Employment and placement in the private security industry has increased in the recent decades,
consequently increasing public interaction in the service delivery process (Schreier & Caparini, 2005).
Though their primary role is to ensure safety, private security guards are perceived differently across
the globe. There are two main aspects of satisfaction, namely; customer-based and the general public.
Customers in this industry are clients- individuals or organizations- who receive specialized security
services such as executive protection, body-guarding, property protection, and surveillance and
monitoring. Increase in industry growth points to increasing positive attraction and satisfaction with
services rendered by private security companies. On the other hand, the general public, who are either
protected or barred from accessing various places, has divergent perspectives based on interactive
experiences with private security officers. However, perspectives are dependent on the type of service
in context, nature of interaction, geographical setting and the frequency of service observation (De
Kim, Lee & Jo (2012) categorizes client customer satisfaction based on goal
achievement/merits, competence, quality of services rendered and cost effectiveness. The present
increase in demand for private security services translate to positive client perceptions. Individuals and
organizations are seeking help from private security services to explore various security dimensions
and issues diligently. Private security companies are strict in achieving their targets and presenting their
clients with the exact services they request. The amounts paid by private contractors such as state
governments, corporate organizations and individuals for security services have more than doubled in
the past decade (Van Steden & Sarre, 2007). Firms handle private assignments with care, in order to
build a good profile, make adequate money and enhance their expertise. This way, they are able to
successfully complete assignments such as investigations, security provision and computer solutions
within the agreed timelines.
Professional and executive personal guards are excellent life protectors. They have adequate
tactical, technical and operational skills to handle an opportunistic threat to their client. VIPs are
adequately satisfied with private security's bodyguards and protection units against theft and criminal
activities. Skills acquired through interagency training ensures that professional bodyguards can scan
and understand threats based on geography and situational safety patterns, to effectively evacuate and
protect their client. This competency score, has greatly enhanced the demand for personal protection
units across the globe. Milliard (2003), believes that customers need security who are quick to respond
to their needs, whether small or big: effective customer care services define satisfaction rates.
Outcomes of give projects also determine the satisfaction of a client, for example, government's foreign
contract to send private military personnel for a specialized operation, or building a high-tech military
vehicle. If the operation is successful, within set timelines, and without legal liabilities, and the devised
vehicle has super technological abilities, then the contracting government is satisfied, and vice versa.
Understanding a client's need and suing their preferences or recommendations to devise a working
strategy for an assignment helps improve customer satisfaction.
According to Argueta (2012) clients analyzed in a security survey showed that more than 75%
consensus with proper understanding of their organizational requirements in enhancing their
satisfaction. Corporate organizations are adequately satisfied when a contracted firm effectively takes
care of security, to allow for smooth flow of operations and production. Client satisfaction has been
greatly enhanced through competitive pricing strategies used by various security firms to promote their
services. Depending on the type of assignment, required resources and the organization's profile,
pricing rates differ across different service deliverers. Finally, quality of services based on knowledge
(education) level, skill competence, absence of legal consequences and timely accomplishments have
attracted more corporate clients (Bures & Carrapico, 2018). Private security organizations are doubling
input resources and promoting professionalism through ethical services. Integrity ensures that clients
are safe, and their property well guarded, therefore improving customer satisfaction. Finally,
managerial elements of a private security firm determines the level of satisfaction to clients. Strategic
management with strict legal compliance is a adhesive quality for customer satisfaction (Mahoney,
2017). Poor business models and management wards off client, and creates low levels of satisfaction
especially due to legal liabilities (White & MacLeod, 2008).
General Public's Perspective
The general public has a more in-depth interaction with security guards, in shopping malls,
institutions such as banks, and in travel, e.g. airport security (Bures & Carrapico, 2017). The public
creates perspectives and attributes satisfaction from individual observation and interaction with private
security officers and their services. The general public also comprises of aspiring individuals, who
based on their understanding of the industry, would like to join the industry. Aspects observed by the
general public include; professionalism, efficiency, conduct or behavior, and the importance in
designated settings. According to Prem (2018), public perceptions have changed over the years due to
enhanced professional training of security guards, increased salaries and wages, and their positive
impact on public safety.
Professionalism in service delivery, especially with security guards, has become a central point
to the public image. Most people still harbor concerns on the ethical and professional qualities of local
security guards. In most scenarios, the guards are portrayed as invasive elements to privacy,
convenience and personal liberty (Kenworthy, 2010). For example, accessing a shopping mall or a
restaurant requires a body check, for weapons and illegal items. Enhanced surveillance in such places
also infringes personal privacy through around-the-clock monitoring, hindering convenience to
personal activities. Other public opinions are based on the kind of policing the private security guards
use to control human traffic and guide organizational processes. The social control effect by “rough”
guards whose motivation is strict abidance to set rules, regulations and guidelines. In a security study
conducted in the United States, half or the respondents claimed to feel safe when they saw security
guards around, while 42% felt sensitive is the same situation. Friendliness score was also split amongst
respondents at 50% positive (Gill, 2015). The study involved structured questions to examine citizen
satisfaction, both consumers and the general public. Studied elements included safety perspective when
guards are around, public sensitivity, politeness, individual and organizational conduct, education and
training, competence in complex situations, honesty and effectiveness in property or life protection.
On the negative, the public in another study conducted in Singapore showed public
dissatisfaction with the levels of education, training, ability to make helpful decisions when faced with
complex situations, and individual integrity. 53% were not sure about integrity in the industry, claiming
that some are sincere while others are dishonest. Only 20% of respondents in both studies had full
confidence with the service delivery process, and would trust security guards with their lives and
property. 38% disagreed on the same, while 42% were not sure (van Steden & Nalla, 2010) These
statistics show the imbalance in public perceptions on satisfaction, mainly derived from past
experiences and first-hand observations. Most public respondents believe that with proper recruitment
(educated personnel), training and better organizational approaches, private security services can be
revolutionized to effectively succeed in the mandated roles of property and life protection. Otherwise,
over 50% of surveyed citizens in Netherlands will still harbor negative perceptions and stereotypes,
which effect their interaction with security guards, and ultimately hinder public safety maximization
(Chisholm, 2018). In other aspects such as private military deployment, cyber crime protection and
other computer solutions, the public has shown increased support to their services. They feel contented
with both contactual and humanitarian deployment to war-torn zones and in fighting insurgency. Just a
small number of people who pitch leg gal and human right issues, related to general military deploy, as
private services are only used to reinforce state forces.
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