The Track Record
This factor does not necessarily mean that newer EP providers cannot meet your security needs, however, it can be difficult to determine their capabilities if they have not been vetted. It is important to keep in mind that as with any profession, some skills are best developed with time. Choosing an executive protection company with an established track record provides some level of assurance that they have successfully navigated numerous protection scenarios since they continue to remain in business.
Questions to ask a prospective EP provider to learn more about their experience include:
- How long has the company been in business?
- What types of challenges has the company faced?
- What are some of the situations that the business has successfully overcome?
- References or examples that are not under a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Commitment to Innovation
Many EP providers simply repeat what everyone else is doing. Others are looking to create their own path, becoming thought leaders in the executive protection space. Choosing a company with an innovative spirit provides greater access to more creative solutions. It also means that you are working with industry leaders—people that other executive protection professionals turn to for advice and support.
Questions to ask in this regard include:
- What makes your company different?
- Has any of your staff ever been recognized as leaders in the security space?
- What does your company do to stay current and progressive in the protection field?
- Is the EP provider discrete or do they advertise their past clients on social media?
Integrity is Their Brand (including Discretion)
EP providers are always willing to discuss their strengths, as well as where their company excels. If they are also willing to share where they can improve, this tells you that they are honest and transparent—even if it may not cast them in a positive light. This helps build trust within your security provider relationship. It also may allay concerns that there are issues that they may not being as candid with you on.
Questions to learn more about the company’s level of honesty and transparency include:
- What could your company do to be better?
- Are you actively working on your shortcomings? If so, how?
- What have you learned from your failures?
- Is a Non-Disclosure Agreement a part of the companies SOP?
The type of service that you will receive from your security provider may be measured by the manner in which they treat and engage with their own employees. This does not merely involve how they handle employee issues, but also whether they are willing to invest in their staff, such as offering them continual training opportunities. By proactively providing their executive protection agents with a high level of skills and training, they can pass the benefits of this training onto you.
Questions you can ask an executive protection provider to learn whether they invest in their staff include:
- How often does your EP team engage in training?
- What type of executive protection training do your agents do, and how often?
- Is training offered by the company or must team members secure it on their own?
We carry insurance on our homes to cover damage caused by fires or floods. We also ensure our vehicles in case we are ever involved in an accident. Your EP provider should also be insured, providing coverage should a situation arise when on your detail. They need a high enough level of coverage to be able to manage the issue financially.
To help you establish an EP company’s insurance status, ask:
- What type of insurance do you have (general liability, auto insurance, an umbrella policy)?
- What are your coverage limits?
- Is there any portion of your service that falls outside insurance coverage?
- Ask for the Certificate of Insurance.
- Does the company have all required licensure?
Not every executive protection provider and client is the right fit. Everyone has their personal preferences. Working with an EP company that is selective in who they take on as clients shows that they are paying attention to fit, resulting in a more cohesive collaboration.
Here are a few questions that can help you learn more about whether the company is selective:
- Do you take on every client who needs your executive protection services?
- Have you ever turned down a potential client? If so, why?
- Have you ever fired a client? If so, why?
Previous Clients Who Are Satisfied with Their Services
With other types of businesses, it is easy to go online and read their reviews. You can quickly learn whether it is the right company for you based on what others have to say about working with them. This is not always as simple with EP providers as our clients do not always like to advertise their protection details. In light of this fact, we can still provide references if asked without violating any client terms. In fact, if you ask for references and the EP company declines by saying that their client lists are private, this is a sign that they may not have satisfactory reviews.
To learn more about how previous clients feel about a particular EP provider, ask:
- May I speak with one of your current or former clients? If so, who are they and how can I reach them?
- What are some common themes that clients have said about working with you?
- Has anyone ever filed complaints against you, such as with the Better Business Bureau?
Can the Company Meet Your Expectations
Your satisfaction with an EP provider hinges heavily on whether their company can meet your expectations. This requires knowing what you want from this type of service. Are you seeking services from a big box conglomerate EP provider, or are you seeking a small, dedicated, and customized type service? This begins with making a list of the expectations that you have of an EP service. Then, based on that list, ask questions that can help you determine if they offer what you want.
It can also be helpful to ask a few questions to help cover areas that you may not realize you wanted to ask about. These types of questions include:
- Is there anything I have not asked you that you think I need to know?
- What do you wish every EP client understood about your services?
- What can I expect if I choose to do business with you?
Learning more about your prospective EP provider is important to being satisfied with the company you choose. Considering these factors can help, asking the above listed questions, as well as paying attention to the company’s responses.