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Make Impressions That Last a Lifetime

A lesson in the true meaning of customer care.

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While the Web, social media, smartphones and tablets are all the rage when it comes to new marketing approaches, they are merely extensions of what drives most security businesses: word of mouth. SSI’s Sales & Marketing Survey shows that, regardless of paradigm shifts during the past five years in how people communicate, the No. 1 source of sales prospects remains referrals. Be it the Stone Age or Space Age, personalized, attentive and effective service continues to be king — only today’s connected masses spread the word faster and farther than ever before. Depending on your company’s performance, that can be leveraged to rule the kingdom … or lead to exile.   

Customer-focused ideology was prevalent among those who selected “other” when asked in the study which incentives are most helpful in closing sales. “Treating the customer like a human being,” “Availability and free support,” “Value-add solutions,” “My word,” “Reputation,” “Honesty” and “Customer service above all else” were among the comments. Unfortunately — much like a guy trying to impress a girl — far too often providers talk the talk but come up short in execution and long-term diligence.

A couple of my recent experiences speak to the profound difference it makes when action supersedes platitudes. Although they did not involve security companies they nevertheless vividly illustrate the point, and also show how entrepreneurial businesses are able to grow their footprints nationally while continuing to prioritize premium customer care.

Jason’s Deli, a nationwide chain founded in 1976, is a favorite restaurant I often take my son to on weekends following his team sports activities. The combination of courteous service, good food, healthy options, fair prices and family friendly atmosphere is enough to get us to hop on the interstate and travel 15 miles — passing up countless other options along the way. However, this eatery really earned my unwavering loyalty during one such visit when I ordered, reached for my wallet to pay and realized I had left it at home. My heart sank, and I thought we had made the trip for naught and my boy would go hungry. But recognizing us as regular customers, the cashier smiled, said not to sweat it, and fetched the shift manager to forgive my bill. It was personal, it was special, and it was unforgettable.

The other amazing experience was with iResQ, an online-oriented Apple repair and upgrade specialist based in Olathe, Kan. I discovered the company while searching for a way to replace the battery in my iPod Touch. After reviewing iResQ’s comprehensive Web site, reading glowing customer feedback and finding the cost was half that of a local brick-and-mortar alternative, I took the plunge. Just 72 hours after I shipped it from my North Carolina home — its progress easily tracked throughout online — the device was repaired and back on my doorstep. Wow!

Shortly after I got it back, however, I noticed the camera did not work. I contacted iResQ via its handy live rep chat feature and sent the unit off to Kansas once more. The very next day, a technician called me to discuss what he had found. He asked if the Touch had been in water and cited some corrosion as the problem. I confirmed it had been submerged (during a canoeing incident), information I intentionally withheld for fear of higher charges. Although it was fixable and the battery repair cost could be credited toward the additional work, the expense approached the cost of buying a brand-new device. So when the tech told me I could opt for a complete refund — meaning the company would receive no compensation despite its efforts — I jumped at the opportunity. Such prompt, reasonably priced, convenient, honest and personalized service will have me forever singing this company’s praises.

Both of these are prime examples of businesses going above and beyond, and having conscientious customer-facing representatives empowered to solve problems that meet or exceed expectations. Is your company delighting customers and providing such unforgettable experiences? Particularly in a competitive landscape where companies like iResQ are rewriting business models, you must fully commit to ensuring your company is a pleasure to deal with. 

Article Topics
Business Management · Between Us Pros · Customer Service · Managing Your Business · Scott Goldfine · All Topics

About the Author
Scott Goldfine
Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration, directing all editorial aspects of the magazine brand in print, electronically, online and in person. The voluminous, innovative and award-winning body of work he has distinguished himself with since joining the publication in 1998 includes groundbreaking research, landmark features, leadership roundtables, high profile case studies, and many industry exclusives. Well versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is a nationally known figure in demand as an industry presenter and subject matter expert to mainstream media. He is responsible for developing many unique products and programs, including the SSI Industry Hall of Fame, Control Panel (industry’s first E-mail newsletter), Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ), Marketing Marvel, Installers of the Year, Integrated Installation of the Year, Security Industry Census, Systems Integration Study, Installation Business Report, Operations & Opportunities Report, Commercial End-User Study and Security’s Fantastic Fleets. Recognized for his relationship building, integrity and lead-by-example ethic, Goldfine is a solutions-oriented team player who advises and collaborates with industry dealer/integrator, consultant, distributor, central station and manufacturer icons, luminaries and executive business leaders on a daily basis. He is also actively involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), PSA-Tec, SAMMY Awards, International Security Conference and Exhibition (ISC), Electronic Security Technology Summit (ESTS), Mission 500, Electronic Security Expo (ESX), ASIS Int’l, Honeywell CONNECT and other supplier conventions. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee and PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council. A certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast, Goldfine graduated with honors from Cal State, Northridge with a management degree in Radio-Television-Film. His professional media endeavors have encompassed magazines, Internet, radio, TV, film, records, teletext and books. Goldfine resides in the Charlotte, N.C., area with his wife, son and three cats.
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Between Us Pros, Customer Service, Managing Your Business, Scott Goldfine

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