LOSS PREVENTION HEADQUARTERS
A specialised publishing operation in The Metivta of Ottawa, LPHQ is organized to research, write, and teach loss control and prevention. LPHQ publishes speciality media strongly influenced by learner needs. Such media is intended for use by two niche “in-house” users:
- security professionals
- community-based leaders responsible for security
This manual is written for community-based volunteers and volunteer leaders.
Assurance, Risk Management & Loss Prevention
A subscription program to LPHQ security and loss prevention services, ARM-LP implements…
Security of Data
Security of Information
Security of People
Security of Space
Security of Systems
Security of Venue
Communities who adopt ARM-LP programs must comply to one or more LPHQ Standards. An organization who adheres to the Standard(s) is authorized to use one (or more) LPHQ Trustmarks.
The Member Service Qualification
Member Service Qualification is a personal membership level in The Metivta of Ottawa for members of ARM-LP.
Signified by use of the White Star of David, ARM-LP’s Member Service Qualification teaches learners advanced member service skills that stress safety, security, and loss prevention.
MSQ Membership Roles. Jobs or positions that have a specific set of expectations attached to them are called roles. Your role is called member service officer.
MSQ Membership Goals. A planned outcome with at least one defined objective is a goal. ARM-LP sets two such outcomes for its MSQ learners:
- You will complete MSQ I
- You will complete MSQ II
Everyone who provides safety or security services needs good service skills. This LPHQ training module stresses service leadership. The member service qualification is the first part of Core Competencies in Member Service. Community-based organizations have a different bottom line than most businesses.
Member service is an essential marketing skill for security professionals — and you are a security professional when you are visibly present in your community. Security, however, is not what we usually focus on here. This is a member service course, not a security course.
Any activity a business or community undertakes to reduce or eliminate a preventable loss is called loss prevention. Member service is a form of loss prevention: it considers policies, practices, and procedures that organizations use to preserve revenue or retain members.
It is simple for a business to prevent (though not to eliminate) loss: display the goods in a cabinet, tag them, connect them to an alarm, and so on. It is not that straight-forward for an organization, which relies on loyalty far more than businesses do.
Member service officers inspire confidence in a community’s members. Confident members renew their membership, and they bring new members in. Membership loyalty is called retention, and this relies on the confidence that members have in the community. Member service is an essential skill in organizations because the non-profit bottom line is more fragile than the bottom line of even the most competitive business sectors.
Defining Member Service
A form of interpersonal communications, member service requires us to…
- communicate effectively
- create a positive impression
- develop and maintain service standards
- ensure planning supports superb member service
Distribution & Communications
Both the gift economy and the market economy are traditional ways to distribute goods and services. Goods and services are exchanged in a gift economy with no agreement about what constitutes a fair price. Monetary gain is the basis of the market economy. The modern versions on these economies are often called the voluntary sector and the business sector.
Client or Member?
A client is someone who purchases goods or services from a vendor. Purchasers who frequently return to the same seller establish a habit that allows for sustained commerce with people who are known and trustworthy.
A member is someone who joins a social group or organization. A company without share capital, called either an organization or a community in this document, has members. A company with share capital is called a business. This module does not consider businesses.
Clients and Members
Clients and members are people who need assistance.
Speaking generally, they are the reason anyone has a job. Clients (including members in this context) are of two types — internal or external. People who come into the shop, for example, are external clients. People inside the shop are also sometimes clients — when, for example, Dan in sales needs to know something about the newest product, he calls Sheila in distribution. Dan, in effect, becomes Sheila’s client.
Listening is the difference between good service and bad service.
“Seek to understand before you are understood,” Stephen Covey’s understated ideal (and Habit 5) in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is the very essence of member service.
Noise vs Rapport
For our purpose here there are four types of noise to consider:
Psychological. Stereotypes, biases, prejudices, or assumptions that limit or prevent us from understanding someone else’s needs
Environmental. Noise caused by normal day-to-day urban activities — traffic, industrial activities, blaring music, sirens, flashing lights…
Physical. Noise caused by other normal day-to-day activities: background conversations, background music, acknowledging someone outside the conversation
Semantic. Noise occuring when the sender uses technical language the receiver cannot understand clearly (if at all). This usually occurs when the sender assumes what the receiver knows.
Noise is a barrier to communications. It is the opposite of rapport. Rapport occurs when you…
- Greet someone sincerely — only psychopaths can fake sincerity
- Make the member feel welcome and comfortable in your presence
- Ensure that the member feels important and valued
Your personal sincerity in every member service encounter will be noticed and appreciated. Your confidence will inspire confidence in others. People who have confidence in each other can work out service challenges effectively.
You establish rapport when you…
- Acknowledge someone
- Attend to immediate needs if you cannot yet give someone your complete attention
- Stay available to the person even as you continue with the other matter
- Make eye contact as culturally appropriate
- Keep alert and aware of the person’s needs
Bespoke means made for a particular client or member.
Attitude means point of view.
Platitude means cliché.
Attitude is important to member service. Good attitude is rooted in personal confidence. Confident member service officers are consistent, organised, and
Know about the organization and are willing to learn more. You will…
- Understand the body of knowledge and are willing to make it better
- Are good interpersonal communicators
- Can play more than one role on the team
You must acknowledge someone to properly greet them — no matter how busy you are. You must smile, identify yourself, enquire how you can assist, and then give him (her) your complete attention — no matter how crummy you feel. Properly greeting people is the essence of communicating effectively. Effective rapport becomes a mutually respectful conversation. It imposes a structure on what otherwise might be a litany of complaints or abuses. Your rapport skills open the way to further communication. Effective rapport invites questions and answers rather than requires them. It encourages your silence to encourage their message.
You have established effective rapport when you can …
- Ask open questions
- Ask closed questions
- Get thoughtful answers to your questions
- Reflect on facts rather than feelings
- Paraphrase what the other person says
- Check to ensure you understand what the other person says
Everyone remembers how we say something even if they forget what we said.
How we speak is called tone. Tone is defined by culture. People speak to each other differently, for example in Montreal, New York or Israel, and what’s apppropriate in one place may not be so in another. Always keep this important rule in mind —
WHAT I HEAR IS NOT
NECESSARILY WHAT YOU SAID
How I speak and how I use my body are closely aligned. The empty white space beneath the red band in the image has meaning, it reminds us that there is no distinct place where tone ends, and body language begins.
It is human nature in our culture to…
- Speak loudly when we’re upset
- Speak quickly when we’re nervous
- Speak slowly when bored or tired
- Speak warmly when friendly
We also play with our words. We use slang, for example, to make ourselves different than other people. This is frequently a barrier to communication — and it is also incredibly rude.
To effectively communicate with your voice, avoid clichés and speak naturally, as if you were with friends in a coffee shop. Surveys tend to indicate that consumers prefer a “casual” tone when contacting client service. That’s sensible, but not always appropriate.
Context is important. Is the matter sensitive? Casual attitudes in such instances are likely to be interpreted as condescending.
Culture is important. The 19th century British playwright Oscar Wilde noted “We have everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language.” This acute observation applies even more so when you relate to someone who does not speak English as a first language.
Contact Management Skills
Member service officers need good contact management skills. The contact centre is the modern central place used to manage contact with members, clients or clients. A merger of the reception desk and the mailroom contact centres handle both written and oral communications — emails, faxes, social media, telephones, and text messaging.
A member service officer is a visible presence. In effect he (she) is a personal contact centre. Member service officers are very important contact managers. Contact management skills remain very important because …
- I learn to smile as I establish rapport on the telephone, and
- I learn to smile as I clearly explain myself in writing, and
- I learn to smile as I assist people in person
It is not likely that a member service officer will be confined to a telephone — but phone skills are also oral skills, and good phone skills will help you generally speak to people. More so, in fact, because you have the advantage of seeing who you’re speaking with. It’s a double-edged sword, though, because they can also see you. An angry look makes it impossible to effective serve others.
Form letters have a place, but not for member service officers. Some of your service interventions may require formality, though your friendliness and willingness to assist must be evident.
Oral and written contact management skills inspire confidence. These skills compel you to follow-up in a timely way, and each skill will …
- Establish that you care for the client or member with a sincere greeting
- Leave a lasting, positive impression of competence
- Tell the member something useful
- Invite them back
- Establish that you care for the client or member with a sincere signature
Dignity is personal conduct that values other people. It is inherent, an inalienable right — everyone has the right to be valued.
Respect is a social reward earned by individuals based on the experience, strength and hope they bring to their interpersonal relationships.
Member service cannot occur unless both the member and the member service officer respect each other. Human experience sadly knows many ways to violate dignity. Here are several…
Humiliation is any act that attempts to diminish someone else’s self-worth
Objectification treats people as things
Degradation is a process to worsen or weaken someone else’s quality of life
Dehumanization treats people as animals
The Dignity & Respect Campaign lists these seven pillars of dignity:
(1) START WITH YOU – We all have different backgrounds and vastly different experiences from one another. These experiences have shaped how you have come to see the world, as well as how you react to certain situations. Knowing these factors about yourself can go a long way in your ability to interact with others and treat them with dignity and respect. Know your strengths as well as you know your weaknesses.
(2) SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF –
Become mindful of how you respond. Once you fully understand yourself, it is crucial to know how others might perceive you. Does your humor upset others around you? Do you find yourself making jokes or casual comments that cause others to wince? This type of “harmless” behavior might not mean much to you, but often it can resonate with other people in deeper ways. Be sensitive to others and aware of your own actions. Hold yourself accountable. Intent is one thing — impact something else.
(3) BUILD CULTURAL AWARENESS – Cultural awareness does not simply involve learning about other cultures or belief systems. Building cultural awareness means you work towards accepting those differences. By understanding these differences and welcoming them into your communities or circles, we start to drop the barriers.
(4) FIND COMMON GROUND – Yes: it is true that you might not understand another person’s opinion, and you might strongly disagree with it. But does that mean you disagree with that person entirely? Chances are very high that you have something in common with him or her. It could be a small thing (perhaps you both have children), or it could be something you didn’t expect (perhaps you have the same favorite author). Or maybe you and this person share a common passion that could spark a collaboration or partnership down the road. You won’t ever know until you try – until you set aside differences and look for the commonalities.
(5) JOIN THE TEAM – How to create teams that respect individual differences? Teams do not function at full capacity unless everyone is involved. Just as two heads are better than one, a team or group in which everyone is engaged and contributing is better than one or two individuals excluding the rest. It is true that these types of interactions can be difficult to cultivate, which is why it takes everyone’s effort to involve others. Work to find the strengths of your teammates and figure out the best ways to encourage and inspire each member.
6) LEAD THE WAY – How to be inclusive with every person, in every interaction, in everything you do, every day? If each one of us waited for someone else to step up and be the first to lead an initiative, how many initiatives do you expect would get started? The truth is that It is everyone’s responsibility to take charge and make an impact. This impact can be as small as an effort to smile at everyone you pass on the street. This is called inclusivity.
(7) DO THE RIGHT THING – How to do your part to make your organization a better place? Don’t do the easy thing – do the right thing. We all have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. Don’t underestimate yourself or how much acting out of dignity and respect can impact the world.
We all have different backgrounds and vastly different experiences from one another. These experiences have shaped how you have come to see the world, as well as how you react to certain situations. Knowing these factors about yourself can go a long way in your ability to interact with others and treat them with dignity and respect. Know your strengths as well as you know your weaknesses.
The Subject Matter Expert
Subject matter experts are member service officers with a solid understanding of marketing and especially of service marketing. This background is essential to loss prevention professionals, and member service is a type of loss prevention. Don’t mimimize this. Your community is a retail marketer. People attend markets because they need something.
People attend your community for the same reason. They want to be served, and they want resolution when the service they request does not meet expectations. We will learn more of this in Unit 2, the Member Service Qualification in Primary Security.
A Syllabus for Impressive Member Service
Module 1 introduces Tier 1 training. Learners will successfully complete Module 1 when they know how to…
(1) Effectively distribute and communicate member service
(2) Understand standards
(3) Effectively manage contacts face-to-face, in writing, or on the phone
(4) Maintain dignified behaviours, and
(5) Become a subject matter expert