Do you base your buying decisions on price or service? There are some things that are worth the extra money. Like Q-tips. The generic ones just aren’t as soft. What about your alarm company? In our industry, what seems to be the most important to consumers?
Price or Service?
With the big corporate companies advertising “FREE FREE FREE” it makes it hard for us to compete. But what value are getting from your FREE corporate company?
Check out this Value Management Triangle
Many people have seen this in one way or another. Usually it is captioned with “Pick Two”. This seems to ring true in our industry as well. If you are picking FREE, then you are either losing quality or service, and in most cases, both. Let me explain why.
The first thing is figuring out what company you are actually dealing with. Are you talking directly to a corporate company or one of their many authorized dealers? Authorized dealers of bigger companies can use the name of the corporate company to close the sale. But once it is installed and finished, they sell your contract to the larger company. This is how they can give you a free system. The company is paid upfront for your agreement. What do you think the chances are that you will speak to the same sales representative again? Or the installer or service department for that matter? That makes it really hard to provide good customer service.
Price or Service?
When you seek out a local company for any type of service, you probably know going in that you are going to be paying a little more. But why?
Because a local company is accountable for the service and quality they provide. The owners actually work in the company on a day to day basis. I am willing to bet you have talked to a business owner and didn’t even know it.
The way we stay accountable is hiring good people. Superior service cost more money. A staff of minimum wage employees isn’t going to deliver the same quality and service you have come to expect from a local company.
Price or Service?
It doesn’t seem right that we have to favor one or the other, but we do. A company that gives the best personalized intimate customer service is going to have to charge more for their products.
Let talk specifically about the alarm industry. Going back to FREE. A local company like us, Brantley Security, cannot easily offer a free system. We don’t have the buying power and resources the big corporate companies have. Nor can we take a loss for the first 3 years we have a customer like they do. The way we compete and stay in business is by offering superior customer service and superior installations. What does superior customer service and installation look like from us or any other company?
You should be able to keep in touch with your sales representative for years to come. This way when you want to add more devices or services, need upgrades, or are moving you are talking to someone who knows you. You are more likely to get a “deal” after you have built a relationship. You should also be able to call the office and talk to a live person, not a voice recording and humongous call tree. Even if we have to refer you to someone else, we always answer the phone. Your installation should be clean. No visible wires, or mess. Your contacts should also be screwed onto the surface, not double side taped or a glob of silicon to hold them up. Here in Las Vegas we have extreme heat which means tape will not hold and silicon will turn yellow. Your installer should be very knowledgeable about what they are installing as well as other products. You should be able to ask him/her any question and if they don’t know they should be able to find the answer quickly. A knowledgeable installer will know how to properly align your contacts and hang your motions to prevent false alarms. Small companies don’t want you to have false alarms. It is not profitable for us.
The last thing I want to touch on the value of what you are getting when you decide on alarm service and an alarm company. Typically the price a customer lets us charge is based on the value they place on the service and equipment. My confusion is how did life safety get valued so low as to expect it for free? Large corporate companies trying to push out the little guys, not consumers, that’s how. The analogy I often use is, how much did you spend on your refrigerator? $1,500, $2,000, $3,000. To protect your food. But an alarm to protect your family and everything you’ve worked hard for, is free?
I don’t know about you, but I choose service over price. Not to say I don’t get 3 bids, on everything. Not shopping around is also irresponsible with money. However, my decision is not solely based on price, the lowest bid doesn’t win automatically.
Look at these stats, to support that a majority of people think the same way.
Let’s work to add value to the alarm industry by demanding superior customer service and superior installation. Demand it from your company and lets see what happens. We could see a big change in the way things are done.