|VSG is the sole security service provider for the UK's prestigious retail shop|
Concern for the quality of customer experience is no new thing for the VSG team at Fortnum & Mason, where the company has been the sole provider of security services for more than eight years.
"Naturally, as a security services provider, our key role in the store is to protect customers and staff as well as the premises and stock," said Dave Fussey, VSG's National Retail Manager for the Fortnum & Mason contract. "But most of the work is, in fact, related to customer service, and all of our team members see positive customer interaction as an essential part of their work."
"For example, our staff are usually the first point of contact for customers coming into the store, so they effectively act as meeters and greeters. They have extensive product training so that they can assist customers to find exactly what they're looking for."
Security Officers at the store also wear dark suits rather than uniforms to reinforce their customer-friendly approach. The result of these measures is that, to customers and staff alike, the members of the VSG team very much appear as an integral part of the Fortnum & Mason team, rather than being employees of a separate security organisation.
The high profile nature of the store and its central London location give rise to many special challenges for the VSG security team. They must be prepared, for example, to handle VIP and royal visits, often at short notice. Yet they must also be able to respond immediately and effectively to events such as public demonstrations.
|Concern for the quality of customer experience is no new thing for the VSG team at Fortnum & Mason|
Furthermore, though the store is by no means a regular target for shoplifters, when incidents do occur they almost always involve miscreants who are sophisticated in their approach and methods. Since there are many physically small items of high value on sale, it is particularly important that their attempts at theft are thwarted effectively.
In order to meet these challenges and to fulfil its unique customer-facing role, VSG gives special attention to the selection, training and presentation of the staff working on the contract. Only candidates of the highest calibre are recruited, and then they are provided with comprehensive training that covers not only standard security procedures, but also fire marshal duties and first aid - The VSG training programme also includes product knowledge covering all of the store's many lines.
The latter in particular is greatly appreciated by customers. For example, in a recent incident, a customer collapsed while shopping in the store. Not only were the VSG team able to come to her immediate assistance, they were also able to determine that her condition was not serious, and accompany her to a taxi. For this prompt and efficient action, the team members involved have been recommended for an award.
The high profile nature of the store and its central London location give rise to many special challenges for the VSG security team
So successful is this co-operation with the police, and the other security activities implemented by VSG, that Fortnum & Mason experiences a gratifyingly low incidence of crime, especially when compared with other central London retail outlets.
"Our objective is always to give our customers the best possible shopping experience in a safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment," said Frank Feltham of Fortnum & Mason, "and there's no doubt that the services provided by VSG play a big part in helping us to achieve this. The company has tailored its services so that they exactly match our sometimes unusual needs, and it always delivers those services efficiently and with the highest level of professionalism."