Superior Service: A Resolution to Make, Keep Throughout 2004

Happy New Year! Can you believe we have already entered the middle years of the first decade of the 21st century? While some may lament where the time has gone, I don’t think too many of us will regret gaining some distance from trends and events such as Y2K, the 2000 presidential election, 9/11, the recession and the boy band phenomenon.

The great thing about a new year is that it represents a fresh start, a new beginning rife with opportunities and possibilities. It’s also a time when resolutions are made. If you haven’t already done so – even if you believe you are already the best you can be – I urge you to pledge to deliver the highest conceivable level of customer service throughout 2004.

There are few qualities more precious today, and unfortunately more rare, than outstanding customer service. It is one of the most decisive factors in separating individuals, companies and industries. Yet, on a daily basis, the amount of ineptness and crappy service I encounter directly and the number of horror stories I hear about from others is staggering.

It has gotten to the point where being dealt with in a cordial, efficient and effective manner has become the exception rather than the rule. Like co-dependent, domestic abuse victims, Americans are being violated so much by service industries that they seem thankful for whatever merciful scraps of decency that are thrown their way.

That’s why I believe now, more than ever, the electronic security industry can really differentiate itself by rising above this disheartening situation to set a standard of service excellence for which others will be measured. This approach needs to be extended not only to the people who buy your goods and services, but also to employees, co-workers and, most importantly, your family.

In fact, when you think about it, whether it is installing a security system, helping your child with homework or opening a door for a stranger, everyone you interact with is a “customer” in one way or another. Whether business or personal, you should always treat people with the utmost respect, and never promise what you cannot deliver and always deliver what you promise.

In that spirit, we here at Security Sales & Integration have made some bold changes for 2004 to better serve the entire electronic security supply chain: supplier, installer and user. Beginning with this issue, SSI’s circulation has been expanded from 25,000 to 31,000 subscribers, with 6,000 high-level end users being added to create the industry’s first hybrid publication. This at a time when most magazines are cutting corners any way they can.

You may have noticed one of the many other key differences before you even opened the magazine this month. To make SSI easier to handle, we have switched to saddle-stitch, instead of perfect, binding. Now, you can easily fold back and hold your favorite magazine in one hand, while keeping the other free for a screwdriver, sandwich or Charmin, as the case may be. And, to put your mind to ease, although there is now a centerfold, yours truly will not be posing for it any time soon!

Other important enhancements to SSI include a revamped, USA Today-style “Industry Pulse” department (see page 12); the visually striking “Essential Equipment” section (see page 64); the debut of “Bridging the Gap,” a column designed to help suppliers, integrators and end users speak the same language; and stylish new departmental headings throughout.

Unlike most resolutions that seldom make it past Valentine’s Day (like losing weight, damn it!), SSI vows to continue to bring you the award-winning quality to which you have grown accustomed. I hope our efforts help you achieve your ambitions in 2004, and that all your “customers” will be the better for it.

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