Conducting a thorough site survey is a crucial step in providing your customers with the best possible solution that meets their needs. However, it’s where many solution providers make some common mistakes.
1. Uncover what your customer isn't telling you
According to Jason Destein, a technology consultant for Ingram Micro’s Physical Security Division, regardless of what the customer tells you they want, you’re missing an opportunity if you don’t probe to uncover additional or hidden needs. For example, Destein says a propped-open exterior door should lead you to discover if access control should be implemented. Something as simple as a broken exterior window should prompt you to learn if it was due to an attempted break-in, an act of vandalism or something else. The answer could set you down a path of additional or different solutions beyond what you were originally called to provide.
Beyond asking customers relevant questions, Destein says you should prepare yourself prior to the survey by researching the crime rate and types of crimes committed in the area so you don’t have to rely on the customer for such details.
2. Study the external environment
Surprisingly, Destein says that many solution providers today fail to conduct a portion of their site survey at night. “The angle of the sun at dawn and dusk can have a huge impact on the location and effectiveness of cameras,” he says. “The types of light bulbs in exterior lights can also impact cameras and affect your choices.”
In addition, he cautions that you should note the location of landscaping, such as trees and shrubbery. If close to the building, both can be used for concealment or climbed to gain entry into windows. Additionally, motion detection-based surveillance can be fooled by the movement of these objects.
3. Ask relevant questions the right way
Finally, Destein says many solution providers will ask customers questions without thinking about how they’re being perceived. “Oftentimes, customers will try to hide their problems to keep costs low,” he says. “They’ll downplay their needs to keep you from pitching them a large project.” Destein isn’t suggesting that you ignore the needs of your customer, but rather to converse with them in a way that makes them feel more open to sharing. This can be accomplished, primarily, by ensuring that your interactions are clearly designed to help them, that you’re acting in their best interest.
Using the propped-open door example mentioned earlier, Destein says the proper way to uncover the need is by asking “Is that okay, or is that something we should address as we look to protect your employees/student/customers/etc.?”
By taking into consideration these three simple pieces of advice, you can more successfully uncover the needs of your customers and do a more effective job at solving them—the ideal situation for you and your customer.