Sometimes choosing a vendor or service provider is as simple as asking a colleague who they use in their organization. Other times you need to go through a formal bidding process using requests for proposals, or RFPs. But the critical nature of access control and other security products and systems makes it extremely important to select a vendor who delivers strong customer service and satisfaction, helping you create a secure enterprise and better mitigate security risks. Here are a few tips on how to best evaluate your future access control provider.

Talk to Their Customers

Ask the provider for a list of references of organizations in your industry and of a similar size to your own. Go as far as to ask for companies in your geographic region. When you get that reference on the phone, ask them direct questions about the support they are receiving for their access control system. How is the vendor’s customer service? If/when they run into problems, how it is handled? What do they wish the vendor would do better? How flexible is the access control provider, and how knowledgeable are they when discussing options such as mobile access control, system integration and cloud-based offerings? What is the reference’s favorite aspect of working with this vendor? And would they contract with this vendor again, if given a choice?  

Learn about Them

Ask the supplier to come to a meeting prepared to answer specific questions about the history and size of their company (sometimes smaller companies can provide better customer service because they are more agile); whether or not they offer 24/7/365 support; their continuous training program for your team; their North America and global expertise for your company’s expansion; how they ensure quality in their manufacturing processes. It’s also important to ask about their cybersecurity practices; this has become a critical issue as any product on the network has the potential to be a vulnerable entry point for hackers. Today’s leading access control providers have made cybersecurity a key element of their access control operating systems, and the supplier should be able to clearly communicate that to you.

Find out who your main contact person would be, in each region or country, to ensure that their personality and goals align with yours. Finally, ask them to tell you how they have handled any difficult customer relations issues in the past, and how they have changed their processes and procedures to prevent further issues.

Talk to Their Customer Service

Another way to evaluate a security provider’s customer service is to call their customer service. Pick up the phone (or have a member of your team do this) and call the vendor’s customer service line. Does an employee at the company pick up quickly?  Once you are on the phone with a customer service representative, ask a few technical and non-technical questions. How does the employee respond? Are they pleasant over the phone? Are they helpful? Are you getting transferred multiple times before your questions are answered?

Review Their Website

Take a good look at the company’s website. Are there easy-to-access guides or videos to help potential customers or clients through problems? Do they display their contact information clearly? It is easy to navigate with self-service resources? 

By taking the above criteria into consideration, before you sign any contracts or agreements, you can choose a provider for your access control system who is committed to customer satisfaction, who is available and responsive and who will meet your needs and ensure that you are satisfied with the performance of your system today and well into the future.