Ask an expert: how to provide video surveillance to a new client
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For security businesses, taking on a new client presents certain challenges. Control rooms are highly process-driven, and the addition of a new client can disrupt these processes. How can video monitoring providers seamlessly integrate a new client into their roster? Calipsa asked a security professional from one of the UK’s leading alarm receiving centres (ARCs) for their best advice on how to handle the pressures of taking on a new client.
Got a new client? Check your processes
As a central station / ARC manager, you need to make sure that your operational processes aren’t subjected to excessive pressure by adding a new client; it’s important that your operators and your equipment can take on the extra workload. How does our security expert handle the pressure?
Our training and demo room is constantly updated with new equipment on the market (for example, new camera models like Accusense by HikVision or the CHeKT Bridge by Optex) so we always know what we can achieve through our software integrations. Any new processes are trained out to each individual within our control room, to ensure we always meet the expectations of our customers.
Keeping up to date with the latest technology can help your security business gain a competitive edge. Trying out new cameras, or new software like video analytics, can enable your operators to handle more clients simultaneously. If a particular type of new technology is proven to make large time or cost savings, then you can integrate it into your day-to-day operations.
Training your operators is also key. Even if your control room runs on all the latest technology, without clear and manageable working processes, an ARC won’t be able to deliver the most basic video surveillance service. Make sure that your operators are fully aware of the new client’s requirements, and any subsequent changes to operations. If you do decide to take on new technology, all your staff must be trained to use it before integrating it into a live monitoring setting.
It is very useful to keep a “playbook” for each client, detailing service level agreements (SLAs), site maps, camera positions and views, and processes. These are always a valuable reference point for any new operator, and they are good to keep should your client have any queries. However, where our expert feels they are of the most value is in the site maps:
We hold a record of each process for each customer, however, in truth, it is not really of any benefit beyond the initial training except for the maps. We request on each commission a map of the premises detailing the approximate locations of each camera. We then re-create this to be interactive to enable operators to navigate the site’s cameras freely by following intruders on site using the map.
New client management - tackling cost of security vs quality of protection
One of the trickiest areas to negotiate with any client is cost. While your original proposal might be very thorough, covering all the potentially vulnerable areas of a site, your client might disagree. They might suggest that the number of cameras is excessive, and therefore too expensive. Weighing up the cost of security against quality of protection is not easy, as our expert explains:
It is a very difficult balance as you cannot put a true value on security and peace of mind. However, a perimeter protection can be more cost-effective than covering all areas of site while also providing a tight security net around the premises.
It is important to work with your client to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. They will be conscious of budget, but cost shouldn’t come at the expense of good security. If you can, find a workable solution like the one our expert suggested above - ensuring your client is happy, and that you have peace of mind that you are providing the safest possible environment. If in doubt, establish thorough SLAs with your client, so that all parties understand what is expected.
Taking on a new client is exciting, but also a challenge - especially if you are a small-to-medium sized company. However, with the right operational and client management steps in place, you will find it much easier to expand your video monitoring business.
Want a step-by-step guide to adding a new client to your video monitoring business? From tender application, to operations and account management - learn how do it in our free whitepaper: