Being ‘brilliant with the basics'

Pro 1 says new research shows national accounts customers just want good service
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Thursday, September 1, 2011

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—As part of Protection 1’s effort to grow its national accounts business, the company’s senior management is asking national retailers, banks and other such nationwide companies what they want from a security provider.

And Jamie Haenggi, Protection 1’s chief marketing & customer experience officer, said the company was surprised to learn from its new “Your Voice” research that all the national accounts clients listed as No. 1 a very simple thing: on-time installations.

“It’s not about all this magical stuff. It’s literally about, ‘Hey, I just want all my installations done on time,’” Haenggi told Security Systems News.

She said the company has learned from its research that, “really, the ultimate security provider in the minds of the buyer is being brilliant with the basics.”

Protection 1, which is based here and has 65 branch locations nationwide, traditionally has focused heavily on residential accounts. But company president and CEO Tim Whall told SSN in 2010 that he intended to grow national accounts from $7 million to more than $100 million in three years.

And earlier this year, Protection 1 announced it had acquired the national account base of a Las Vegas-based security company, securing 25 to 35 key national account customers.

Haenggi said Protection 1’s Your Voice research initiative was begun earlier this summer and is ongoing. She said the company plans to reveal more of its findings at the ASIS show, to be held in Orlando Sept. 19-22.

The initiative involves senior management, including herself and Whall, she said. They contact security directors and other executives at both Protection 1’s existing national accounts customers and prospective ones, and talk to them for an hour or more, asking them to respond to a six-page questionnaire.

“We just ask them different questions about their security provider, their job and how the job has changed, and what their needs are from a security provider, and if they could design the ultimate security provider, what would that look like,” Haenggi said. She said they also ask customers about some new ideas Protection 1 is considering, just to get their reaction.

So far, about 30 customers or potential customers have been interviewed, she said.

“We’ll probably continue to do it at least once a week, because it’s great for us at a senior level to hear directly from the customer about what’s working and what’s not working. And … it’s not just customers, it’s prospects as well, so we get a good idea of what they’re looking for,” Haenggi said.

Among other initiatives Protection 1 has instituted to grow its national accounts business is tying a large part of the bonuses that general managers receive to customer satisfaction, Haenggi said. “So they’re really customer service managers,” she said.