Why Handwritten Thank You Cards Are Part of the Security Mission

Mission Protection’s customer-centric business strategy helped earn the company an SSI 2020 Installer of the Year runner-up honor.

It was another incredibly impressive showing for SSI’s Integrated Installation and Installer of the Year Awards. Read about the winners and runners-up throughout the month of July by visiting the Best of the Best page.

The inspiration to establish Mission Protection Systems arose by twist of fate in 2006 after Larry Tracy came across a travel magazine article that detailed extensive, years-long thievery at historical California Missions.

Something had to be done to quash the rampant pilfering of centuries-old, priceless artifacts at the chain of 21 Spanish missions, none of which had funds to install security systems. Tracy — a 2008 SSI Hall of Fame inductee for his introduction of cutting edge sensor technology — started with a massive donation of equipment and labor to Mission San Juan Bautista, and from there Mission Protection Systems was born. He went on to donate the installation and monitoring of intrusion alarms and video surveillance systems in a dozen missions.

From its corporate office in Oroville, Calif., located about 65 miles north of Sacramento, today the company installs and services accounts across a range of market niches including commercial, healthcare, industrial, agriculture, retail, self-storage, manufacturing, education and some residential customers.

In a high-tech world, the company maintains customer relationships in a decidedly low-tech manner, explains Tracy’s daughter, Susan Smith, who has served as director of sales and marketing since joining the business in 2016.

“Some may call it old fashioned, but I still believe in sending every customer a handwritten thank you card on nice stationary after they sign a contract with us or as a ‘thank you for your time’ after a phone conversation or in person visit we may have had,” she comments. “Thank you cards have become a thing of the past and most people comment they can’t remember the last time they received a handwritten card in the mail. The personal touch of a handwritten card tends to make people remember you.”

One of the benefits of being a small installing security contractor — Mission Protection staffs a “small but mighty team of nine,” Smith describes — is the ability to build and maintain close relationships with each customer.

“Just a few months ago, one of our small commercial customers had an actual break-in at his business. The central station could not reach him, so they contacted Larry,” Smith explains. “Larry drove to the customer’s house at 6:30 a.m. and knocked on the customer’s door until he woke up. They both drove to the customer’s business together and Larry stayed with him throughout the process of filling out the police report, and helped him board up his window.”

That level of care instills in clients the sense and trust they can call on Mission Protection at any time with a concern or question, says Smith who is also closely involved in customer service. “If I cannot personally be there at the final walk thru of a finished installation, I call the customer within 24-48 hours to see how their system is working out and if they have any questions,” she continues. “I then reach out with an email or text at 30 days, 90 days and 180 days. As the one-year mark approaches, I reach out to customers to update their emergency call list and offer them certain services such as CCTV maintenance.”

During the past few years, Mission Protection has experienced extensive growth by focusing on large commercial and industrial jobs that other integrators pass over because of the size and complexity of the systems, Smith says.

“We have honed in on staying ahead of trends and innovation within the security industry while staying true to our business model despite disruption in our industry. We have seen an increase of sales by offering custom product solutions tailored to suit each of our different customer’s diverse security needs, instead of offering the typical cookie cutter security system.”

Despite challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Smith is nonetheless bullish on 2020 and the company’s prospects, given their attention to executing a customer-centric business strategy.

“Mission Protection is busier than ever,” she says. “The need for custom security solutions has never been greater. We expect to see our largest year to date.”

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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for latimes.com. Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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