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5.31.23 – Security Sales & Integration – Scott Goldfine

Security systems integrators and dealers discuss their biggest issues with industry suppliers and partners in the year 2022.

Anyone who has served in this industry long enough to gain a modicum of understanding of it well knows that security is a relationship business. While that applies to many professions and occupations, in this case it runs deeper than most because trust, faith and confidence are essential and central in matters concerning security and safety — where lives as well as valued assets are at stake. As such, you’re rightfully only as good as your word and are held accountable for your actions, as well as inactions. That rings true not just for individuals but for suppliers throughout the channel.

Those factors also mean security is a tightly knit industry. Thus, dealers and integrators talk among themselves and compare notes about which suppliers have their best interests at heart and behave as a full-fledged partners — leading to positive word-of-mouth referrals for suppliers that embody those attributes (see the 2023 Suppler Stellar Service Awards in SSI‘s June issue). By the same token, and likely even more often, dealers and integrators disclose which suppliers are unreliable, disingenuous, too bottom-line driven or otherwise dysfunctional.

For insights to help raise the collective bar, following are complaints voters submitted along with their Stellar Service ballots (names withheld for anonymity):

“Tech support is a race to say ‘no’ and get you off the phone. Hold times are atrocious. Integrations never work the way they should. And they handled the supply chain issues worse than any supplier we work with.”

“With repeated outages and service interruptions, the approach was to respond with either finger pointing and lack of responsibility, or no communication at all until the issues had already impacted users and dealers. Very frustrating!”

“Difficult to return items that are available through them, they refer to items not on the shelf as special order and charge on returns.”

“Calling their tech support is horrible. It can take as long as an hour to talk to someone. They have so many prompts to go through and if you get disconnected you have to start all over. Also, their website is so complicated.”

“It is hard to get in touch with the ‘right’ person to resolve issues with equipment and hold times can be excruciatingly long. When ordering, there is always something that has to get addressed afterward, either shipping the wrong part, mischarges on shipping or not applying credits.”

“Couldn’t get their products for months and when you had to replace sunset units, we got no sympathy. Their return and repair policy is ridiculous because you have to send product back through the distributor, if you can remember which one you purchased from. It is designed to frustrate you to discourage returns for any reason.”

“The return policies are a joke now. After buying equipment from them for almost 25 years, they will stop an order if you owe them a dollar.”

“The product is great when it works. But there have been way too many hours spent dealing with technical issues pertaining to their equipment not functioning properly.”

“Poor communication, extremely long lead times and unreliable lead times when provided.”

“They lost product we returned and tried to charge us. It took two years to straighten that out. Their credit department has slowed us down in getting parts. We just stopped doing business with them unless we have to.”

“Their customer service has been terrible at best and product availability has been all over the place. It’s never the same rep and they are constantly changing management.”

“Their people are unorganized, ship equipment you only asked for a quote from etc., then triple bill your account.”

“They are incredibly unprofessional. We had a tech go to their location and we were treated like ‘red-headed stepchildren.’ We will never purchase from them again.”

“Their website is terrible there’s no response when emails are sent.”

“Communication, pricing, onboarding/training have all been difficult to work through. Their training program is prerecorded, web-based and must be completed prior to sending any physical demo hardware. Communication consists of one-way CRM. Their staff hounds you about sales lead generation and never call to offer potential leads. This is compounded by logistics resulting in months waiting for a demo kit and them constantly asking why we haven’t sold anything. Access to pricing to make things easy to sell has also been difficult. Help us help you is what I continuously tell them. They have poor corporate policies and structure in place getting in the way of actual customer relations.”