Stay on the Pulse

SHUTTERSTOCK / MACROVECTOR
SHUTTERSTOCK / MACROVECTOR

Opportunity knocks for electrical contractors involved in low-voltage, security and integrated systems contracting. You’re in demand. Offer your customers a litany of services using these six ideas to expand your offerings.

Build trust

When you know what customers want, it’s easy to deliver the right technology, integrations and system services. That starts by staying on pulse with their business needs and building trust.

At a minimum, you should query customers with a brief, one- or two-sentence survey following every interaction. After a job is completed, give them a quick call to see how the installation went, if they have questions or need additional support or training. You build trust by staying in regular contact through specials or other outreach such as online newsletters, blogs or marketing. It’s also a great way to keep customers apprised of the products or services you offer.

Think RMR in all you do

Recurring monthly revenue (RMR) has been the golden chalice of the physical security industry since the first monitored burglar alarms in the late 1800s. That part of the business—with monthly revenue derived from alarm monitoring tied to a long-term customer contract—has eroded significantly in recent years. Now, other value-added services are picking up the slack.

A pervasive—and counterproductive—attitude in security systems contracting is that you either gain one-time revenue from a large project (project-based revenue) or by providing regular, value-added monthly services to gain RMR. In reality, no project should be one and done, and each project should have the opportunity to earn RMR—no excuses.

By leveraging managed services tailored to the customer, you can bring in regular, predictable income on every job.

Be a problem solver

Center your philosophy and become a problem solver for your customers. Before you get to product discussions, consider the challenges or issues the user needs to solve. Are they trying to restrict access to specific, high-risk areas in a facility? Or, do they need greater accountability in certain locations of the facility with cameras and surveillance? Conducting a site visit and risk assessment is a critical step in understanding the customer’s profile and the technology necessary to provide solutions.

You can’t expect prospects and customers to know all you offer, and often they might not even be aware that you provide intrusion detection, access control, electronic door locks and more. If you don’t communicate with them regularly, understand their needs and provide the solutions to address their problems, they will look elsewhere.

Broaden your mindset

It’s time to expand your thinking. Security is more than physical protection and detection. It’s what you make of it for your customers. It’s safety, human resources accountability, warehouse and distributing, automation and controls, and record keeping for regulations, standards and compliance. The right solutions have become true business enablers by assisting customers with capabilities and processes beyond security. With the cloud as an enabling technology and the proliferation of software as a service, you’re primed and ready to increase your service offerings.

Give customers data

With networked systems and IP connectivity, data is coming from everywhere. Video surveillance cameras with analytics are a perfect example. Beyond conventional security applications, IP cameras can also collect valuable information in retail for customer shopping preferences, people counting, customer flow and wait-time analysis. Analytics can be used to validate plant processes, provide product fault detection and track equipment and provide packaging detection.

Video analytics enable license plate recognition, perimeter virtual tripwires, vandalism detection, abandoned object detection, traffic congestion management and parking controls. This data can be harvested for the user to apply to business processes and operations for greater efficiency and profitability.

Focus on future-forward technology

Don’t get stuck in a time warp. Consider emerging technologies available to use to your advantage. Research geolocation services for your own fleet or customers, test drones for site planning and photos, investigate thermal imaging for construction work and outdoor surveillance. There’s never a better time to build business with new services, and technology gives you all the tools to succeed.

About the Author

Deborah L. O’Mara

O’MARA is a journalist with more than two decades experience writing about security, life safety and systems integration, and she is the managing director of DLO Communications in Chicago. She can be reached at dlocommunications@gmail.com or 773.414...

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