The Silvertrac Extra: A Blog & Podcast for the Security Guard Industry

048: Questions Every Security Company Should be Asking Their Customers

Aug 17, 2015 5:52:00 PM / by Chris Anderson

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Clear communication with customers is one of the most important ways for security companies to improve retention and get more referrals. Customers often don’t have much visibility into the specifics of your day-to-day activities, so it’s important to clearly communicate what you’re doing and how it’s creating value for them.

It’s also important to understand their needs so you can continue to find new ways to create value for them in the future. That means asking questions, and not just generic queries such as “How can we be serving you better?” Here are some great questions you can ask customers to really improve your service.

Question #1: Tell Me About Your Favorite Service Experience 

“How can we serve you better?” is a generic question, and it will almost always get you a generic answer. This question adds a nice little twist that should get them talking about specifics rather than generalities. Ask them to discuss a great service experience they had, either as a business or as an individual consumer.

This question encourages them to come up with concrete ideas that can improve your service. Customers don’t always know what they want, but they do know what they’ve liked in the past.

This is a great way to not just get a sense of what you can be doing better, but also to develop a better relationship with the individual property manager or whoever you may be dealing with. Their answer will tell you a lot about their preferences, how they like to communicate, and how involved they want to be.

Question #2: What’s One Thing You Wish Your Other Service Vendors Would Do? 

Again, this is a question that encourages your customer to think about concrete suggestions rather than vague ideas such as “more accountability”. Plus, it expands the purview beyond simply security services, showing your willingness to be a committed and involved partner in their business.

“Asking the question alone, whether you change your approach or not, lets the customer know that you’re actually caring, you’re engaged in what’s going on,” said Johnny on today’s episode.

Most importantly, this can help you to address any potential problem areas before they arrive. Often, asking this question early on in the account will get you a frustrated response from the customer about basic things their previous security contractor wasn’t taking care of. That way, you can make addressing these tasks a priority.

In addition, it can help lead you into a more freewheeling conversation about their needs and what tools you can use to better address their problems. I remember a customer that discussed how her previous security contractor had done a decent job checking air conditioning units on the roof, and I was able to show her how we could attach a time-stamped audio file to reports using our incident reporting software so she could tell if copper wire had been stolen.

Question #3: How Can We Measure Success?

This is an important question to ask in order to make sure both parties have similarly priorities and are the same page. This is definitely one to ask early on, and then make sure your periodically refresh and revisit the topic. Customers’ priorities can change, their business can change rapidly, and you want to make sure your service and standards are adapting to meet those changes. 

Make sure, though, that you’re keeping a regular log of these questions and their answers. You don’t want to have different representatives asking this question two days in a row, and you don’t want customers having to cover the same topics they’ve already answered. That’s how you get generic answers and frustrated customers.

Related Article: How to Conduct a Security Post Inspection

Question #4: What's the most recent incident in which we failed to meet your expectations?

This question works great as the beginning of a one-two punch. Start out with the negative, give customers a chance to bring up any issues so that you can quickly and effectively address the problem. Even just by asking the question, you’re showing a willingness to talk about and deal with mistakes, which customers will appreciate.

Ideally, of course, the answer will be that you haven’t failed to meet expectations. That’s a great answer to get, and it segues perfectly into the follow-up question.

Question #5: What's the most recent example of how we have exceeded your expectations?

More than anything, this question is about ending the conversation on a positive note. You want to get any concerns or issues out on the table, but you also want to end the meeting with the customer thinking about your successes rather than any concerns they might have with your service.

These are all great questions to be asking customers on a regular basis. I always tried to schedule regular calls with customers every couple of weeks and make it clear to them that these conversations were a routine part of our service. Having these calls and asking these questions are a great way to improve your service and show customers that you’re dedicated to their success.

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Chris Anderson

Written by Chris Anderson

Chris is the Founder of Silvertrac Software and has been working in the security industry for more than 25 years. He enjoys working with our clients everyday to help them grow their businesses and really enjoy what they are doing.

Chris currently lives and works in Seal Beach, CA.

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