Attrition 101

Attrition is one of those bandied about words that we talk incessantly about in the industry, because it’s truly a topic we struggle with. How many customers are you losing and what do you base this on? Maybe you are losing customers who get rid of their POTS lines, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Before you get to this point, visit your customers and give them some new and attractive options in interactive services that could get them to stay long term.

But the concept of attrition could easily be expanded to your staff. You might know what it costs to lose a customer and generate a new one, but what about your employees? What does it cost when you show them the door or they leave on their own? Are you giving your employees incentives, or are you giving them reason to look elsewhere? Take the time to thank them for a job well done—especially one that goes above and beyond their current job description. Offer them regular pay raises, although it pinches the pocketbook. If you don’t take these steps and others, this, you could lose good employees—those you have worked hard to train. And that’s money lost as well.

So now we have a game plan. We have to offer incentives, train and let employees excel at what they do. While we may be good at designing and integrating systems, we sometimes do a poor job of developing plans for employees to excel. And that opens the door for your competitors to take these employees over to their companies—and even some of the inside tricks of the trade you may have developed. (Do you have non-compete’s in place?)

I think we should continue to spread the good word about our industry. I mean, we’re providing life safety. We work with police, fire and first responders and help them get their jobs done. But how have we communicated that to our employees and to the public at large? It’s time to start inside—and move the good words outside.

Now, back to the customer side of things. Are you giving subscribers reason to stay? What kind of a customer are they? Read what Bob Harris of Attrition Busters has to say about this topic on page 48, where he outlines three different types of customers. Harris is candid that we have not done well at marketing ourselves, although we do well at many other areas of business. For example, we should be espousing the fact that we excel at security and life safety—can the telcos or the cable providers do that? Do you trust them with your lives and those of your families? Tell your story and that of our industry because it’s a good one.

Let’s start talking about the following to customers and prospects online, in print and especially in person:

  • How the industry is based on the concept of electronic security to promote and encourage security and life safety;
  • How we know the principles of detection, etc., which is a discipline in and of itself;
  • How we work with first responders and encourage licensing and regulations and the promotion of professionalism in the industry and the community;
  • And how we know how to respond and what to do in a real emergency.

There’s work to be done, but it’s not impossible. Get your head out of the control panel or the computer and be proactive about the industry—because there’s no better place for you and me. And the big benefit will be to the community, your employees and our industry.