Editorial: Attrition 101

April 5, 2013
Retain your good customers and stellar employees

People, industries and businesses are always looking to better themselves and look for new opportunities. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that as long as they are fulfilling their obligations for their current employer. But are you giving your employees incentives, or are you giving them reason to look elsewhere? Do you know how to retain good employees and make them feel like they are stakeholders in your business and that you are important to them? Do you take the time to thank them for a job well done—especially one that goes above and beyond their current job description? Do you take them out to lunch and offer them regular pay raises, as tough as that might be to you folks writing the checks? If you don’t do this, you could lose good employees—those you have worked hard to train. And that’s money you are losing if they do leave, because most often you have to start over with new employees to get them familiar with your philosophy, culture and way of doing business.

It’s certainly a conundrum. Of course you need to have job descriptions and do regular reviews to keep, or dispose, of employees. But here’s the thing. We talk about attrition of subscribers—but what about attrition of employees? Let me say that having been in the security industry for a long time I think we could certainly try to up our status as an industry. I mean, we’re providing life safety. We work with police, fire and first responders and help them get their jobs done. One of the things that annoys me today is when people say: At least you have a job. Is that what it’s gotten to today? It doesn’t have to be that way and it’s a two-way street.

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?)

Now, on 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. Harris is candid that we have not done well at marketing ourselves, although we excel at many other areas of business. For example, we should be espousing the fact that we excel and security and life safety—can the telcos or the cable providers of the world 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 principals 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 and our industry.