Bates Security Puts People First as 2016 SSI Installer of the Year (Small to Midsize Company)

This is the second time Bates has earned the award. The company makes a strong impression on customers and employees alike, resulting in commendable growth numbers.

Local for Leads

On the marketing front, after a successful animated television campaign in previous years, Bates Security’s management decided on a new image that promoted the business more as being a friendly, locally owned and operated provider. All sales collateral, including digital and social media images, were rebranded to correspond. Two new TV commercials were added in 2015 based on a “Local Matters” theme.

After analyzing its Web site traffic for several months, the firm undertook a responsive redesign to make it easier for customers and prospects to access its online services. The company also emphasized digital advertising, investing in pay-per-click alternatives, retargeting ads via Google, deploying video pre-rolls and purchasing display ads on local news Web sites. These efforts resulted in more traffic to Bates’ Web site as well as more leads.

Social media was leveraged as a significant source for leads. The company carried out several campaigns, including #SafetyTipTuesday. Incorporating environmental conditions (i.e. weather), celebrated safety months (i.e. Fire Prevention Month, Crime Prevention Month) and trending news, the #SafetyTipTuesday campaign was well received by Bates’ followers.

“Reviewing our marketing efforts, making smart choices and stripping excess spending has helped us move toward our growth targets and goals,” says Newton. “We review monthly lead numbers, lead sources, Web site and digital metrics. Social media is now one of my favorite platforms to spend marketing money. The type of direct audience you can target with minimal spend is exceptional. The ability to track and accurately measure success on social media is unbelievable.”

Survey Says … Super

Business tools Bates Security deploys to increase sales and productivity include software programs WeSuite, SedonaOffice and SageQuest. The company has also adopted the use of Evernote for archiving digital files into one shared workspace. Each department is held strictly accountable against its approved budget, which helps manage expenses and keep variances minimal.

“The yearly budgeting process and subsequent monthly budget performance review meetings facilitates planning and project prioritization that has been very useful in running the company,” says President Jeremy Bates. “By being better financial managers, we actually have become better business operators. We review each month’s activity to determine what we could have done differently for maximized growth.”

Each new Bates Security customer receives a welcome packet and is encouraged to send back a survey. After the installation has been completed, a follow-up E-Mail provides important online links. The firm has also instituted a program in which each week a field customer service representative visits at least 10 existing customers for a courtesy call. During the visit, the rep updates call lists, administers a survey on the customer’s experience, reviews the system and pro
vides any training, updates signs and decals, and asks for referrals.

Last fall, Bates Security acquired a local company that added more than 1,500 new customers. To smoothly manage the transition, three additional team members were brought on.

Trained and Entertained

From new product training and acquiring certifications to keeping up with industry publications, all Bates team members are expected to continue their education in the security industry. In 2015, managers and select personnel were challenged to read “The Ultimate Question 2.0,” a book about providing great customer experiences, and its Net Promotor Score system was subsequently implemented to the business.

Bates has five full-time fire inspectors on staff, two of which are NICET certified. Annually, representatives from Honeywell, DSC and Bosch train the firm’s internal support and external technician teams, which include 13 Electronic Security Networking Technician (ESNT) certified techs. During 2015, the company also provided customer service training from The Telephone Doctor to its support and technical team members.

Bates employees are expected to continue learning about the security industry through trainings.

Bates Security keeps its personnel engaged and motivated in numerous ways. Each quarter, employees who exceed their job duties with a positive attitude are recognized. They then vie for Employee of the Year, which includes a trophy and vacation package. At quarterly company meetings, positive feedback that management has acquired is read and those employees are saluted with a WOW pin.

Bates hosts several appreciation events during the year, from holiday cookouts at the office to family evenings at the park. During the NCAA’s “March Madness,” University of Kentucky men’s basketball games are shown on TV in the conference, training and break rooms and employees are encouraged to don Wildcats colors. The company facilitates a wellness program that promotes healthy lifestyles and habits, with participation rewards.

Company of the People

For Bates Security, being family and locally owned really looms large in the realms of community and industry service. “We are fortunate that we have a lot of community support and it shows,” says Bates. “Our customer referrals and word-of-mouth advertising continues to be one of our biggest lead sources.”

As an example, the firm was the sole sponsor and had employees onsite for the YMCA’s Lexington Swims program for third-graders. The Special Olympics’ Polar Bear Plunge and its motivation to “toss your boss” into a freezing pool of water resulted in Bates Security raising more than $2,800 for the cause.

In 2015, the company implemented its Casual for a Cause program in which employees pay $5 per month to wear casual attire on Fridays. Participants wear a sticker with a Causal for a Cause logo that corresponds to information found in the lobby for guests to read. This idea was very well received and raised in excess of $1,100 for nonprofit organizations in the community.

In 2015, the company participated in downtown Lexington’s Fire Prevention Festival, giving away balloons and coloring sheets to kids and safety tip packets to parents. When a Bates alarm system results in an apprehension, a company rep attends police roll call to present the officer with a certificate of excellence.

From a security industry standpoint, Bates Security is a member and active participant in multiple local and national trade groups. Jeremy Bates just concluded his two-year term as president of the Sonitrol National Dealers Association (SNDA), and he and his brother, Sales Manager Bryan Bates, are often asked to speak at industry conferences.

When you stack it all up, it’s little wonder so many customers are placing their bets on Bates Security. Talk about a sure thing.

Read Next: Why Vector Security Is the 2016 SSI Installer of the Year (Large Company)

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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