Successful security, home control and integration installation companies understand the benefits of making time for client support and reap the benefits of happy clients, such as future business and referrals. An additional benefit is that with solid client training, the number of calls for assistance or service from your customers diminishes.

What is it clients need to be trained on, and how can you tell if they “got it?” Your clients need to know how to use a system in the easiest way possible to achieve their desired results.

People typically only use 10-15 percent of the capabilities of a system. Identify two or three key uses your client wants from the system, teach them how to do those and give them simple instructions/reference sheets.

Demonstrate operation once, and then turn control over to them. Next, verbally walk them through the task, and always have them touching the buttons and control. Follow up by having them do it again without your guidance and comments.

Teach them the two or three key uses and have them demonstrate to you their ability to achieve these, varying the requests to make sure they understand and learned each task and are not just repeating steps back to you.

Take plenty of time to explain it and give them space to work it out for themselves. Patience, understanding and words of encouragement all contribute to successful training.

Client support encompasses more than just client training — it includes preparation for the training and ongoing support afterwards. Each step is important, starting with the creation of user instructions/reference sheets that are easy to read and follow, and a client manual containing key information about the systems installed, their setup, owner manuals and warranty cards.

To prepare for client training, perform a “dry run” walk-through by the project manager, create a punch list of items to be done and complete the list. Get ready for the on-site client training by scheduling plenty of time to meet with them, prepare a thank-you gift and gather the instructions and client manual to take along.

At the client training, establish a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of time to do a walk-through, train on the systems and go over any questions they might have. Afterwards, follow up with a thank-you letter or card, e-mail or survey to be completed.

Continue with ongoing support — call or visit one week and month after training and six months later. Keep in contact with them on an annual basis. These follow-up calls and visits are not drudgery — they are opportunities for more sales and referrals!

Who Should Train?

Some dealers think installers or technicians are the right people, while others pick project managers, because of their technical expertise. But these are the wrong people. Who sold the customer the system? Who told them what it would do for them? Who promised them they would be able to use it and would love it?

The salesperson did all this and should always be looking for a referral. Now some might say salespeople do not understand the system and cannot figure it out, but if they do not, how can you expect the client to? Remember, the key is to select two or three key tasks the client will use 80 percent of the time. Make these tasks easy to use, and have salespeople understand how to do them so they can teach the customer.

To have successful projects and happy clients, execute the project cycle full-circle. Dedicate time to the last phase, client support. Happy clients are the result of well-designed systems, efficiently run projects, quality products, professional installation, and culminate with effective client training and ongoing support.