Picture the scene – driving down the motorway, you think, You know, I quite fancy a coffee. So, turning off at the first exit, you head for the nearest place you can find for some caffeinated goodness.

After a five-minute drive, you spy a fortress-like structure surrounded by barbed wire and searchlights scoping the outside world, like the eye of Sauron. Above it, a sign reads “Dave’s Delicious Coffees” in large neon lettering.

Erm…this’ll have to do.

Arriving at the premises, you’re made to show formal identification, are strip searched before you enter and receive your Americano from a sneering man hidden behind shatterproof glass. Then, almost instantly, you’re shuffled back to your car by a burly fellow in a bulletproof vest and ordered to vacate the premises immediately.

Yeah, you probably won’t be visiting Dave’s Delicious Coffees again. If anything, Dave seems a bit paranoid about securing his business, to such an extent that it’ll put you off your coffee.

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important to balance security with a polite welcome to your customers.That’s why we’ve come up with these top tips on how to do just that.

The right kind of perimeter

Your perimeter is the first line of defence against intruders and other dangers, but it’s also the first thing a customer sees when they’re approaching your premises.

Just imagine if you had the same barbed wire structure as Dave’s Delicious Coffees – unless you were actively trying to seem threatening, you’d hardly ever receive a repeat client.

The solution? You can still erect a fence, but you simply don’t have to make it look ghoulish. Set up some easy-to-use sliding gates to createa simple entrance and give your fencing a splash of colour to make it warm but still secure.

Subtle CCTV

While some might think a looming set of security cameras making violent whirring sounds is the way forward, you don’t want your business to resemble 1984 2.0.

Security cameras that make themselves known create a climate of paranoia, making employees self-conscious and customers feel like they can’t be trusted.

The solution? Cameras, if you’re willing to invest in modern technology, have become far smallerand can, if correctly placed,monitor your business in an unobtrusive way. They can even be tracked via the internet, meaning you don’t have to invest in a load of bulky screens to keep your camera-eye trained on your business.

Security guards with a smile

So many bouncers and security guards are hired because of their bulk, and arguably a threatening appearance comes with the territory. But, much like the CCTV situation, a guy built bigger than Beowulf and with worse manners is likely to make a customer feel a bit intimidated.

The solution? Train your security guards to greet customers with a smile and, while they can still look like they could pack a punch, they needn’t be looming around like they’ll break the arm of any customer who breathes the wrong way. After all, why shouldn’t customer service extend to how you secure your premises?

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