As we embark on this New Year and as economic challenges persist, business owners and managers should be relentless in seeking new opportunities to fulfill organizational goals. While the quest to build a company and increase revenues should always be top of mind for owners and managers, maintaining, protecting and fulfilling the needs of existing customers should be the most important element of any business plan.
We all know that without our existing base of subscribers we would not have a business, let alone achieve any degree of success. We also know that we are in a very unique service industry. Our marketplace depends on the services and expertise that we possess and provide in order to assist our customers with maintaining peace of mind … peace of mind when it comes to securing property, safeguarding the well-being of loved ones, as well as enhancing facets of their everyday lifestyle.
If we as professionals fail in delivering these unique qualities on a daily basis, our customers will eventually go elsewhere to attain them. That puts us in a position that is both a disadvantage and an advantage. It’s a disadvantage because of the nature of our services — we are tested each and every day. It’s an advantage for the same reason as we have many tangible avenues to fulfill our customers’ needs and expectations each day.
Another key element I find many owners and managers fail to acknowledge is that it is much more expensive to create a new customer than it is to maintain an existing one.
Fight Attrition With Better Client Communications
The host of potential services, interactions and touches we have with our customers have grown and continue to grow significantly. Think about how far we have come since the days of the tape dialers, then how revolutionary it was when the digital dialers and the central station came into existence. Now we have IP connectivity, GSM, smartphones, tablets and many other truly connected technologies that keep our customers tied into to their systems and our services.
With our systems and services presented properly, and our customers sufficiently trained, subscribers can be tied into us many times throughout each day. These touch points not only add to the value of what we provide, but customers are far less prone to attrite and most certainly can be relied on to pay their bill on time. Significantly, a connected customer isn’t looking for another provider so long as they are happy with the value you bring to them.
The days when a security company’s only means of communication with its customer base was via quarterly invoices should be considered a distant memory. Today, it is incumbent upon any security firm to be far more proactive in creating multiple touch points with every customer. Everything from the most rudimentary burglar alarm system, to basic or high security video, should be installed with some type of connectivity to a customer’s mobile services. In addition to an interactive platform providing all these elements, it allows for a suitable and respectable platform for dealers to stay in communication and connected to each and every customer with minimal effort.
As an installing security company grows, the task of maintaining quality communications with all customers becomes more difficult to achieve. Besides the invoice stuffers, occasional mailings, E-mail communications and service calls, most companies are not truly in touch.
Consumers will increasingly receive communications from their systems and from other data aggregators such as central stations or portals like AlarmNet and Alarm.com. Providing a gateway for customers to access all information that is important to them from their systems is essential. This will be the rule and not the exception. The informed subscriber is either seeking this now or will be when your competitor demonstrates it for them.
This isn’t about providing your customers with “buzzers and bells.” This is a wholly different element, and a significant one at that, toward providing the complete package of systems, services, communications, and most important, peace of mind for your customers. Maintaining a structure and philosophy that promotes this will serve as a great component in your arsenal to both maintain existing customers and gaining new customers for life.
Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.