The most important thing.
Last week, I had an 84-year-old customer come into my office, very upset with her alarm. She was having difficulty remembering the code, did not understand how to operate the system, and wanted to completely get rid of it. Her alarm was causing more heartache than it was providing peace of mind.
She proceeded to tell me how life is so much more complicated than it was in the past. She told me, “When I went to the grocery store to buy bread, there were two options. Today? There are 30.” We call that advancement, but do we really need 30 different bread options? She felt the same way about her alarm system. She had lived for years without one; why did she need one now?
One of the main reasons she was concerned was because she still had time remaining on her contract. In fact, the reason that she came into the office was to negotiate with me about getting out of her contract. She came into my office nervous and worried about being obligated to paying for a service that she did not want. She looked shocked when I told her,
If you don’t want an alarm, you don’t have to have one.
As General Sales Manager, I take all the disconnect calls that come in to our company. Why? Because every circumstance is different, and each of our customers deserves to be treated like an individual. We’re not in the business of enforcing contracts over circumstances; we’re in the business to help people. Our customers are the reason we do this.
I told the woman that if she wanted to cancel the service, I would handle it for her and she wouldn’t have to worry about any further obligation. While sitting in my office, I wrote a note requesting the service be discontinued. Before she signed it, I mentioned to her that she should check with her homeowners insurance company to see if she was receiving a discount on her insurance. I let her know that sometimes the homeowners insurance discount is enough to justify paying for the monitoring service. I asked her to call me when she got home and let me know the outcome of her visit with the insurance agent.
About an hour later, she called me back. As it turns out, she was receiving a discount on her insurance that justified keeping the monitoring services. Now, my mission had changed entirely. Instead of canceling the service, my job was to help make the operation of her alarm less complicated.
I went to her house and as it turned out the alarm just needed to be cleared from being in the alarm mode. Once that was done I spent some time with her to make sure she was confident in the operation of her system. We also gave her a key fob remote to use so that she did not have to remember a code or use the keypad to arm and disarm the system.
When I left the woman’s house, we had armed and disarmed the system several times together, and she felt relief and reassurance that her system was something she could operate. The bottom line is this: not only did we satisfy a customer’s needs, but we made a friend in the process.
Why do I tell this story? Mainly because it is the reason I love this business. I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a technology nerd. I love knowing about the technology we can install in people’s homes. But that’s not the reason I love this business. I love it because I get an opportunity to truly help people.
And no matter what business you’re in, that should be the most important thing.