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20 Ways Into Your Customers’ Hearts

Insights to what makes a security integrator a hero in the eyes of end users.

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Clear, customized and continuous. Those three Cs combined with two more — customer communications — should be at the top of all security providers’ best practices checklists (hey, another C!). Nowhere is this truer than in effective alarm management that minimizes false alarms, and particularly the subsequent false dispatches that fuel friction between the industry and law enforcement. That communication includes thorough training on system use, permitting, immediate follow-up on any issues and proactively checking in with them on a regular, ongoing basis.  

Those factors also weigh heavily among the extensive criteria considered by judges (of which I am honored to say I am one) for the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award. As the linchpin of our Alarm Response Issue, I urge you to check out our PDQ cover story featuring winner Vector Security and runners-up Alarm Detection Systems, Amherst Alarm and Engineered Protection Systems (EPS). As co-founder, SSI is proud of its partnership with the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), Installation Quality (IQ) program and Honeywell Security on this very important industry program.

Additionally packed with features on third-party monitoring, new methods of signal transmission, video and audio verification, partnering with law enforcement and the latest research on burglary deterrence, this issue is indisputably the industry’s most comprehensive alarm management publication. In the spirit of facilitating better customer communications, I have compiled some previously unpublished responses from SSI’s recent Commercial End-User Study. Following is what select respondents wrote when asked what makes a security integrator a hero in their eyes:

  • Allows us to be self-sufficient.
  • Current knowledge on system upgrades, good customer service, transparent in all dealings.
  • Fairly priced, technically adept, outstanding customer service and IT/networking expertise.
  • They are “heroes” when they are educated and trained. Part of this includes codes and compliance, which is rarely found in a company.
  • The industry has compounded things by developing products to install that are quick “peel-and-stick systems,” and devices for recurring revenue. These are weakening security.
  • We have a problem; we make one phone call, problem solved. I understand it may be difficult, but with one call the solution process begins.
  • Understanding our organizational culture, knowing where we are and where we should head.
  • Knows their products and how to resolve issues by bringing in the manufacturer to assist.
  • Being able to communicate with the IT world.
  • Service, available to help even after hours.
  • Knows what they can and cannot do, and communicates those restrictions when they exist.
  • Adaptability … products that do not become obsolete quickly and are interoperable with other vendors’ products. Nonproprietary.
  • Willing to listen and never throws in the towel.
  • Delivering the designed system on time and providing appropriate training once the work has been completed so the system is properly used and key features do not go unused.
  • A willingness to grab a screwdriver BEFORE sticking your hand out.
  • Delivering a finished product that is what was discussed without 100 change orders.
  • Recovery of data after a loss.
  •  Remote response/solution within hours; courteous to unskilled persons.
  • Understands the customer goals, has a clear path to reach them, but remains flexible to address complexities that arise during the process.
  • My integrator is a hero if they are truly my partner. 

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 15 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. Follow him online via the Under Surveillance blog at

Article Topics
Business Management · Between Us Pros · Customer Service · Managing Your Business · Scott Goldfine · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott joined SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in October 1998 and has distinguished himself by producing award-winning, exemplary work. His editorial achievements have included blockbuster articles featuring major industry executives, such as Tyco Electronic Products Group Managing Director Gerry Head; Protection One President/CEO Richard Ginsburg; former Brink’s Home Security President/CEO Peter Michel; GE Interlogix President/CEO Ken Boyda; Bosch Security Systems President/CEO Peter Ribinski; and former SecurityLink President/CEO Jim Covert. Scott, who is an NTS Certified alarm technician, has become a respected and in-demand speaker at security industry events, including presentations at the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Annual Meeting; California Alarm Association (CAA) Summer and Winter Conferences; PSA Security Network Conference; International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC); and Security Industry Association (SIA) Forum. Scott often acts as an ambassador to mainstream media and is a participant in several industry associations. His previous experience as a cable-TV technician/installer and running his own audio company -- along with a lifelong fascination with electronics and computers -- prepared Scott well for his current position. Since graduating in 1986 with honors from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Radio-Television- Film, his professional endeavors have encompassed magazines, radio, TV, film, records, teletext, books, the Internet and more. In 2005, Scott captured the prestigious Western Publisher Maggie Award for Best Interview/Profile Trade for "9/11 Hero Tells Tale of Loses, Lessons," his October 2004 interview with former FDNY Commander Richard Picciotto, the last man to escape the Ground Zero destruction alive.
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