One of the benefits of my job at PSA is the consistent industry information I receive from best-of-breed systems integrators, security manufacturers and industry professionals who either specialize in the market or make security an important part of their practice.
PSA is an excellent barometer of the physical security integrator space as we deal with integrators who actually own PSA. Consequently, we get the real scoop and not a spin or political message, based on business positioning. If you have studied business, I think you would agree that ownership makes a difference. Our owners tell it like it is and they represent the small, medium and large integration community.
We recently did a survey as to what was the most important specific offering the physical security integrator desired. Was it about having the best available products? Or, about the lowest possible price, the best education, the most convenient brick and mortar locations, the most important/visible brand name? The list went on with various choices pertaining to day-to-day operations and activity. The overwhelming answer was: CUSTOMER SERVICE.
It was not about having a store on the corner, it was not about the lower price, it was not about having the absolute best image or the most powerful software—it was all about people power which equates to customer service.
If this is a surprise to you I would consider it great news as you can now focus on customer service and improve your organization by paying attention to what really counts and not on what you may perceive as important. It never hurts to LISTEN to the customer.
Don’t ignore the very important implications
At this point you may be asking yourself if the information and opinion in this column is relevant to you and your organization. You can make excuses such as, ‘I am not part of PSA so this column is not relevant to me’ or ‘I already have excellent customer service in my company’ or ‘I am not responsible for customer service.’ You can rationalize that you are unaware of complaints about customer service so there is no need to fix what is not broken or even express interest or concern about customer service.
If you feel this way I would like to respectfully suggest that you are wrong. Customer service is your problem, your challenge and your opportunity to make your organization better. Every department in your company should be about customer service.
Customer service is very important to EVERYONE. Accept this fact and get moving on a program to improve your customer service and customer relations.
By the way, after evaluating the survey results from the owners of PSA, we decided to take appropriate action and recruited a new customer service manager with 20 years of experience in this discipline. We also evaluated several customer service education programs. We chose a professionally administered program that included face-to-face education, Web-based coursework and numerous roundtable sessions. Certifications were awarded after completion.
Do we now have perfect customer service? Not by a long shot. We continue to have areas in need of improvement. We are, however, better than we were prior to making the effort to improve. The process is just that, a process; it never ends and I see this as a good thing.
If your customer service is already perfect you need not worry. If not, make something positive happen and start by recognizing this important cornerstone to business success.
Bill Bozeman is the CEO and president of PSA Security Network, the world’s largest electronic security cooperative, representing security systems integrators. For more information, visit www.buypsa.com.