I entered the security industry in 1988, so in many aspects I am still a newcomer. I had left the broadcast industry after working for an equipment manufacturer for almost eight years. While the products we provided were technically innovative, we lacked the ability, or should I say willingness, to properly support our equipment after the sale. After entering the market as a pioneer, we left it as just another struggling company that hadn’t understood the real needs of our clients.

That bit of background brings me to the real issue of this column.

During the last 17 years we have all seen dramatic changes within our industry. The change that I am the most pleased with is the change in perception of most integrators related to the delivery of product and service to the customer. When I entered the security industry, I wondered if the reputation of my new employer and industry would improve or worsen. I was pleased to discover that I had actually taken a step up. While there were issues, most security integrators appeared to be reputable and responsible. There remains the occasional “trunk slammer” with his “tail-light warranty” (the warranty only lasts until you can no longer see the tail lights of his truck.) But for the most part, integrators have been able to overcome the perception bestowed upon us.

In 1996, Tech Systems embraced a radical customer service philosophy that I can say with 100 percent certainty was a major consideration in Tech Systems being named the first SDM Systems Integrator of the Year in November, 2004. Our program, which we call FOCUS (For Our Clients’ Ultimate Satisfaction), is designed to guarantee that clients’ expectations are always met or exceeded. It helps us reach our goal of developing long-term partnerships with our clients by providing escalating levels of benefits – technical, economic, and educational – based on our clients’ level of investment with Tech Systems. Of late, I have seen similar attitudes and policies being adopted by other integrators.

Those of us who have implemented such concepts understand that the only thing we really have to sell is service. In order to truly deliver what our clients deserve, we, as customers of the manufacturer, need and deserve that same extreme and radical customer service. I am sorry to say that in most cases, this is the missing link in our industry. Too many of our suppliers are simply selling boxes; after the sale, support is non-existent. Several of these companies appear to be victims of their own internal bureaucracy.

At Tech Systems we only support manufacturers that understand and provide the same level of service that we provide our clients. Fortunately, the number of manufacturers that are willing to embrace a similar philosophy is growing. Hopefully, those manufacturers that have yet to discover their “missing link” can change so the potential of our industry can be fully realized.