*Originally published on SecuritySales.com
When building a service and maintenance program, it’s important that integrators consider the needs of their customers.
Security system service and maintenance contracts provide valuable benefits to customers and are profitable for integrators if done right, but sometimes customers and integrators shy away from them because of concerns about cost and benefits.
Managing quality service and maintenance contracts is still a basic, yet important, service that integrators should provide their customers. Using proper tools and customer engagement to deliver outstanding service as part of a maintenance contract can make this easier and more attractive for customers.
When building a service and maintenance program, it’s important that integrators consider the needs of their customers. Understanding what’s important to the customer from a protection and service level standpoint is key to determining the type of contract that’s most appropriate.
Understand What Your Customers Need (and Want)
Labor and material costs are the two biggest factors that determine the cost of maintenance, but response time and coverage are just as important to consider. Some customers may be more concerned about response time and willing to pay for a quicker response. Others may be interested in ways to spread costs evenly over their fiscal year or control unexpected circumstances.
Listening to the customer and educating them on different options that align with their needs demonstrates commitment to helping them succeed.
Capture Every Opportunity to Engage
Preventative maintenance contracts are the simplest and most effective way for integrators to engage their customers on an ongoing basis, since every security system has preventative maintenance needs. Tests and inspections for fire and intrusion systems should be scheduled periodically, and since these are often required by local code, there is very little objection from customers.
Every time a service technician is at a customer location, there’s an opportunity for customer engagement. Integrators should make sure that their service employees are empowered to raise concerns or point out opportunities to enhance the customer’s security or system reliability.
Educating technicians on the latest technology equips them to suggest opportunities to upsell a customer on a new feature or product and creates future opportunities for service revenue.
Maintenance Contracts Should Be Proactive
Integrators shouldn’t wait for their customer to call requesting service on something that’s broken. A proactive maintenance program includes ongoing monitoring of systems and equipment to make sure that equipment is running as designed.
Using advanced monitoring tools that collect data from security systems allows an integrator to recognize patterns of activity that can predict and detect equipment failures. Embedding these tools inside of a service and maintenance program allows integrators to offer a service contract in which the integrator responds before a customer may even be aware they have an issue.
If you bundle service coverage for parts, labor and preventative maintenance with remote monitoring into a proactive maintenance contract, you have the ability to maintain, detect and repair customer issues with very little direct interaction with the customer.
When the service is delivered proactively, it becomes even more important to communicate the value that you provide.
Provide High Level Service Customers Expect
Periodic reporting, follow-up customer satisfaction calls and automated notifications are ways to remind the customer that you’re their partner in securing and protecting their assets and that you’re making their job easier, so they can focus on their primary goals.
While customers have access to information through dashboards and portals, scheduled reviews can reinforce the narrative and highlight the success of the support and maintenance program that the customer has in place.
Even if customers don’t know a lot about their security system, they still understand what good service looks like. For instance, when they drop their car off at the dealership to get the oil changed, they generally expect a free multipoint inspection and a report that indicates anything that needs to be addressed immediately or in the future.
Why would a customer expect anything less than a comprehensive response from their security integrator when they request service on their security system? As security integrators, we need to continue to push the boundaries of what we deliver in our service contracts and innovate our services to keep ahead of customer needs and challenges.