Once the sale is consummated, the installation process and beyond creates a long-lasting impression with your customers, whether that impression be positive or negative. Putting into place the proper processes to ensure the long-term satisfaction of your customers is a goal we all strive to meet on a consistent basis.

Our first attempt after the sale to ensure that this occurs is at the start of the installation or “job start.” We require that the salesperson be present at the job start to provide an interface between the customer and the installer/contractor. This is valuable, because the salesperson is able to validate the equipment and services sold during a walk-through with the customer.

Any discrepancies that are uncovered either by misunderstanding or technical oversight are resolved on the spot. This further brings the customer into the installation process and makes them feel as if he or she is an active participant in providing his or her own security.

We find that the second step is to provide a quality assurance (QA) review for each one of our installations. This is accomplished by an in-house group of quality assurance personnel. Once the installation is complete and the installer/contractor has tested the system and all devices including sending signals to the alarm monitoring center, the system is powered down.

The QA appointment is made with the customer and, in many cases, occurs on the same day as the installation. The QA employee powers up and retests the system and all devices to ensure the installation meets our standards and is working properly. This is done with the customers present to assure them that the system is what they ordered.

If there are any discrepancies, the QA employee is able to correct the situation immediately. This also provides an important check on the quality of our installation personnel and their work.

The QA process provides an extremely important role in reducing false alarms from new installations and provides a strong foundation for trouble-free systems for the long term. As we all strive for answers to reduce false alarms, we have found the QA approach to be worth its weight in gold.

The last step in the QA process is customer training. We find this to be QA’s most important role. Proper customer training goes a long way in providing the last piece of the customer service puzzle and it also reduces false alarms.

Our QA personnel are trained technicians and instructors that provide a very skilled and consistent approach to customer training. Our customers are receiving the best training we can provide in an attempt to negate future user problems and to reduce possible false alarms.

We also use our QA personnel for cancellation/re-signs, which actually gives us the ability to re-sign the new customer and put the system online in a single visit. This greatly reduces our attrition rate by re-signing customers in a timely manner.

And lastly, QA is responsible for collecting the balance of the installation dollars. We require balance of payment prior to the system going online. This system works reasonably well as long as the customer is informed of this requirement up front.

Our QA program has been in place for more than 15 years. It has proven to be a great tool for the company, peace of mind of our customers, reduction in false alarms from better customer training, improving our attrition rate and adding to our bottom line.

Provide quality customer service at your company by taking the “right steps” during the installation process.

Editor’s Note: SDM wants to hear your opinion on this and other issues that affect the electronic security industry. If you have a strong viewpoint that you’d like to share with your peers, contact Maggie McFadden, SDM Associate Editor, 1050 IL Route 83, Bensenville, IL 60106; tele. (630) 694-4386; FAX (248) 502-1098; e-mail mcfaddenm@bnpmedia.com. Editors will consider all serious submissions.