Customer Service: how it will make or break your alarm business  

Customer Service: how it will make or break your alarm business  

In a marketplace crowded with seemingly identical products, there's only one brand promise that makes all the difference: customer service. 

The alarm industry is chock-full of comparable products competing to provide the same service. 

It is especially applicable to smart home solutions. Google, Amazon, and Apple provide technology that is so easy to integrate and install that it's difficult to distinguish between them. Regardless of whether the alarm services a home or an industrial space, the success of these solutions depends on one thing: the customer's ability to use the technology – consistently! 

Herein lies the opportunity for big and small businesses attempting to outperform competitors and build a loyal, growing customer base. If users don’t understand your product and feel comfortable changing settings and troubleshooting, the value of your product diminishes to zero. The key is customer service, built consistently through the entire customer lifecycle: when first introduced to your product, purchased, and maintained in the business or home. 

We've broken down the four key customer service areas to help you create the most impact. 

Invest in training 

Customer service is correlated with training as the most critical touchpoint your customer experiences. Work with your customer to determine what type of training will be most effective, adapting your resources to their needs. For example, you could offer one extensive training session or multiple shorter training sessions that fit their schedules. 

With residential and industrial customers, training is crucial to building relationships. 

That said, there is a higher level of sophistication for business customers. For example, corporate customers can involve multiple contacts like IT managers, facility managers, building administrators, and property managers. In this instance, training should be a consistent experience that offers the same level of information and support.

Leverage storytelling 

Human beings are storytellers. Our brains retain knowledge and understand things more quickly if a narrative supports the new information. The biggest brands understand the power of storytelling and wield this power in sales, marketing and advertising. However, storytelling has a role to play in customer service as well. 

Creating a story around your brand starts internally. First, understand your customer's problem and how your product offers value. Then, armed with this insight, you can engage potential or existing customers by referencing other customers' similar roadblocks and how you've helped them. 

For example, RSPNDR's VP of Sales, Frank Pietrobono, recently shared this anecdote with a customer confused about the impact of RSPNDR's services.  

"Last week, a RSPNDR guard partner was dispatched to an alarm in a place of worship in Hamilton, Ontario. Upon arrival, he discovered that a broken candle holder set off the motion detector, causing a candle to start a fire. He called fire services, who quickly extinguished the fire with minimal damage to the property. Because our guard arrived on-site within 10 minutes of receiving the alarm, they managed the fire before it had become a danger to public safety. This kind of service is the RSPNDR difference." 

Check out photos of the event on RSPNDR's Facebook) 

This demonstrates the effectiveness of your product in a way that customers can quickly understand. Immediately, Frank showed the value of our product and made it stand out against all others in the marketplace.   

Plan strategic touchpoints 

Customer touchpoints are essential to building trust between customers and alarm providers. Touchpoints should centre around product education, training, and ensuring the customer uses your product to its full potential with a new customer. 

It is uncommon to find people who can adopt or learn new technology in one training session. More likely, you'll want to follow up with customers to understand how they're experiencing your product and address any gaps in their knowledge. 

If a customer has not armed their alarm in a few weeks, you should ask how they're experiencing the product and whether they need help or more training. This is not an opportunity to upsell or upgrade but to offer extra support. 

Develop effective written materials 

Gone are the days of giving customers a user manual the size of the phone book. Not only is training necessary, but the way you train and the resources shared about your product after you hop off the phone or leave the site are equally important. 

Clear, user-friendly instructions should support in-person training, which you adapt to suit your customer's preferred learning needs. For example, do you have different resources for different occasions? Are there one-pagers on features, benefits, and prices? How about a guide that offers clear instructions on each step to setting up an alarm? Images matching directions are a great way to make resources accessible and engaging. And they are perfect for posting on the walls of monitoring station offices or the kitchen fridge of a suburban home. 

Wrapping up 

Customer service is a great way to differentiate your company in a competitive marketplace. However, it must start internally and from the top. Building genuine customer service into your business model must be ingrained in leadership and employees from onboarding and be reflected in every customer touchpoint. 

Using storytelling to demonstrate the impact of your product and ensuring your training and materials are world-class provides customers with a positive brand impression.

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