Why customer assessments matter

Working with end-users

The idea for this blog came up off the back of a PSI panel we recently contributed towards (if you don’t know of PSI or the monthly panel debate they have, we would strongly recommend having a read. The editor puts a ‘hot topic’ question to a number of security experts and publishes their responses. It’s a great place to gauge general opinion in the industry – and one that often gets us thinking. Find out more about PSI here).

The panel that got us thinking asked: “How can installers ensure that the risk assessments they carry out are appropriate and will lead to the optimum system being installed for the application?”

In discussing the question it became clear to us that there was one steady constant – the importance of customer communication. In turn, it became clear that a risk assessment is part of a bigger, customer assessment that each time proves pivotal to the quality of service we, as a remote monitoring station, and the installer are able to provide.

As we responded in our PSI panel:

“We, as security professionals, hold a responsibility to ask questions to ultimately gain the trust of our customers. We need to ensure we are deploying solutions that are right for each client’s unique needs.

Security professionals must be self-critical and ask: is this installation offering a solution or is it a box ticking exercise? If it is the former installers can be confident they are meeting their customer’s needs. It is likely they will have consulted everything: risk; value; benefit; technological fit; environmental factors; budgets; management, and much more.”

With this in mind, and the potential difference a strong customer assessment can make, we thought we would put together a blog on the topic too.

What do we mean by customer assessment?

To start with, a customer assessment for the purpose of this blog refers to the process of getting to know your customer before a sale is made – crucially, it means assessing their property, their needs and their expectations from a security system. Part of that may include a risk assessment, where you as the security expert assess the level of risk to their site and assets from criminal activity or due to environmental damage.

What difference does a thorough customer assessment make?

When a customer assessment is thoroughly conducted it can have threefold benefits for you, as the installer:

It’s a great starting point for a positive customer relationship

In conducting a customer assessment you essentially need to get to know the customer. There needs to be a two-way conversation. From their point of view they need to be telling you:

  • why they are approaching you for a security system;
  • what they expect to be achieved as a result of the system,
  • and, if possible, what they expect to be paying.

In turn, you need to be telling the customer honest and accurate information about what a security system can achieve for them within their budget and recommend a solution that combines great technology with great service. That includes explaining how the services of any partners – like a remote monitoring station – work.

Exchanging all of this information with a customer before they sign on the dotted line is a great way of establishing trust – something we all know is essential in our industry.

It also helps you to get to know your customer: a great foundation for a strong relationship where they will come to you in future, as a trusted security partner. In turn, that can be a source of recurring income for your business.

It helps your partners deliver a better service too

This is a really important point for us here at Farsight. The better a customer assessment is, the better we can tailor our service towards the customer’s needs.

For example, if you’re able to ascertain whether the customer believes there is a particular threat to security or high-risk areas to their site, this information can be crucial to helping us conduct effective remote monitoring. With our experience monitoring sites across the UK, we may also be able to offer technical recommendations to help overcome these perceived risks.

Recommend the right system for the customers needs

It can, with all your experience of installing security systems, be easy to assume what a customer requires. You may be missing out on an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell by my making quick assumptions though.

For example, in discussing the customer’s needs with them it may become apparent that they do not only need CCTV, they may also need access control or additional intruder alarms.

A customer assessment allows you to understand exactly what the customer needs and wants from a security system. Giving you the scope to recommend the right solution.

Don’t stop at the initial customer assessment – stay in touch

There’s no need to stop at the initial customer assessment though. If the customer chooses your security services, following the assessment and quote, it’s crucial that you continue communicating. Whether that’s with further recommendations following a soak test or as part of an agreed maintenance contract.

With that in mind, make sure you keep a close eye out for our next blog that will explain why it’s so important for us to communicate, at the right times, with our customers and installers too.