SSI’s annual Best of the Best issue (July 2013) includes profiles of seven of the industry best-run installing security contracting companies. My interviews with executives and managers from runner-up Protection 1 covered much ground not included in print. Following is the second of a few bonus excerpts, with P1’s Jamie Haenggi here addressing business and sales & marketing stategies. Be on the lookout for more online extras from P1, as well as other Installer of the Year and Integrated Installation of the Year winners and finalists.
What business practices and strategies does Protection 1 deploy to achieve its success?
Jamie Haenggi, Protection 1 Chief Marketing & Customer Experience Officer: We’ve made no secret that we are a data-driven company. Our “best practice” is to measure everything, hold people accountable and change things up when the opportunity/need arises. In the call centers, we track every call, the reasons behind each call and rate each interaction. Our call center plays a front line role in capturing and disseminating data. Each day our report card from the previous day is sent to all levels of the management team showing how each department performed the previous day related to longest call waiting, average speed of answer, productivity and alarm acknowledgment. In the field, we measure how quickly, accurately and satisfactorily we provide service and installs. Our reports show how many calls we did, how accurately we did them and how many times we had to go back to fix something. On the sales side, we are able to see line item detail on all of our transactions each day. Anyone can look at the activity of our consultants on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
In all areas of this customer-impacting data, we are very transparent with our employees so they know exactly what is going on. This helps tremendously with our overall customer experience because everyone is on the same page. Additionally, our report card is shared with customers or potential customers to show how we measure each customer experience. Our service levels are visible to customers, which makes it critical that we achieve and maintain our goals, ensuring a great customer experience day in and day out. When something goes wrong, our call center alerts an appropriate team to address each issue immediately. Issues with the data are automatically communicated via actions in Mastermind. All concerns about the “customer experience” are reviewed in detail and feedback is provided to the call center agent who handled the event. We see each event as an opportunity for improvement.
In addition, because of our unique situation as a security company, our monitoring leadership across all call centers is in constant communication, reviewing data to develop better strategies and constantly looking to enhance the customer experience. Monitoring call center employees are also involved in setting up new accounts or those with complex instructions. This helps us “get it right” from Day One. We keep our data software updated through systematic upgrades and use of the latest technology to keep us informed and efficient. In this way, we provide the customer with the information that is needed in an expedient manner, showing respect for their time and thus improving the overall customer experience. By logging and maintaining various data, we are able to spot trends and areas that may need improvement. All of the eSuite services our company offers are in direct response to needs that we learned of via call center intelligence and end-user research sessions. Protection 1 has created many innovative customer solutions by leveraging contact center data and feedback with regard to our customer experience. This learning has helped drive our strategic direction and made us the company known for transformational thinking. The call center serves as our learning lab, and when a problem consistently pops up on our radar we can take action to quickly address it.
How are those business plans executed and adjusted? What are your growth targets and strategies?
Haenggi: Because the customer is the focus of our strategy, our core plan rarely changes. We do look for outliers in performance – both positive or negative – and seek to understand to we can adjust accordingly. We also keep our eyes open to customer needs and market opportunities. That tactic is what led to several of our niche acquisitions as we learned from our customers their desires to move to more managed services. Our growth plans continue to focus on all of our channels – residential, commercial and national accounts.
What sales and marketing techniques are used to support those business plans?
Haenggi: We leverage both a physical sales force in the field to create local, personal relationships with both consumers and business owners, as well as leveraging marketing techniques to build brand awareness and drive lead flow. We have focused primarily on mass vehicles such as TV and radio advertising, featuring Mike & Mike [of ESPN] to build brand awareness among both residential and commercial prospects. We invested our energy in online efforts to drive significant cost via search engine optimization. This is a low cost way to drive lead flow, but requires a significant amount of knowledge and time and effort. Both efforts proved to be highly successful for us in 2012, delivering a 33% increase in consumer brand awareness and over 100% increase in commercial awareness. Plus our lead flow was up 54% year over year.
How are these sales and marketing initiatives measured, reviewed and revamped?
Haenggi: Like everything else, we measure constantly by tracking and then optimizing our performance. We do this daily, weekly and monthly. We have sophisticated tracking the enables us to not just track clicks and leads down to the sale level. This ensures we optimize every dollar spent. We also continually test and learn to further enhance performance and expand results. Again, we look at the data for this. We evaluate cost per initiative as well as the success rates in terms of referrals, sales and appointments set.