How Leading Security Contractors Are Optimizing Their Operations

Executives from SSI Installer of the Year finalists explain how their companies and staff are working smarter and more efficiently nowadays.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. — Annually, as part of the process of speaking with owners and operators of the electronic security industry’s best-run installation businesses to select SSI’s Installers of the Year for July’s special Best of the Best Issue, company leadership is asked to share ways their organizations are optimizing their operations to work smarter and more efficiently.

As the following selected comments demonstrate (in company alphabetical order), appropriately training associates, leveraging technology and new software tools, and empowering customers are among the ways today’s top providers are moving the needle.

Dan Bresingham, Executive Vice President, ADT Commercial: As we continue to navigate the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, our organization almost immediately began applying any extra time to train our commercial technicians and sales teams. This has helped to ensure our workforce would be diversified, more precisely skilled and much more engaged when they could return to the field with regularity. In addition, we have instituted several programs to help in our recruitment efforts going forward to ensure that we have one of the most competent field organizations dedicated to serving our customers including a Technician Apprenticeship Program and Veteran Mentorship Program.

Through these efforts, we are furthering the careers of our frontline employees and investing in their abilities, while ensuring that we will emerge as an even stronger, more technically trained partner for our customers, along with providing our employees with a solid foundation for success moving forward.

Ken Zahn, COO, Schmidt Security Pro: Finding ways to be more efficient and effective in today’s environment is a priority to our company. Here are a few of the ways we have embraced technology to meet current trends:

  1. Text messaging through our desktops – We use an app called Text Request to send messages to customers including billing questions, service scheduling and sales follow-up. We find that customers are quicker to respond to texts than phone calls.
  2. IP phone technology – We recently installed a new phone system that allows staff to answer and receive phone calls internally and remotely. The customer does not realize that the person they are talking with may not be inside the Schmidt facility.
  3. Quoting software – Our quoting software allows quotes to be sent electronically to a customer and we are notified when the recipient has opened and viewed the document. Customers can accept quotes with a simple electronic signature which speeds up the process.
  4. Automated customer reporting – Schmidt Security Pro and Schmidt Fire use software to automate reports generated for customers including annual inspections, preventative maintenance and security guard services.
  5. Remote customer engagement – When a customer reaches out to us for our services, we are first qualifying them over the phone with a Zoom-style meeting to assess their needs and identify the next steps in the process. The goal is to reduce the amount of windshield time and inefficiencies associated with unnecessary onsite visits.

Dwight Sears, President/CEO, Silent Guard: In early 2019, my son, Taylor Sears, was promoted to COO. We decided that before he fell into our day-to-day status quo, we wanted him to tour the industry landscape. He met with manufacturing partners, service providers, monitoring stations, distribution centers and several dealers of every size. His objective was to study their processes and bring back a wish list. We either changed or improved every single day-to-day process; A-Z, everything! I could write a book on just this subject alone. We never settle, always wanting to be better today than we were yesterday. I so am proud to share that we are more efficient today than ever before.

Pam Petrow, President/CEO, Vector Security: We have a large focus on using technology to improve our efficiency. We launched a new workflow management system for our National Accounts Division. Our Dealer Portal streamlines and automates formerly paper-based and manual processes. We continue to write programs that allow for data transfer between systems to eliminate duplication of data entry. We are also implementing technology to reach our customers via text, email and auto notification. Recent programs have reduced our level of activity with a specific customer by over 50% providing better service to the customer and reducing our labor effort.

We have a dedicated IT team that evaluates each project and determines which provide the most significant benefit to either our customers or our internal users, and we budget and prioritize accordingly.

Our Vector Security Networks Tech Program met its goal of hiring 12 service techs by the end of 2020, with a plan to get to 30 techs by the end of 2021. This program creates financial efficiencies in the business division with the ability to offer in-house technicians versus outsourcing and, just as importantly, improving the customer experience with improved response and resolution timeframes.

Art Miller, Vice President Marketing, Vector Security: On the residential and commercial side, our online bill payment portal allows customers to pay their bills, check account balances, put their alarm on test, print insurance certificates and update their payment information. This reduces traffic into our branches and also allows for a more secure method of account management for the customer.

Over the past several years, we have increased our optimization of the virtual workplace. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, we quickly acted to deploy technology to allow even more of our team members to work from home. Technology connects our people through video conferencing and workflow management programs, allowing them the flexibility to safely work from home, while having access to the resources they need to be successful and productive.

Keep an eye out online as SSI publishes the profiles of 2021 Best of the Best winners and runners-up throughout July.

About the Author

Contact:

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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