Big Idea of the Month: Get All Employees Involved in Your Business

Security industry financial expert Rod Boston shares an industry wake-up call with Ron Davis.

Rod Boston is a financial guy. However, it’s easy to mistake him for a lineman on a professional football team, or what he once was, a pretty exciting soccer player.

Rod is in his mid-40s, was an athlete in high school and college, and still looks as though he could make a pretty tough defense to an opposing player on the soccer field. He is the president of two financial corporations, one, Security Equity Partners, the other, Alarmcredit.com.

The companies are located in offices in St. Charles, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. The first company, SEP, provides capital funding to alarm companies. The other, ACC, provides funding to individual alarm dealers and, frankly, he talked so fast and was so excited about it that I didn’t even have time to write everything down, but what I heard was exciting.

It’s a different kind of funding for the small independent dealer, who’s looking to get capital on favorable terms. Please believe me, it is unique. And what that program proves is that you can take a financial guy, put him in the alarm industry, and if he has a marketing brain, he will come up with ideas that will change lives.

More importantly, if you set up a time to call him, he will be on the phone at exactly the time agreed upon. Eventually I asked him my signature question, “If you had just one really great idea to share with the industry, what would it be?” His answer, paraphrased here, “Ron, I have met hundreds and hundreds of dealers in the alarm industry. They all know the industry is changing. Some of them have made changes in their businesses to deal with the issues brought about by the changes in the industry. Others are waiting for a wake-up call.”

Well, here’s a wake-up call, call or write Rod, tell him what you need, ask questions and more than likely you’ll be able to get pretty much what you want. This guy doesn’t play games nor waste time, so if you call, don’t waste his. Frankly though I was more interested in what his great idea might be moving forward. And sure enough, he didn’t disappoint.

He said get all employees involved in the business. And I asked him to amplify on that, he simply said, quietly in the measured tones, “Bring all of your people with quality training to be able to answer any questions that may come about that is pertaining to their work. Instead of having just technicians or secretaries try to answer every question, train them to be able to answer questions that apply to their sphere of influence.”

Many of you know I travel around the country conducting seminars and giving speeches about how to be outstanding in your chosen field. And I was pleased and excited to see that some people that I spoke to started implementing some of the ideas that I gave them during the seminar.

Now, I’d like to share some of those with you.

  1. Only hire people you believe you can trust with this responsibility. It may mean paying them a higher salary, but in the final analysis it will be worth it.
  2. Make sure that one of the people you select is bilingual and can respond in the language that most of your customers use.
  3. Set aside time each week for ongoing training in the skills that you want your people to employ. This is one of those areas where repetition is of great value.
  4. In each department, train someone who can handle questions or complaints and provide that person with something that they can give the customer to off set some of the issues that are presented. A credit for one month’s monitoring. A certificate for coffee at a local Starbucks. A handwritten thank you. And anything else that you think would be appealing to the type of customer you serve.
  5. If you publish a company newsletter, ask the client who is calling if you could have a couple of quotes from that person or, if you think there’s something interesting there, do an interview with the person who’s just complained and write it up in your newsletter, or better yet, delegate to the person you put in charge of the newsletter.

These seem like some of the things that you can do that will add more customer service calls being answered in a manner that’s positive for the customer, and has a benefit to that customer for something of a treat.

Rod, thank you for sharing your idea so openly and so responsibly. I hope what I’ve added falls in line with your thinking, but even if it doesn’t, these are tested ideas that have worked with other companies, many of them just like your own company.

About the Author

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Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Marketing Group (DMG), a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates Int’l in the 1980s.

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