2023 SSI Installer of the Year: Excellence Heard LOUD and Clear

LOUD Security Systems consistently delivers at a high level. As SSI’s Installer of the Year, the firm really has something to shout about.

2023 SSI Installer of the Year: Excellence Heard LOUD and Clear

There's no mistaking who's installing your security system when LOUD Security Systems brings its custom van to town.

Action speaks louder than words — even when loud is in the name of your business.

That’s why LOUD Security Systems acts every day to uphold exceptionally high standards throughout the normal course of its operations. That spans from strategic leader-ship to company culture to customer care to industry involvement to community service — leading to LOUD being named the Security Sales & Integration 2023 Installer of the Year.

Founded in 1995 in the basement of his home by company President John Loud, Kennesaw, Ga.-based LOUD Security Systems has grown to employ more than 60 associates and serve in excess of 11,000 residential and commercial customers.

Originally from Boston and with a history that includes being a hockey player, comedy club manager and Delta flight attendant, the gregarious Loud has been highly active in the industry — presently serving as chairman of the Electronic Security Association (ESA).

Loud’s enthusiasm and activism within both the security industry and throughout the firm’s local community has brought him accolades that include the Legends Access Community Champion Award, Kennesaw Citizen of the Year, Mack Henderson Public Service Award and Resideo’s 2022 Medal of Honor.

In addition, the company was formerly a runner-up for Installer of the Year and has received Cobb Chamber’s Small Business of the Year and Atlanta Journal-Constitution Top Workplace recognition.

“By combining ethical work processes and advanced technology, LOUD Security provides quality customer service, peace of mind and enhanced home services with cur-rent, easy-to-use products that individualize the needs of every customer,” says company General Manager Eric Widner.

“LOUD Security did not close any new acquisitions in 2022 but instead chose to focus on existing customer growth and service,” he says.

The fruits of those labors are readily apparent to those in and around the LOUD Security Systems organization. As shown below, the company excelled in customer service, sales and marketing, technology and service offerings, personnel training and satisfaction, and philanthropic pursuits.

Customers Come First for LOUD Security

LOUD Security aims to engage its customers and prospects consistently and often. This approach is geared toward resolving any issues early, addressing upgrade and cost concerns, and keeping attrition to a minimum. Methods of reaching out include:

· Emailing all customers a brief bio with a photo identifying who the tech/sales rep is that will be coming to their home

· Inbound/outbound assessment and scheduling call for installs and service trips

· Technicians calling every install/service when en route

· Scheduling rep calling every service customer two to three days after service

· Calling every new install two days after billing

· Calling customers with designated trouble signals

· Calling every customer that had a dispatch

· Sending a personally signed letter from John Loud to every new customer

· Monitoring online review sites and addressing any issues

“LOUD Security follows up with every customer after every new installation and service call with both written surveys and telephone calls,” says Widner. “Our management team meets weekly to discuss customer cancellations with our in-house customer advocates to search for new ways to save each customer moving forward.”

The company also reaches out to every customer that has had a dispatch within 24 business hours to review the cause and outcome. In this way, LOUD makes sure it is responding swiftly and getting help to customers in need as soon as possible.

As an ultimate measure to assure accountability in delivering premium customer service, each and every person involved in an interaction can bypass any employee to speak directly with John Loud anytime. It’s likely an employee will pull out all the stops to satisfy a disgruntled customer rather than have it escalate straight to the top.

Projecting a Personal Touch

Another part of LOUD Security’s success formula is treating every customer as a real person with real concerns.

“We never want to treat any customer as a number. Instead, they are a vital part of our family,” says Director of Marketing John Bennett.

As mentioned, the company strives to communicate regularly and often throughout all stages of the customer’s involvement.

“Even though our customers have signed agreements, we know that there are often extenuating circumstances that lead a customer to cancel prior to the end of the agreement term,” adds Bennett. “Because of this, we conduct weekly ‘cancellation meetings’ where our management meets with our retention team to review customer situations and offer reasonable solutions.”

Going the extra mile to optimize the customer experience is par for the course at LOUD. As both a customer service and sales initiative, in 2022 the company implemented a new program with its central station (National Monitoring Center) to bring technology to the forefront of what it does.

That took the form of allowing customers to use apps and texting to answer alarm calls, cancel alarms and better engage with their systems and provider. The firm also took steps to better accommodate its workforce so they could continue to solve customer needs.

“LOUD Security implemented remote working policies and updated phone systems,” says Widner. “We also deployed automated task management systems to allow employees to become more productive and streamline processes.”

Tackling Technology Trends

LOUD Security meets with its existing and new vendor and manufacturer partners consistently throughout the year to ensure that its offerings are current. Several company representatives attend industry trade shows to actively search for and add new services.

“Primarily we have found that we stay on top of technology by staying involved with others in our industry,” says Widner. “For LOUD, dealer networks, trade conventions, collaborative conference calls and partnering with other dealers have provided insights and solutions to which we might not otherwise have had access.

“As John Loud says a bit tongue in cheek, ‘We do R&D,’ meaning rip-off and duplicate. In other words, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he says.

From LOUD’s management perspective, the value of regularly getting together with other dealers around the country to discover best practices that can then be taken back to the business and be fully implemented cannot be overstated.

“Also, when we do roll out a new service or product, we invite manufacturer reps to come in and get our teams up to speed,” adds Widner. “As they say, no man — or in this case a security dealer — is an island.”

Despite its best laid plans, like almost every security systems dealer, LOUD has been affected by the supply chain debacle.

Management has navigated through it by frequently sourcing new products from new vendors. As necessary, the company has completely changed product lines to meet cus-tomer needs and expectations. At the same time, rising costs have caused the business to evaluate every system sale and tap into new ways to create profitability.

“One of the prominent challenges for us is keeping pace with today’s rapidly changing advances in both security and lifestyle applications,” says Bennett. “We push to find ways to present features and benefits to the younger demographic of homeowners, staying out in front of it by showing them real-world solutions.”

Following Rules of Engagement

LOUD Security is proactive about keeping its company and brand top of mind with its existing and potential customers. This includes making them aware of LOUD’s involve-ment in the community, as well as relevant security tips and concerns, and the provid-er’s latest offerings and promotions.

Techniques utilized encompass frequent social media posts on multiple sites; creating or attending various community events and networking groups; and distributing a company newsletter via email with relevant security tips and company information.

“It’s about education and exposure,” explains Bennett. “We try to leverage our ser-vices through social media, email campaigns and sales promotions. Our reps are trained on the benefits of these products or services and can better promote them and help position us in a way that sets us apart from our competitors.”

Those reps’ sales are measured by internal and organic growth versus other means to ensure that those methodologies are effective and that the business is ultimately successful in hitting the objectives and goals management has set forth.

“It’s not a complicated process for us,” says Bennett. “It’s more about staying on top of the numbers and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Then being ready to change and adapt quickly when necessary.”

Working Toward Team Wins

Keen technologies, appealing services and slick marketing only takes a company so far. At the end of the day, it is about the caliber, competency, and contentment of the people behind it — crucial factors of which LOUD is well aware and consistently exe-cutes upon.

The company’s recruiting practices rely on a mixture of internal recommendations through existing associates, as well as traditional employment advertising online and on social media. Once candidates are hired, they undergo a fine-tuned onboarding process and training commensurate with their innate skills and intended job roles.

Communication, of course, is key. To that end, each department holds regular meetings to ensure that employees are on the same page. To a similar end, interdepartmental gatherings take place as well to help facilitate smooth operations that foster positive customer experiences.

Vendors are brought in on a regular basis to provide employees with top-notch product training. In addition to weekly in-house training, the company brings in experts from the security brands it sells and services, as well as representatives from many of the other specific products and brands within the portfolio.

In this way, technicians and sales staff are able to speak knowledgeably with the customer base.

All that know-how means little if employees are less than fully engaged — and any-thing less than that also results in an employer spinning its wheels due to high turnover. Empowerment is one component of that, and so LOUD encourages employees to be part of the customer conversation and feel that their voice is heard.

“We value each employee’s contribution as an integral part of our success,” contends Bennett. “When employees know they are valued and respected, they are better motivated to promote the LOUD brand in the best possible ways that impact both employee and customer retention. We invite input from employees through an open-door policy with all management from all levels.”

Another key facet for employees is feeling like they matter and having the sense of belonging to a team. And so LOUD also regularly recognizes employees who serve with excellence.

“We know that it’s not just about a paycheck,” says Bennett. “We want our team to feel like family, and we try to remember that and celebrate together cohesively. Whether it’s individual birthdays or the accomplishments of a department. LOUD takes the time to recognize your team and the job they do.”

As an example of that, for National Security Technician Day, the company surprised its techs with a companywide breakfast, complete with banners and Google review posters highlighting the accomplishments of what can often be unsung heroes. Other LOUD employee events include:

· Celebratory events and meals throughout the week

· Annual holiday parties

· Summer parties at a local lake

· Company picnics

· Group activities (e.g., shooting range, bowling, even smashing an old company van)

· Company anniversary trip

“Last year, LOUD Security took every employee that had been with us more than five years to Punta Cana to say thank you for their years of service. They were each able to bring an additional guest,” adds Bennett.

Collective Good Is the Goal

Perhaps more than ever customers and the public at large prefer to spend their money with companies that are as much about supporting the communities in which they conduct business as they are about the bottom line. By the same token, employees — particularly the younger generation — want to work for organizations that prioritize people over profits.

LOUD Security, which was a 2023 finalist for an SSI SAMMY (Sales and Marketing) Award in the category of Best Community Outreach Program, embodies those qualities.

The firm supports many nonprofit services around the greater Atlanta area and sup-ports many local commerce associations and chambers to encourage business community growth. LOUD also attends and services several local festivals to immerse itself on an ongoing basis as part of the surrounding community fabric.

“We are involved with local ministries such as MUST as well as first responders,” says Widner. “Often, it’s John Loud himself and sometimes recruiting LOUD employees to raise funds for local organizations such as Strand Theater’s Adult Spelling Bee, benefit-ting Communities in Schools, Red White and You, supporting area military families, and others.”

Around the Thanksgiving holiday, LOUD employees have cooked and delivered deep-fried and smoked turkeys to many local police and fire departments throughout nearby communities.

As mentioned at the outset, with John Loud leading the charge, LOUD Security is also exceedingly involved in the industry itself through assorted trade groups and commit-tees.

In addition to his present chairman post with ESA, Loud has served as president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association. He is also working with local police departments to discuss state legislation that would increase life safety for LOUD customers, benefit local installers and promote cooperation among all of these groups.

Loud also often speaks at security conventions, and contributes expertise to security trade publications (he is a member of the SSI Editorial Advisory Board) and local news outlets.

“LOUD Security is a strong advocate to our state association, the national association and even local business chambers,” Widner confirms. “John Loud is also an important advocate for our industry nationwide and uses his influence to encourage other com-panies to be involved in their local and national associations.”

Leading by example, Loud encourages employees to lend their time and talents at speaking and training engagements to share with other companies nationwide.

“We ascribe to the firm belief that we are all stronger together,” concludes Widner.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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