014: Four Things to Avoid When Dealing with Your Customers
On today’s episode, we discuss the four things you absolutely must avoid doing when working with your customers in the security industry. There are tons of mistakes out there that people make, but these are four problems that Chris and I see popping up again and again.
Mistake #1: Reacting Emotionally
The security business can be frustrating. You’re working long hours, putting in a lot of effort, and it can be upsetting when customers accuse you of not doing enough. The thing to remember, though, is that they’re worried about the security of their homes or businesses, and that’s naturally going to provoke emotions from them. You have to be the one to push back your frustration and keep things calm.
“How painful is that to try to keep your reactions in check?” Chris says. “When you go to a meeting, and you’re being accused of not providing patrol… when you know you have. And you have to sit there, and you have to eat it.
As tough as it is, that’s a part of the job. There will be great customers that are understanding and helpful, but you need to keep the contracts of the bad customers as well. That means being open to complaints, staying calm, and cutting through the emotions to understand the core issue. If necessary, wait for a while until you can respond calmly without jeopardizing the contract.
Mistake #2: Not Acknowledging The Customer’s Situation
This goes hand in hand with number one. When we let our own emotions dominate our thinking, we tend to close ourselves off to other’s opinions. Even if you keep your emotions in check, just letting complaints roll off you isn’t helping. That makes customers feel as if they’re not being heard.
“You need to check your ego at the door,” Chris says. “A lot of the problems with a lot of security companies is that sometimes the manager’s taking offense at what’s being told to them, so they want to say… ‘this is the way we do things.’ You need to listen to what they’re telling you.”
Contrary to the popular saying, the customer is not always right, but their concerns are always valid. If they call you and are intensely concerned with a problem, you need to match that concern, whether by showing them what you’ve already done to address it, or developing a plan to prevent it in the future.
Mistake #3: Overpromising
Our natural inclination is to say yes to customers. It’s partly a fear that they’ll want to take their business somewhere else, and it’s partly out of pride, not wanting to admit there are certain tasks we just don’t have the resources to handle.
This is short-term thinking at its worst. Customers are going to be much more unhappy if you say yes and then don’t deliver than if you just tell them no from the start and explain why it won’t work. Many customers will appreciate your honesty and forethought.
Mistake #4: Under-communicating
Just as damaging as overpromising is not adequately communicating with customers. You want to make sure both sides are clear about expectations, accountability, and the work actually being done. Be careful about assuming your customers know more than they do.
“Things that may be obvious to us… may be new to them,” I tell Chris. “So some things falling through the cracks, some communication that doesn’t happen, can really jeopardize the relationship.”
This starts with setting the contract. Outline how you’re going to communicate, and make sure everyone understands every part of the process.
One way to make sure that you're always communicating well with your customer is to use a system like Silvertrac Software. We have developed a tool that helps you effectively manage your guards, communicate with your customers, and deliver value to their operation.
Click below to schedule a demo with our product specialists to learn how using Silvertrac can benefit your security company.