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 firstname.lastname@example.org.