Research by Barnes Associates shows installing and monitoring companies that effectively optimize business management software tend to grow recurring monthly revenue at almost twice the rate of the industry average. This is particularly the case for managers that deploy platforms specifically developed for security operations, such as the popular SedonaOffice suite of modular programs that encompasses everything from sales to installations to service and more.
Regardless of the specific solution, however, the most critical quality those successful companies share is a commitment to leverage the tools available to them. This is evident in their management of the two departments that often present the biggest cash-flow problems for security companies: installations and service.
Within the context of a five-step plan, managers of three leading security firms discuss their top challenges and strategies to best coordinate processes and practices in these departments. Plus, sidebars cover the benefits of GPS vehicle tracking and how to sell more service contracts.
Managing Techs in the Field
For a lot of successful companies, giving technicians the ability to manage themselves is becoming a powerful practice. More and more companies are equipping field personnel with tablets, laptops and smartphones, devices that are quickly becoming indispensable tools because of how efficiently they allow an entire organization to leverage a tech’s time with a customer.
“We took a couple of years to really think about whether all technicians needed smart devices,” says John Wrzesinski, operations manager, Safe Systems of Louisville, Colo. “And the reduction in price was a big factor in our implementation. Now, our technicians have smartphones and iPads, and work off electronic timesheets.” Safe Systems’ service and installation departments went paperless four years ago. Technicians now check in and check out of jobs electronically.
The use of these devices also allows technicians to work off live schedules, bill customers onsite, reliably communicate notes and so much more.
Melissa Brinkman, COO at Custom Alarm of Rochester, Minn., says: “With our technicians we use various aspects of the SedonaOffice modules such as the Service FSU module to allow them and our service dispatcher to have real-time updates as to what ticket they are in and what they have next on their schedules. We also have smartphones with the ability for our technicians to take photos if they need to further explain to someone what they are working on and request additional help and/or perspective on how to best resolve for the customer.” Brinkman notes that all of the company’s trucks have GPS devices installed to help with scheduling, job management and other activities (for more, see the GPS sidebar at right).
The average technician does not necessarily consider worrying about what’s in the best interest of the customer or the business in their job description. So the key is to provide tools that help them do their jobs and cut down on the amount of paperwork they have to fill while establishing constant communication with the home office. The manager can know where they are at, where
they’re going, what they did, what parts they used and much more without having to ask.
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