Attitude of Gratitude: Are Your Front-Line Employees Leaving a Good Impression on Customers?

Attribution Busters made 25 calls to random security companies to evaluate their customer service, receiving mostly discouraging feedback.

A couple of times each year, the Attrition Busters team steps out of our daily routine and invests a few days calling around to various security and integration companies to do some due diligence.

We call big national companies and regional providers as well as smaller independent local businesses. We have the same questions for all of them: “I am looking for a security system. Please tell me a little about your company.” What we’re trying to ascertain with these calls is just how skilled front-line employees are at making an engaging first impression over the phone.

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Based on our most recent findings, it is abundantly clear that company owners invest little to nothing in training to educate and mentor employees with ways to make good first impressions or convey attitudes of gratitude. Why can so few front-line employees answer even simple questions when a prospect calls in asking your company to help them give you some of their money?

On this last effort we made 25 due-diligence telephone calls. Out of all of them, only one employee at one independent local security company told us how “grateful” she was for the call before transferring us to a sales person. Astoundingly, one employee at one company thanked us for calling! That leaves 24 small, big and bigger companies that had no attitude of gratitude whatsoever before either ending or transferring our call.

Out of those 25 calls, only six employees were able to answer a few simple questions about the company during our initial call. Questions like, How long have you been in business? What makes you the best choice? Do I have to have a phone line? Do you have 24-hour repair service? And on, and on.


  • 1 said they were “grateful” for the call
  • 1 thanked the person for calling
  • 6 could answer simple questions about the company
  • 5 had someone available to speak at the time of the call
  • 3 said price was the primary reason to do business with their company
  • 4 had well informed inside sales reps available at the time of the call

There were only a handful of companies who even had someone available to speak with at the time of our call. The majority of others asked us to leave messages for someone to call us back. Five were regional providers and one was a national company. Two of the five regionals called us back the same day, one the next day and two never called us back at all. The national company’s sales person returned the call three days later stating he was sorry for not returning our call sooner but was “just too busy” to get to all his voice mails.

Are these people taking customers away from you or winning contracts when going up against you? Unless you’re doing absolutely no sales and customer service training whatsoever, how is this even remotely possible? If you say because of the “low price,” it only puts a spotlight on the fact that you invest nothing in training for your team.

Three front line employees immediately went to price as the primary reason we should hire them. Bear in mind we never asked about price. We asked, “Why should we buy from you?”

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Aren’t they equipped with any number of compelling reasons to choose their company besides low price? By the way, not one of those three could tell us how long the company had been in business nor did they offer to find out from anyone who could. No, not one thanked us for calling or asked if there was anything else they could do for us before we said goodbye.

Only four security companies had well informed inside sales people available to speak with us at the time of our initial telephone call. Three of the four were clearly well trained and motivated. They were engaging, able to make a strong case for their company without talking price or bashing others and were motivated to set up an appointment.

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