions and filing police reports to offering information on local nightlife, making reservations and coordinating grocery delivery. Services like these are commonplace in the hotel industry and should become the benchmark for residential buildings offering luxury services.

What will this convergence bring to a residence? A cost-benefit analysis of the dual role officer can easily justify the conversion. Owners and residential operators with front desk personnel can incorporate the security and concierge function into one operational expenditure of their budget. Security firms must increase their customer service training and service programs but need not incur any cost of increased licenses. The end result will be increased tenant satisfaction, improved safety and security, and most importantly peace of mind.

There has been a growth towards the dual role concierge / security officer in many organizations but many of these attempts have not been an integration of the best practices of security and concierge but a selective combination of the two disciplines. The responsibility lies on the service providers to integrate both training programs without losing any of the qualities of each role. The proper management structure and wages will allow property managers and owners to hire the professionals necessary to institute this important balance.