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Investing in Damage Control

Despite how careful an integrator is, sooner or later, you’ll make a mistake, personally or professionally, and it will cost you. The best you can hope for is to reduce the frequency of such mishaps and minimize the damage control when things do happen.

By ·

Everybody screws up. I don’t care how careful you are, how many times you double check your spelling, how many spare house keys you have, how often you hit the “save” key. Sooner or later, you’ll make a mistake, personally or professionally, and it will cost you. The best you can hope for is to reduce the frequency of such mishaps and minimize the damage control when things do happen.

We work with a number of integrators on a variety of projects, and the above axiom holds true here as well. But the way people handle their mistakes is telling for us; we are often more likely to look favorably on the integrator that makes occasional mistakes and responds appropriately over the one that has performed flawlessly. Why? Because Mr. (or Ms.) perfect is going to drop the ball sooner or later, and we don’t yet know how they’ll react.

Case in point: we are currently working with one integrator who is pulling cable on a large project. In areas where the conduit was exposed, the client asked that it either be painted to match the finish or hidden. When we brought that up to the integrator, we were given a lengthy explanation about how they hadn’t priced painting conduit in their proposal, that the client should have known what color it was, and so forth. As the specification calls for installed material be painted to match the surroundings in publicly accessible areas, it ultimately won’t be a problem. Coupled with the fact that the client is holding all the money, the issue is certain to be resolved to the satisfaction of our client.

Meanwhile, halfway across the country we are working with another integrator on a project. There’s been a flurry of E-mails today discussing a problem with a video server not meeting the specification (it doesn’t have the right number of hard drive bays for future expansion) and I just got off the phone with the owner of the company. His first and last question was “How would you like me to handle this?” End of story.

In both cases, the problems will be resolved. But the first integrator wants to be right, and the second integrator has decided to invest in damage control. When there’s a problem, he’ll step up and do whatever it takes to resolve the problem, understanding that he’s scoring points and winning clients. At the end of the day, when someone calls to check references, who do you think is going to win the most praise?


Article Topics
Blogs · Customer Service · Damage Control · Enterprising Solutions · Security Systems Integrators · All Topics

About the Author
Bob Grossman
Bob Grossman has held positions in all areas of the security industry — giving him plenty of opportunity to learn from his mistakes! He has spent time as an end user, responsible for security, surveillance and low-voltage electronics at Bally’s Park Place, a major Atlantic City casino. As a senior project manager for Sensormatic Electronics’ Enterprise Accounts group, he learned first-hand the difficulty in translating ideas into reality while staying on schedule and under budget. He has worked for both Vicon Industries (as vice president of Customer and Technical Services) and American Dynamics/Tyco Safety Products (as director of Product Line Management), with responsibilities that included pre- and post-sales support, project design, product line management, customer service and sales. Bob has authored several articles for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION and other publications and has spoken at numerous industry events both internationally and in the United State. Currently the founder and president of R. Grossman and Associates, a consulting firm, he divides his time between project-based work for large integrated systems and product consulting for a variety of cutting-edge manufacturers.
Contact Bob Grossman: [email protected]
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Customer Service, Damage Control, Enterprising Solutions, Security Systems Integrators

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