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Exceeding Expectations

If there is a positive to come out of the recession it is how it has effectively acted as a wake-up call for companies to place a greater emphasis and urgency on responsive customer service.

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If there is a positive to come out of the recession it is how it has effectively acted as a wake-up call for companies to place a greater emphasis and urgency on responsive customer service. While downsizing has made this difficult to execute, managers and employees alike have realized how crucial it is for attracting new and retaining existing customers. I have some new intelligence on what security clients are looking for but first I want to share a brief customer service experience with you.

On a recent business trip I arrived at the airport faced with the prospect of having to wait on an exceedingly long bag check line despite having checked in and paid ahead of time online. I flagged someone down who had emerged from a door behind the counter and asked if anything could be done. She told me to discreetly slip her my bag, which I did, so no one would be the wiser. When she gave me the tag I attempted to hand her money for her trouble. She refused it and said, “No thank you, I am just doing my job.” Imagine, being helpful with no ulterior motive - that’s customer service!

As a security systems provider, what makes you a hero in the eyes of your customers? That’s a question posed as part of SSI’s 2010 Commercial End-User Study (see page 32). In short, it’s about being knowledgeable, accessible and responsive, providing customized solutions, and doing things right the first time. More specifically, what follows is a sampling of what security directors/managers want:

  • Always     available via cell phone when needed.
  • Able     to understand my needs and translate it into a cost-effective and workable     solution.
  • Ability     to translate techno-speak into plain English.
  • Competent,    does the job economically, can relate well and has foresight for growth.
  • Active     partner in not just understanding my issues but also working to provide     solutions.
  • Able     to work in open architecture on numerous systems and provide integration     solutions that are easily maintained.
  • Makes     my problems their own. If I call at 10 p.m. with a major system problem I     don’t want to hear, ‘I’ll have someone look at it in the morning.’
  • Take     the time to make sure my staff is fully trained on the equipment they have     installed. And when they extend the warranty by a month or two if things     fail right after it expires.
  • The     know-how to make a system user-friendly for the personnel who will use the     devices.
  • On     time, on budget, with few callbacks.
  • Working     beyond the scope of the project and giving greater value.
  • Able     to understand a customer’s corporate climate and culture, and adapting to     meet those needs. A do-it-right-the-first-time attitude from top to bottom     and easily reachable with a quick response on queries.
  • Willing     to provide advice and direction without charging a high price or expecting     something in return.
  • More     interest in solving the problem than dumping inventory.
  • Able     to deliver a turnkey system without complaints or excuses.
  • Ability     to match product/technology with customer requirements without going overboard.
  • Ability     to cover the majority of design issues without further research.
  • When     they know your company and help you find the best solutions and suggest     new technology or advancements for current systems.

Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine has spent more than 11 years with SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION. He can be reached at (704) 663-7125 or




Article Topics
Business Management · Between Us Pros · Business Tools · Customer Service · Recession · 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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Between Us Pros, Business Tools, Customer Service, Recession


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