6 Tactics to Help Security Pros Protect Market Share

The security industry is changing, believe it or not for the better. Here’s why it is best to embrace changes that are good and resist those that are detrimental.

Today’s security company owners are seeing competition from entertainment outlets, door-to-door sales, retail stores and Internet providers.

Some new entrants will succeed, some will “carry away” a portion of the market, and some will just “fall into” it and mess it up. Some traditional manufacturers and security providers have even entered the DIY market.

The industry is changing, believe it or not for the better. It is best to embrace changes that are good and resist those that are detrimental.

Don’t join the “race to the bottom.”

While price is almost always a consideration, there are many factors in a customer’s decision process. If you offer a high-quality product, make sure that your prospects and especially your current customers understand this.

Focus on quality, reliability, and ease of use — and charge a premium price. If you attempt to be the low-service, low-price provider, there is always a danger that someone else will come in cheaper.

While some consumers have become accustomed to buying electronics in a box, taking them home, and waiting on hold for hours for someone to tell them how to set them up, many are willing to pay for products that are professionally marketed, installed and serviced. Find those customers and smother them with service and aptitude.

DIY isn’t a fad, but it isn’t necessarily a threat either.

When TurboTax came out 20 years ago, people predicted the end of my profession doing tax preparation and representation, but I’m still here.

TurboTax and its competitors didn’t really take away our clients, it just gave those who didn’t see value in professional tax preparation a way to file their returns quickly and effortlessly.

It works fine for most people, the ones whose tax situations are so simple that there is no opportunity to strategize and plan; but not for others, who seek the advice of a professional who can help them to take advantage of the maze of tax laws.

Just as TurboTax took away the 1040 EZ crowd, DIY has the potential to take away the “lick-and-stick” alarm customer — the ones who just want a minimal system or something that will give them an insurance discount. Don’t waste time and resources on this market segment.

You don’t own your customers.

True, they may have monitoring agreements with initial terms and automatic renewals, but their agreements do expire periodically.

Many dealers became complacent and believed they could stick a yard sign in front of a house, contract out the monitoring, and send a bill every month.

New competitors are literally knocking on your customers’ doors with new products and services including cameras, integrated thermostats, and Internet connectivity.

The companies that succeed in “protecting” their customer bases are those that proactively offer their customers these services and upgrades rather than waiting for someone else to do so.

Customer service is a top-down process.

Your younger employees have grown up in a Walmart culture. They never had the experience of going to the neighborhood shoe store, appliance store, or even a café.

It is incumbent upon you to teach all of your employees the value of a high level of customer service. You aren’t selling a box full of wires. You are selling peace of mind.

Check your activity reports from your central station and call your customers. Maybe in the process of letting them know that you care, you can sell them an upgrade.

You are selling connectivity.

Not only between your customers’ homes or businesses and first responders, but connectivity between family members and lighting, climate control and other home technology.

Parents work long hours and commutes can be tough … look for ways to help parents track their kids; for teenagers to leave messages; and for homeowners to check in via web-connected CCTV and controls.

Observe what your competition is offering. Remember that your competition may be a global Internet giant.

Train your team members.

Our manufacturers and trade associations offer a wealth of training, much of which is ignored by most companies. Investing in your employees shows them you aren’t running from technology, but are evaluating it and running headlong at products and services that provide features and benefits to your customers.

Mitch Reitman, an SSI Industry Hall of Famer and Editorial Advisory Board member, is managing principal of Reitman Consulting Group in Fort Worth, Texas.

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