How to be a World-Class Security Systems Integrator
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I have been an independent security consultant for over 30 years. I have worked with literally hundreds of different security system integrators, ranging from one-man shops to the largest security systems integration companies in the world.
Every once in a while, I come across a security integrator that really stands-out. These integrators seem to exceed customer expectations in every way and set the standard for professional, high-quality security and surveillance installation and service work. I call these integrators "world-class", and enthusiastically recommend them to my clients.
Here are some of the characteristics possessed by a "world-class" security systems integrator:
During the sales process
- Really listens to the customer's needs before trying to sell them anything.
- Talks to the customer on his level and uses a minimum of technical jargon.
- Honestly explains the strengths and weaknesses of the product he is selling.
- Gives the customer an itemized quotation so that he fully understands what he is buying.
- Truthfully explains the ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs of the system he is proposing.
- Gives the customer a realistic idea of how long the system is really going to last and how quickly it may become obsolete.
- Has the courage to tell the customer that what he is asking for really won't solve his security problem.
- Is quick to refer the customer to other service providers when they may be better able to meet the customer's needs.
- Doesn't try to sell the customer something he doesn’t need just to make a sale.
During the installation process
- Fully complies with the agreed upon specifications or contract.
- Sends only well-qualified technicians to the jobsite to perform the installation work.
- Is respectful of the customer's workspace; causes minimum disruption, cleans up messes as they are made.
- Regularly keeps customer informed as to the status of the installation so that there are no surprises.
- Keeps schedule commitments and finishes the installation on time.
- Provides an adequate level of user training until the customer is fully comfortable in using the system.
After the sale
- Is as quick to return calls and emails to the customer as they were before the sale.
- Has a service organization in place so that service calls can be handled promptly and professionally. Has more than one person in their company who can work on the customer's system.
- Takes full responsibility for the problems the client is experiencing - doesn't try to blame problems on the manufacturer or other parties. Stands behind their product even if it ends up costing them money.
- Honors warranty commitments even if customer may be unaware of them.
- Lets customer know of expected costs of repairs before they are performed.
- Keeps customer informed as to the status of their service request. Tells customer what they are working on, when problem is solved, and what they found. Never leaves the premises after a service call without giving the customer an update.
- Calls the customer back periodically to check-in to see how things are going. Doesn't always wait for the customer to call them.
- Keeps customer informed of system upgrades and enhancements. Doesn't wait until last minute to tell the customer that their system is at "end-of-life".
The difference between top-performers and mediocre performers is often only in the way that they handle the small details. Simple things done repeatedly can place a company in the top 5% and allow it to become a "world-class" security systems integrator.