Articles in this series
- 5 Reasons Your Customers Don’t See You as a Strategic Security Partner
- 5 Reasons Integrators Struggle to Become Strategic Security Partners for Their Customers
- 5 Benefits of Becoming a Strategic Security Partner for Your Customers
A strategic security partner starts with a clear customer focus. To elaborate, it is an integration company that is transparent, communicative, trustworthy, and collaborative with long term loyal customers. Becoming a strategic security partner should be an aspirational goal for every integrator, regardless of the size of the customer, because when integrators are strategic security partners for their customers, it’s a win-win scenario.
52% of consumers report they have made an additional purchase from a company following a positive customer service experience, not putting in the extra effort to become a strategic security partner is like leaving money on the table. In the competitive environment of the security industry, it is worthwhile spending some time self-reflecting as to why your integration business may be struggling to reach that next level.
Previously we identified 5 reasons why customers don’t see their integrator as a strategic security partner. This blog will focus on the 5 reasons why integrators struggle to become a strategic security partner for their customers. By first identifying the reasons why integrators may be struggling, integrators can, in turn, begin to make changes in these areas and work toward becoming a strategic security partner for their customers.
1. They Lack the Right Mindset
Some security integrators are content with the process of bidding new projects, installing systems, picking up a service call here or there and then moving on to find the next customer – and that’s ok. But the mindset of a strategic security partner revolves around the desire to progress every customer interaction into a long-term relationship. A recent study found among firms identified as focused on the long term, average revenue and earnings growth were 47% and 36% higher, respectively, than those focused solely on the short-term. Adopting a long-term mindset also opens up opportunities for integrators to introduce multi-year contracts and recurring monthly revenue (RMR).
A great way to embrace a “customer-centric” mindset is to remind your team to assume the mindset of the customer. Think about what you would want in a security integrator, or any service provider for that matter. The words that frequently come to mind are probably honesty, transparency, and communication, among others. This may seem obvious, but many integrators don’t hold themselves to high expectations, therefore their customers probably don’t either.
2. They Don’t Think Proactively
Parallel to lacking a customer-centric mindset is lacking a proactive mindset. This is true in both sales and service. For example, too much focus on the transactional sale or selling what the customer asked about without taking the time to understand the customer’s needs or potential long-term goals, could mean doing them a disservice and missing an opportunity to educate and collaborate with them on the right solution. Selling the most expensive, easiest to install, or end of life products are all examples of a reactive approach wherein only the integrator benefits and only in the short-term.
Selling reactively may also lead to providing service reactively. That end-of-life product will cause bigger issues down the road if the customer wants to upgrade. The most expensive product likely solves problems the end user didn’t even have to begin with or introduce complexity creating challenges for their day to day operations. Short-sighted thinking could cost the integrator any future sales, tie up valuable technical resources, or simply frustrate the user.
Strategic security partners begin by examining the bigger picture and finding out exactly what is going on in the end user’s world. In this way, they can craft a proactive approach taking into consideration a customer’s future growth plans and future service needs.
3. They Lack the Right Tools
Lacking the right tools and infrastructure required to build a solid foundation of customer service can also be a roadblock for integrators looking to become a strategic security partner. For example, an integrator may lack a dedicated team of customer support technicians, perhaps their support teams don’t have enough training, or there is no software in place to effectively track service schedules. It is understood support infrastructure requires a significant initial investment, but these investments provide opportunities for recurring revenue that, over time, provide guaranteed revenue. This list of frequently requested product features and support options offer a significant opportunity for integrators to grow RMR while providing superior service.
Another tool that allows security integrators to become strategic security partners is a life-cycle management platform. These tools allow integrators to track a project from design, to install, to service, enabling them to stay proactive and communicative with their clients. A life-cycle management tool will automate, standardize, and digitize processes typically associated with service, such as contracts or service agreements. Without such a tool, integrators are left to manage their projects manually, which leads to errors, wasted time, and an overall lower level of service.
4. Their Team Lacks Strategy
A team that lacks a clear sales and service strategy can’t possibly hope to be a trusted security partner. Sales, accounting, and marketing teams all have to be on the same page in order to succeed. Without a common goal and shared message, customers can easily become confused. Whether identifying a sales push for recurring service contracts, or highlighting a new loyalty program, all internal teams must have a clear strategy that addresses their unique role in the overall game plan.
If your team lacks strategy, examining current security and technology trends is a great place to start. For example, the younger generations in the workforce (Millennials and Gen Z) are generally more comfortable and adept at using mobile technology in their roles. In fact, nearly 79% of Gen Z managers and over 85% of Millennial managers say they encourage their direct reports to solve problems using technology. This includes technologies like automation, with almost 9 in 10 Gen Z and Millennial managers saying they are open to their direct reports automating parts of their job. Deploying younger technicians to jobs that involve a high degree of automation may be a part of your corporate strategy to provide exceptional service and increase employee retention.
5. They Want to “Own” Everything
Integrators can traditionally be selfish. They can be of the mindset the less the customer knows the better. After all, many RMR models are based on managed services that may include equipment-as-a-service or software-as-a-service sales models. While these models are certainly viable and can still foster a strategic security partnership, hoarding system data can be counter intuitive. Many customers are comfortable in taking partial ownership of their security system. Providing these kinds of customers with a sense of ownership potentially opens the doors to an even broader, more collaborative, long-term relationship.
Platforms such as SiteOwl allow end users to access their security systems information in ways never before possible. For example, users can track and manage all physical security system devices across multiple locations from a single interface, collaborate directly with their integrator on new system designs, to manage repairs and maintenance requests, and rapidly perform system-wide audits to identify and repair security gaps. These tools keep the lines of communication open and flowing between user and integrator, leading to increased levels of satisfaction and trust found in strategic security partnerships. Letting go of some of the control can lead to a more open and trustworthy and drive long-term loyalty.
Becoming a strategic security partner for your customers is a constant challenge. Some roadblocks can be alleviated with a simple change of mindset, others will require investments in your tools and teams. At the end of the day, it all comes back to providing the absolute highest level of customer service.
Still not sold on why you should be working toward becoming a strategic security partner for your clients? Read the next blog in this series – 5 Benefits of Becoming a Trusted Security Partner for Your Customer.