Why Companies Should Put Superior Service and Support First

customer service concept

Business lessons in customer support and service from the world of monitoring

Woodie Andrawos headshot
Woodie Andrawos, president, National Monitoring Center

When building a successful business, everything needs attention. Marketing, sales, human resources, employee training – the list goes on and on. And, of course, there is also customer service and support, which always needs resources to expand and grow. Why? Because, in short, happy customers – and partners, for that matter – lead to more significant profits, growth and sustainability.

Service and support matter as much as, if not more than, product, engineering, design, distribution, manufacturing and everything else in an organization. Prioritizing service and support is the key to long-term success.

Above and Beyond

Customer support should be a top priority in any organization’s business plan – not just good customer support, but exceptional customer support. It is as much of a marketing and business differentiator as it is necessary to retain legacy clients, win new customers and build a strong brand. That is why phrases like “exceeding customer expectations” and “committed to customer service” have become common messaging points for large and small companies. But just how meaningful are those promises?

Customers can easily research service providers. While a provider’s website is an essential source of information, customers know that additional insights are to be gleaned from the reviews and opinions of others who have worked with the company. Anyone with access to the internet and social media has vast resources at their fingertips.

In today’s competitive market, customers expect a frictionless, positive experience. When they do not receive what they had hoped for, they are likely to tell others about it, both in person and online, increasing the necessity of delivering quality service to build and retain customer loyalty. At the same time, businesses must also cultivate interest from new contacts looking for companies that will support them. Excellent customer service can also influence pricing, allowing organizations to rise above the competition by offering a superior customer experience.

From an operations perspective, great support helps resolve potential service issues. Having an open channel of customer communications can enable companies to identify problems early in their life cycle so that they can be swiftly and professionally addressed before they become more serious. Implementing and maintaining social media listening can make a firm aware of a brewing complaint, which allows savvy business leaders to quickly move the conversation offline to resolve the problem out of the public eye.

Valuing Partnerships

Excellent service and support are also vital components of successful partnerships. In the security monitoring industry, monitoring providers must ensure that dealers trust their ability to protect and service a dealer’s customer base. Additionally, the service provider must have the right tools, advice and capabilities to help their dealer partners achieve their business goals. A monitoring station should offer a full suite of interactive apps and services so that the dealer can focus on servicing customers, selling additional offerings and driving opportunities.

Alarm dealers should seek a third-party monitoring partner with experience, the proper credentials and a proven reputation for reliability. Evaluate the station’s disaster recovery plan, response times and service protocols in daily operations and emergencies. Consider a partner that will go above and beyond, such as branding their services with the dealer’s name to deliver a feeling of direct support and brand recognition. A third-party central station should handle billing, overnight service calls and other routine activities in order to free the dealer to focus on building relationships in the local market.

But it is more than that. When both parties ensure that a high level of support is a priority for all involved, both experience greater levels of success and pride in knowing they are helping to build a joint vision. Creating and maintaining strong industry partnerships with like-minded businesses results in increased value and higher levels of service and support.

The monitoring industry is tasked with protecting customers, as well as dealers’ businesses. Therefore, a significant level of trust must be present between the parties. Monitoring companies must take this trust very seriously and commit to unparalleled customer service backed with the highest standards and the most innovative technologies available.

Woodie Andrawos (wandrawos@nmccentral.com) is the president of National Monitoring Center.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts and/or profiles are those of the authors or sources and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Security Industry Association.