Personal Safety Specialist Jobs

The emergence of online vacation rental platforms (OVRPs) which link renters directly with owners of rental properties has given rise to a number of personal safety issues. These may involve either the guests or the hosts, or both. To address these issues, online platform companies have created the new position of PERSONAL SAFETY SPECIALIST.

What are Working Conditions for Personal Safety Specialists?

The duties of the personal safety specialist are performed online, so the place of work will normally be in the person’s home.

A personal safety specialist receives and deals with reports of personal safety incidents in the capacity of first responder. These may involve incidents such as:

  • Personal safety threats
  • Domestic violence involving either hosts or guests
  • Suicide and self-harm
  • Child exploitation
  • Assault and battery
  • Sexual assault
  • Drugs activity
  • Human trafficking

When an incident is reported, the caller is likely to be highly agitated, so the personal safety specialist must exercise great restraint when responding. He or she must call into play expert understanding of threatening situations – reacting decisively, yet calmly; communicatingtrustworthiness and empathy over the phone; and working to mitigate the negative impact for the reporting victims and restore their status quo as quickly as possible.

To resolve a tense situation, the personal safety specialist must use negotiation and conflict resolution skills without the benefit of face-to-face contact. Therefore excellent interpersonal and communication skills via phone and email are essential, as is the ability to maintain strict confidentiality of any sensitive information that may be shared.

What do Personal Safety Specialists Do?

The personal safety specialist carries out most duties autonomously, but he or she is also a member of the online platform’s Personal Safety Team, which provides back-up support when needed.

The duties of the personal safety specialist are:

  • To monitor and flag inappropriate online content
  • To be accessible in real time to respond to clients’ reports of personal safety issues through a direct IVR (interactive voice response) channel
  • To assist with escalated issues and initiate the user dispute request process for personal safety incidents and related property damage cases
  • To facilitate the investigate process for cases involving complex damage, trauma or personal harm
  • To document the incident and the investigations through comprehensive written reports
  • To verify facts, negotiate empathetically, and reach effective resolutions consistent with company policy
  • To mitigate financial and reputational impact on the online platform brand

The personal safety team works to educate hosts and guests on how to maintain security and safety. The personal safety specialist works with trust and safety support teams to develop and enhance internal policies, processes and tools and prepared educational materials.

If a personal safety incident also involves property damage, such damage is normally covered by insurance and the incident is simply referred to the insurance company. However, the personal safety specialist may step in and offer mediation services if the client needs it.

Desirable qualifications for becoming a personal safety specialist include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in the humanities or social sciences, or equivalent relevant experience
  • Fluency in more than one language
  • Experience in e-commerce customer service
  • Experience handling personal injury or property damage issues
  • Background in advocacy, crisis management, mediation
  • Background in emergency services
  • Background in online fraud detection and investigation
  • Ability to learn and adapt to new technologies