This month Simon Banks talks to Colin Langdown, Managing Director of Christie Intruder Alarms. The family-run business is one of the largest independent security systems installers in the UK.
As strong advocates for apprentices, what advice would you offer to companies sceptical of this approach?
Think about where your business might be if you hadn’t invested in your future. Taking on apprentices is the same investment but with even greater returns. By carefully selecting, training and moulding young stars of the future, you can steer them away from the bad habits and working practices that might get picked-up in other organisations. It is how we have maintained CIA’s culture of service excellence over all these years.
You have your own research department, how do your customers benefit from that investment?
We offer our customers the very best in security products and services and that means keeping up-to-date. But there is a difference between innovation and being on the ‘bleeding edge’ of technology. Too many companies start using the latest gadget only to discover problems after they have fitted the first fifty. However, if you find the right product and become one of the pioneers, you will set yourself up to be a leader and expert in a very competitive market. After all Simon it was you and I that fitted the very first DualCom back in 1996!
As one of the UK’s largest regional installers, what has kept you at the top for almost four decades?
There are three groups of people that we never take for granted, our employees, our suppliers and our customers. Our greatest asset is the team we have at CIA and I am so proud to work with each and every one. Building long term relationships with suppliers, paying them on time and collaborating on new ideas means they will always look after
us when we need their support. Finally, never underestimate the importance of excellent customer service. We always go that extra mile!
Does your choice of products help to sustain the profit margin within your business?
A product that repeatedly fails will mean you either lose your profit or lose your customer! Selecting the right product will give you the chance to be more profitable on the installation but also gain valuable recurring revenue streams and repeat business. Most importantly it’s not just about the product itself, but the company behind it.
What do you predict will be the next ‘big thing’ in security and why?
We are in the security industry so the last thing I want is for someone to steal our ideas! It’s not about what we install but the skill set of the person installing it. Therefore I do have a word of caution. With the proliferation of IP within the industry, do IT Professionals really have the skills and experience to secure a building? Secondly, do Security Professionals have the skills to install IP ready equipment?
You Said It!
“We have been using Gemini Insight for many months now and are really impressed that with this handy portal, DualCom have given their customers such easy access to so much useful data.”
Shan Hill, Director, Inferno Fire Safety & Security Solutions