ATS’s strategic approach to customer service helped earn the company an SSI 2020 Small to Midsize Installer of the Year runner-up honor.
It was another incredibly impressive showing for SSI’s Integrated Installation and Installer of the Year Awards. Read about the winners and runners-up throughout the month of July by visiting the Best of the Best page.
Acadian Total Security (ATS) is a division of Acadian Ambulance Service, the largest privately owned ambulance company in the United States. Based in Lafayette, La., ATS began providing personal emergency response systems (PERS) and central station monitoring in 1991. The growth of these services eventually led to the creation of three separate UL Listed security monitoring centers.
ATS launched its retail security business in 2014 with additional service locations in Houma and Lake Charles. With more than 175 employees, the company specializes in residential and commercial security, with smart home automation, video surveillance, video verification, access control, GPS fleet tracking and A/V services provided throughout South Louisiana.
Providing exceptional customer service to the company’s more than 34,000-strong client base is priority No. 1.
“Acadian prides itself on being 91% on time for our 30-minute window scheduled appointments. We do not believe in the typical 8 a.m. to noon appointment window, or the 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. afternoon appointment window,” says ATS President Blane Comeaux. “We believe that our customers deserve better service by assigning tighter window appointment times. Our customers really appreciate that we respect their time. This shows up in our customer surveys and in customer referrals.”
ATS was formed in the mold of its parent company where every element of its personnel — be they billing staff, medical staff or human resources reps — is in the business of saving lives. As a result, the security provider has fostered a culture where every employee is involved with delivering an exceptional customer experience while also protecting the lives and property of its customers.
“It is this culture that drives our employees to be the best because anything less would just not be in tune with the Acadian experience that our patients and customers have come to expect from us,” says Director of Operations Brandon Niles.
To deliver an exceptional customer experience, Niles explains the company is constantly reviewing and monitoring a series of key metrics to evaluate the amount of time specific types of jobs take to install. While each job is different and presents its own unique challenges, ATS has found that by analyzing data on a regular basis on job types and technicians, it can closely estimate exactly how much time a job will take to complete.
“This allows us to sell jobs with an appropriate amount of time designated and to schedule our jobs with enough flexibility to make sure we meet our on time goals and ensure customer satisfaction in this area,” Niles continues.
Surveys are left with each customer to acquire constructive feedback, with sales and retention staff charged with following up with each customer after an installation to ensure all of their needs were met. Upper management reviews the surveys monthly to update policies and procedures to resolve any outstanding issues.
“From a high level view, we evaluate our customer service with the friends and family test. Simply put, would you recommend and trust your service to protect and serve your friends and family. From there, we look at our voice of customer surveys and determine how we can improve in that area and make the customer experience better,” Niles explains.
In the case of a bad voice of customer survey, Niles continues, an upper management representative will reach out to the customer to explain the situation and how ATS plans on improving it for all of their customers moving forward.
“We have found that open communication with our customers and taking ownership of mistakes builds trust with our customers and helps foster the type of culture that we’re trying to instill in all levels of our customer service team,” Niles says.
Strategic Best Practices
Each year ATS upper management convenes off-site for several days for strategic planning sessions to establish objectives, goals, strategies and measures for the following year. “We take aggregated data and information from our annual employee surveys to help determine our goals,” explains Marketing Coordinator Michelle Trahan. “This gives our team a clear and concise plan of action and defined targets.”
The strategic plan is then conveyed across the board to all employees by their immediate supervisors and managers. Monthly staff meetings are held to assure everyone is familiar with the desired end result and any problems or concerns encountered can be addressed. Consistent communication not only helps increase employee satisfaction, Trahan says, but also leads to healthy conversations with team members that enable ATS to create revenue-producing ideas and cost-saving measures.
“The best way to grow our business is to keep our customers satisfied. We are continually expanding our product and service offerings. Smart home automation, wellness solutions and A/V are areas of growth for us and ways to attract new segments of the market,” she continues. “We partner with many vendors to test and develop new technology we feel will be beneficial to our customers.”
Typically business initiatives are created toward the end of Q3 after detailed discussion to determine if the initiatives meet the overall strategy of the company’s business plan. At that point, if upper management decides to move forward with them, the initiatives are budgeted for and planned out based on a number of factors including customer desirability, profitability and resources needed to implement.
“Generally speaking, the strategies of our business plan are reviewed on a quarterly basis and tweaks are made as necessary based on factors such as competition, market shifts and financial analysis,” says Niles. “Any large overhauls or major changes to the overall strategy of our business plan require a special executive meeting and corporate review prior to starting.”