The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Customer Service is Bigger in Texas
If you had just one really great idea you could share with the alarm industry, what would it be?
This month we feature John Delongchamp, president of of CFI Security in El Paso, TX.
DELONGCHAMPS' BIG IDEA:
Create single price bundle for all your various services, and turn every interaction nto an opportunity to deliver beyond the original scope for a more positive customer experience.
ohn Delongchamps in El Paso, Texas, is one of the bright young people in our industry. I say bright because he has developed what I feel are a few noteworthy wrinkles to the alarm business. And young because, well, I consider that to be anybody younger than me (which encompasses most of the industry).
However, Delongchamps is in his 40s and considers himself to be one of the most experienced people in the alarm industry. He started with Smith Alarms in Dallas, and then followed his dream out to El Paso and built CFI Security from scratch. It was not surprising that Delongchamps' great idea for the industry is tied to the concept of customer service. However, I believe his approach to customer servie is a little bit different than most.
EVERY ISSUE IS A SERVICE OPPORTUNITY
For one thing, Delongchamps bundles all of his company's services into a single price. Cost of product, monitoring and service — he calls it a "cradle-to-grave" environment for security. No matter what the customers call him about — be it service department issues, a subscirber error alarm, a question about how the panel works, or anything else — it provides Delongchamps' team with an opportunity to render the customer more service than they expected. In other workds, everyone at CFI views a customer interaction as an opportunity to deliver greater service.
I should add the Delongchamps' concept of packaging everything into one price point is not just about building up recurring monthly revenue (RMR) or even the bottom line. He thinks it helps to make the customer experience with company, no matter what it be, a positive one.
However, in talking to Delongchamps the thing that really blew me away regarding customer service was a special app developed by the tech people in his company, exclusively for his company. It's an app that is loaded onto the customer's phone or iPad or an other smart device at the time that an installation is completed. It allows the customer to communicate directly with all departments; if they want to view any aspect of their system (protected by cameras); ask questions; or review statements. This app allows them to do all of it directly, just by hitting an icon on their smartphone or iPad. Frankly, it's much slicker than the way I'm describing it, and if you would like to know more about it, I'm sure Delongchamps wold be happy to send you a sample (drop me a note at email@example.com and I'll forward your request).
ANY MARKET APPRECIATES QUALITY CARE
El Paso is located on the far western end of Texas. It's vast and beautiful, there are lots of hills, I understand there's some great football played there and it seems to be a community that enjoys the life that west Texas brings. In 10 years, through his concept of customer service, Delongchamps has built up a sizable company. It's the kind of a company that, if it were in a larger city, would receive more recognition as well as more dealers standing in admiration (though I suspect competitors in El Paso do respect the kind of company that he had created). It's also a family business — Delongchamps and his wife, Mary, have set an extraordinatily high standard for partners in marriage and in running the company.
CFI Security demonstrates that you don't have to do business just in a major metropolitan area to be successful in the alarm industry. There are small- and medium-sized markets throughout America that are ripe for quality customer service and support from a management team that cares. John and Mary Delongchamps are still fairly early on in their business careers, but they have learned that. Their success proves it.
Ron Davis is Security Sales & Integration's "What's the Big Idea?" columnist and contributing market analyst. He is president of Davis Group, a full-service consulting firm serving the security industry, which also includes GraybeardsRus. He has 35 years of industry experience, including founding Security Associates International in the 1980s.