|Customer service is a vital part of any vendor’s business approach – from the |
planning stages, to installation to maintenance of the access control system
In today’s highly competitive and technology-rich security marketplace, an organisation’s customer service is as important as the product solution they offer. Let’s face it, you will always remember if the customer service was terrible – or if it was great. Do they go the extra mile or do they forget your name after the sale is made? Do they just express intentions or do they actually follow through on them?
Let’s look at four important indicators that can help reveal an organisation’s true commitment to your customer satisfaction.
Every customer and every access control installation is different. Inevitably, some aspect of the installation, hardware topography and software programming varies from one location to the next. Customer-focused vendors understand this and will accommodate as best they can whether it’s a system for 20 doors or an enterprise-wide project; hosting the headend or custom designing a system to meet specific budgets and needs.
Top access control vendors understand the marketplace and offer access control solutions that have the capability for scalability and backward compatibility. Today’s best-in-breed access control solutions enable legacy systems to be upgraded and/or integrated. By deploying an advanced access control solution, vendors can help facility professionals create custom systems that enhance operational safety and security. As an example, the combination of solidly-built access control hardware and a variety of robust software-based applications allow users to monitor facilities and/or specific areas within facility locations in real time, while sharing data with other systems over a single platform.
2. Expertise in implementing access control systems
The overall expertise and experience of the customer-focused organisation can help guide the user in making a better and more confident decision regarding an access control implementation.
They can quickly and easily design and install the system, integrate it with existing technology (i.e. video surveillance cameras, intercoms, elevators, etc.) or even offer to host the headend. The organisations usually have close connections between various departments such as sales and engineering which can lead to innovative custom solutions. Technicians and/or installers are usually factory-trained and are knowledgeable on the product – an important factor since simple things like wiring mistakes have the potential to void the warranty.
|Access control systems and software require ongoing service and support |
to ensure continuous and reliable operation
3. Service support
Once a sale is made and a system installed, the customer may need follow up action. Access control systems require ongoing service and support to ensure continuous and reliable operation and having easy access to the vendor, along with their support and understanding of the situation, is paramount.
There are many different ways for the customer to contact a vendor including phone, email, chat and social media but none of them are effective if the vendor is not listening or doesn’t follow through. Delays compromise security, so customers deserve a go-to person they can rely on when they need them most – typically when something goes wrong and requires immediate attention. That go-to individual has access to everyone when it comes to helping the customer and no one worries about whose job it is because they understand that helping the customer is everyone’s job.
Issues are logged so that trends or patterns can be identified. Whether encountered in the field or over the phone, the information collected can be used to change policies or procedures that can help improve responses. Another practice of a customer-focused organisation is to keep good records of everything installed. Often, techs go into a facility and there is no record to document what access system was originally installed and how. This creates a tremendous amount of work that can be easily avoided for future upgrades. Good installation records can make staff more efficient by speeding up processes and reducing manpower costs, and the customer can benefit from a portion of the savings passed along to them.
4. Training on new access control techniques
After-sales training is as important in the smaller or medium sized project as it is in an enterprise installation. Beyond the training itself, it provides an opportunity for the customer to discuss with the integrator any issues that may be of concern regarding the installation, the product or anything else going forward.
Maintaining up to date training on products is equally important for the vendor and helps provide better customer service. New access control technologies – including those that are also backwards compatible – require new techniques to ensure they are properly implemented and utilised to their fullest potential. In past years, training sessions consisted of an agenda of items that manufacturers wanted to convey to a group about the latest products. Along with the benefits derived from gaining information on new features, implementation and installation tips, trained staff often have heightened confidence in their ability to solve a customer problem or be more proficient in installing an access control system and make fewer costly mistakes.
When you carefully observe and evaluate these four indicators, you will be able to see clearly whether the vendor’s customer service is a goal or an actual practice.