Query the Access Control Expert: A Refresher on Customer Service

Easy to Follow Tips

Q: I know when I'm on the receiving end of good customer service it makes it easier for me to do my job. In this business where you serve and protect your customers, customer service takes on additional responsibility. Can you offer some tips on customer service as it relates to problems with access control systems and equipment?


A: Customer service comes into play right from the beginning of the relationship with a client no matter what type of security you are installing. Here are some general customer service guidelines:

1. Fix Everything Two Ways . There are two solutions to any problem a client calls with. The immediate solution which might temporarily resolve the issue and the permanent one you develop afterwards on behalf of your client.

2. Make Subtle Suggestions to Resolve the Problem. When a client calls with a problem tactfully approach the problem in as straightforward way as possible. Go for the obvious solution without insulting your customer's intelligence (for example, be gentle when you ask them if they are sure it's plugged in).

3. Turn A Problem Into A Referral. It sounds crazy, but you should look upon the problems that come up as opportunities for you to show the client your willingness to go the distance for them and use the experience to strengthen the relationship.

4. Be Willing to Take Responsibility For A Mistake. We all makes mistakes once in a while (right?). Depending on the situation, you might be well advised to fix the problem before saying anything, but more often than not it is more beneficial to let the customer know that some issues exist and you are resolving them.

5. Keep Emotions Out of It. Got a tough client? You must remember to remain objective and not get annoyed or angry. You lose your strength and ability to think creatively if you are hot headed. Your customer may not respect you as much and may no longer view you as a professional if you do not act like one.

6. Have Clearly Equitable Business Policies. A great reputation reduces customer apprehension. Established well known companies have become old and reputable because they treat their customers right. The customer trusts doing business with them. Even if you are a new company striving to grow, you should master the ability to earn your customers' trust and respect with good service and honest answers.

7. Your Company Policy Should Reward Outstanding Customer Service. It's a competitive atmosphere out there. Frequently customers may be carrying emotional baggage or have unrealistic expectations from you. Customer service practices should be part of your employee training program. To make sure all your employees are practicing the policies you have established, good customer service should be recognized and rewarded.



Security Dealer Technical Editor Tim O'Leary is a 35-year veteran of the security industry and a 15-year contributor to the magazine. O'Leary's background encompasses having been a security consultant since 1986 and an independent security company owner/operator, in addition to his research and evaluation of new technologies and products introduced to the physical and electronic security fields. He is a member of the VBFAA (Virginia Burglar and Fire Alarm Association); certified for Electronic Security Technician and Sales by the VADCJS ( Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services); and, has served as a judge for the SIA New Product Showcase. Send your integration questions to Tim.Oleary@secdealer.com.