In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, we find a huge influx of people combining work and leisure in commercial hubs and retail districts, transport centres, and education campuses. On top of having ready access to a range of services, people flock to these hubs expecting more than convenience; they expect safety and security to be a given.
Security officers often find themselves wondering how they can pre-empt security incidents and prevent them from happening in the first place. The reason behind all this, on top of the importance of the public’s safety, is to protect a company’s safety reputation.
Safety is a non-negotiable and reputation is everything. A company that cannot guarantee the safety of its clients lose out on a lot more than business — they lose out on trust and in the business community, that is a whole lot worse.
The Importance of Protecting Your Reputation: Breaking It Down
Let’s look closely into why a company’s reputation for safety matters.
Companies with a strong safety reputation have an easier time attracting high-potential employees who are invested in their safety and well-being. No one wants to work for a company that can’t assure you these essentials.
When a company has reputation for safety, customers also expect them to provide more value than other brands, which gives them the leverage to put out higher prices and fees for top quality products and services at the same time. They tend to have higher overall earnings, have a more loyal audience, and find it easier to achieve growth. Customers often associate these companies and their brand with positive overall experiences.
On the other hand, a company with a bad reputation for losing trust and failing at safety measures will enjoy none of these benefits.
In the era of the Internet, acquiring a negative reputation is a potential for disaster especially today where online reviews and customer feedback are becoming increasingly commonplace. This is true regardless of the type of business you’re running or the industry you’re operating in.
As an example, let’s say a random customer visits your store in bad weather conditions and accidentally slips on a wet floor. They hurt themselves and look to you and your employees to assist them and provide first-aid care. But because this was something you did not anticipate, you fumble through it, they’re unsatisfied with your response, and post a negative online review on your business where they recount their bad experience as a result.
If you think about it, how much harm could this one negative online review possibly do?
The answer, as it turns out, is quite a bit.
Consider the following statistics below:
- According to one recent study, as many as 90% of consumers will actively read online reviews before visiting any type of business as of 2016.
- Another study revealed that online reviews have been shown to impact as many as 67.7% of purchasing decisions.
- As many as 84% of people say that they trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation made by a friend or family member.
- Every one star increase on a review site like Yelp can lead to an increase in revenue of between 5 to 9% on average — particularly for local businesses.
From these statistics alone, to say a company’s safety reputation is worth protecting is a clear understatement. But as is true with most things in the world of business, this is something that requires a quick response and a contingency plan to minimise the long-term damage.
To truly protect your company’s safety reputation, these three critical steps should come as a priority.
Step 1: Minimise the Impact of an Event When It Occurs
One of the most important steps you can take to protect a company’s safety reputation is minimising the impact of an event when it does occur. Creating a truly, 100% safe environment isn’t necessarily as realistic as we’d like it to be — there are certain threats or circumstances that will always find a way to present itself.
The key is to accept this fact and prepare for it head-on. Focus on preventive measures you can take to ensure that when an event does occur, the damage is as minimal as possible.
This is something that you can accomplish in a wide range of ways depending on the environment. If there is a particular pole that sticks out of a floor that can’t be moved due to infrastructure considerations, make sure that it is padded properly to make sure that someone doesn’t get seriously injured if they happen to bump into it.
Likewise, unforeseen events like a fire can happen literally anywhere, but to mitigate risk as much as possible, you could implement an advanced sprinkler system to help put it out as quickly as possible and reduce the amount of damage.
Consider the fact that sprinklers were only present in about 10% of reported structure fires between 2010 and 2014 according to the National Fire Protection Association. When you reflect on the fact that the civilian death rate is 81% lower in environments that have sprinkler systems, you begin to see why this is an absolutely essential step for your business to take.
Step 2: Work on Your Response Times
Another key step to take in terms of protecting your company’s safety reputation involves training all employees and assistance crews to speed up response times as much as possible. Again, there are certain types of events that you’ll never be able to totally eliminate and this is largely outside of your control. What you CAN control is how you react when it does happen.
Employees should have the skills and ongoing training necessary to respond to any and all medical incidents as quickly as possible. They should know both how to spot such an event, how to react to it, and how to get this information to the people who need to know about it as fast as possible.
This goes beyond a customer having an unexpected seizure or falling into a Diabetic coma — you can also mitigate risk from other types of safety-related security incidents as well. This is one area where AI-assisted video monitoring solutions like those provided by iCetana and others will prove overwhelmingly valuable.
By processing security, safety, and operational events in real-time, these types of systems can help you identify medical and other security-related incidents as quickly as possible to help guarantee the type of immediate response that you and your customers need when you need it the most.
Step 3: Learn How to Spot Precursor Events
Finally, and perhaps most critically, you and your employees should know how to recognise patterns and other precursor events that commonly lead up to the types of security incidents that you’re trying to mitigate.
One of the most straightforward examples of this would involve an unexpectedly warm day after a recent snowfall. The snow outside is melting and suddenly the walkway leading up to your front door is now more slippery than usual. All it would take is another temperature drop to turn that water into ice — leading to an increased risk of people falling and hurting themselves as a result.
But this type of preventative security also goes far deeper than that. Consider the unfortunate example of the recent Las Vegas shooting — an event that is now known as the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. In hindsight, employees recognised it was suspicious that the gunman had taken several large bags into his hotel room at odd hours of the night — but in the moment, they sadly didn’t take much notice.
These are the same suspicious activities you need to focus on as they allow you to potentially address a small problem before it becomes a much larger (and perhaps deadlier) issue later on. This is another area where advanced, highly scalable AI-assisted video monitoring solutions like iCetana will prove their worth.
In truth, any AI-assisted video monitoring system won’t just allow you to spot suspicious or unusual behaviour in real-time. It can also help immediately clue you into the irregular movement of people and vehicles, unauthorised access, precursor events like crowd gatherings, dispersal, and so much more.
But more than that, these systems operate both in real-time and at scale ,which means regardless of the size of your surveillance infrastructure, you can still expect the unexpected across your entire environment, significantly reducing your risk profile at the exact same time.
In the End
Any experienced Chief Security Officer or other security professional will tell you that trying to create a 100% safe environment is unrealistic to say the least. Regardless of how much oversight you have into your environment, there are certain things that you just can’t control — especially when large groups of people in public spaces are involved.
What you can control, however, is your safety reputation. By taking steps to minimise the impact of an event when it does occur, by focusing on the fastest response times possible, and by learning how to recognise patterns and other precursor events, you’ll go a long way towards creating the safest environment (and the safest brand) that you possibly can.
By offering preventive and incident response security a priority, you offer the best value to your customers that ensures you stay top of mind.