In the security industry, everyone dreads the ends of their contract terms. In this podcast, we discuss common pitfalls and false beliefs that can cause clients to choose not to renew their contracts, or to drop out of month-to-month agreements.
All five of these contract retention strategies come down to one core concept: Understanding your customers’ needs. In order to better understand how to do that, Chris Anderson and I spoke to Danny Garcia, owner of JDS Security in San Diego.
1. Define What Success Looks Like For Your Clients
All clients have their own specific needs. The managers of two similar properties might have very different priorities when it comes to security. It’s impossible to win big for your client if you aren’t sure what their goals are.
This process starts before you onboard a client. It’s important to speak to them and identify their individual goals. Then, you need to gather measurable data about these goals so you can track your impact over time.
When it comes time to renew a contract, you can go into that conversation armed with data that proves your effectiveness.
"When we bring someone new on...we want to establish a partnership versus just being a vendor. We sit down with them, set up the system, and tailor it to their needs. We do a walkthrough with the client on their properties as well, to make sure we have every key point that we need,” says Danny Garcia.
2. Have Systems in Place to Measure your Impact
Once you know your customers’ goals, you need to make sure you have the right methods and tools for collecting data that proves your value.
Danny gave us the example of lockups. With a tool like Silvertrac, he can give his clients numbers and reports that clearly show when lockups were performed. By tailoring the system to a client’s needs, he can even make sure guards take a picture of every locked door to prove beyond doubt that they’ve secured the property.
This doesn’t just apply to routine items like lockups. Creating reports based on the specific pain points of property managers will make their job easier, and give them something to pass along to executives that can help ensure your contract gets renewed.
What gets measured gets improved. Measuring the impact of your officers will help you renew contracts, increase rates, and get more referrals.3. Schedule Regular Reviews
Chris Anderson recommends setting up a regular check-in with every client. Speak with them and identify when they have availability, and make sure to call when you say you will. Depending on the customer, these check-ins can be as often as once per week, or as infrequently as once per quarter.
Send reports like property profiles and issue type reports from Silvertrac to the customer prior to your meeting. Ask them if they’re getting everything they need from you, in an order that works for them.
Remember, these reviews are on the terms of the client. Most of your points of contact will not just be in charge of security—they have other responsibilities they need to attend to. That’s why it’s so important for you to change your services to better suit their needs.4. Add Value Wherever Possible
The most reliable way to grow an existing contract is to look for additional value you can offer the customer. If your officers have extra time while on site, or are performing simple tours that don’t require too much attention, these are opportunities to accomplish more for your clients.
One example is common ground inspections, where officers are mostly just making their presence known. When you know the client’s needs, it’s simple to double down on these tours and inspect lighting, landscaping, sprinklers, or some other system without adding too much extra work for your personnel.5. Never Settle For Poor Officer Performance
This strategy sounds intuitive, but it bears repeating. Holding a high standard for your officers is one of the most important ways you can consistently deliver great work to your customers.
“It does cost us money, but in the end, I’d rather spend the money and make sure my client is happy than give them a mediocre guard,” says Danny from JDS Security.
Writing up every violation and dismissing guards that aren’t up to par might be unpleasant, but it’s the only way to retain and grow your contracts. In addition, having the right processes in place will allow you to address personnel issues as they happen instead of finding out from customers.
“It comes down to people, products, and process,” says Danny Garcia. “That’s how you tailor a service that [clients] want and need.”