Training a Top Priority
A key component in exceeding customers’ expectations is seeing to it that personnel are well trained in a variety of disciplines. Hence, as Smith details, that is a high priority for Per Mar.
“We have two specialists who focus on training new team members, from sales to technicians. Training on technology covers how to maximize our capital investments to assure we utilize the technology to its fullest. The sales development program assures our sales team understands technology, knows our company structure and expectations, and focuses on providing the best customer service possible.”
Highlights of Per Mar’s training program include:
- Annual sales meetings focused on educating and building community/mentoring
- Quarterly regional training to discuss new technology and role play what to do and what not to do
- Training in the field and at company headquarters
- Field training from department teams to assist in paperwork and customer service needs
- Hands-on assistance from general managers to help groom salespeople into sales professionals
Training empowers employees and instills a sense of pride and accomplishment that encourages engagement, loyalty and high morale. Competitive wages, incentives, awards, team-building events and ongoing performance feedback further cements Per Mar’s high retention rate (average of nearly eight years of service).
“During this tough economy we did not lay off one employee, which is something we are proud of and shows our dedication to employees’ well-being,” says Vice President of Electronic Security Brad Tolliver, who joined Per Mar nearly a quarter-century ago.
Giving Back a Million Ways
The dedication to service and goodwill generated within the company and enjoyed by customers is additionally extended to the communities in which Per Mar conducts business, as well as the electronic security industry itself.
The company and its associates are highly committed to charitable endeavors, having collected in excess of $1 million for a variety of causes such as the Red Cross, and participating to promote safety for children through Klaas Kids.
“In 1980, Per Mar Security created a charity fund to give back to the communities where we have a local presence,” says CEO Duffy. “We believe our teams must support the communities in which they live. Our employees contribute and the company matches dollar for dollar. We also encourage our offices to team build and participate in community events, civic organizations, and charitable organizations.”
In terms of the security industry, Per Mar is active in organizations at the local, state, national and international levels.
One general manager currently serves as president of the Iowa Alarm Association while another is vice president of the Wisconsin Electronic Security Association. As a member of the Security Network of America (SNA), Per Mar hosted meetings and provided tours of its headquarters for the group this year.
Strong Base Is Built to Last
The virtues touched on thus far would not mean much if not for a rock-solid foundation of shrewd business management and proven processes to achieve growth initiatives. Productive meetings and effective communication keep everyone within the organization on track to meet profitability projections. Planning, persistence and patience are hallmarks of Per Mar’s strategic vision.
“We make minimal adjustments to our plans and budgets during the year. Minor tweaking is the best approach due to the front-end efforts we put into our planning decisions. We stay the course and ride the ebbs and flows,” says Tolliver. “We plan a minimum 8% growth annually through organic growth and acquisitions. Our goal is to build company value with RMR-based services and focus less on large installations that take resources away from servicing our customers.”
As CIO Turner mentioned earlier, one of Per Mar’s top new revenue-generating priorities is getting its remote video storage service rolling. It will allow end users to stream either primary or redundant video from their DVRs/NVRs to Per Mar’s data center where it can be stored for up to three years.
“We believe this is the wave of the future in our industry and have invested strongly in an infrastructure to support this launch,” says Tolliver.
To raise awareness of this new service and other offerings, the company is ramping up its online presence. Owing to its small, humble roots, Per Mar had traditionally based its marketing on the substance of word-of-mouth referrals as opposed to flashy advertising. And while prudency remains paramount, the firm is finding the Internet to be an inexpensive yet effective medium.
“Over the past year we have converted dollars spent on Yellow Pages to revamping our user-friendly Web site. More and more of our business is coming from the Internet,” says Smith. “We have also launched social media sites including our YouTube channel, which we are most proud of, that offer customers information about our services in a mini infomercial.”
Indeed, the Internet — the most powerful means yet created to instantaneously connect people — seems perfectly suited to Per Mar’s penchant for building personal relationships. To its great credit, Per Mar understands how emphasizing and executing the fundamentals lead to success.
“We want all the business, and we know in order to do this we must provide exceptional service to our customers,” says Tolliver. “We must provide them things that our competition cannot by meeting or exceeding their service needs.”
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