The Next Normal
Ways to evolve to better meet the needs of your customers after the ‘great reset’
- By Scott Harkins
- Oct 01, 2021
After the COVID-19 pandemic and safer-at-home
restrictions of 2020, many homeowners and
businesses are well on their way to returning to
their ‘next’ normal. Some have been eager to put
the past behind them, and others are taking note
of how 2020 helped evolve and shape their lifestyles for the better.
Homeowners are interested in investing more in their
surroundings. In fact, a study by Harvard University projected a
healthy pace of mid-single digit gains in annual home renovation
and repair spending this year, with 4.8 percent growth by the first
quarter of 2022.
Businesses are bringing back employees and equipment to
meet pace with new demand, while others have adopted hybrid
working schedules and an enhanced “phygital” (physical +
digital) shopping experiences.
What remains at the core is our role as life safety and security
stewards, and that job is more important than ever as families
manage hybrid schedules and businesses continue to evolve their
offerings. The resulting sense of comfort and confidence, not only
through the life safety technologies we produce and supply but
especially in the customer experience and interaction we offer.
That latter part – an enhanced customer experience – is a key
element that all industries need to really examine, and convey to
their customers, as we enter into the next normal.
CAPTURING INTEREST IN THE NEXT NORMAL
Smart home manufacturers are all measuring and monitoring the
shifts made to daily life, lifestyles and household patterns that
occurred as a result of safer-at-home lifestyles, and will continue
to adjust based on those trends to meet customer needs. Because,
in fact, those highly intending to make changes to a home
express a higher inclination of buying smart home devices in the
future, with 69% planning to buy at least one smart home device,
compared to 40% on average, as reported by recent data from
You have heard the phrase, ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ Well,
that is exactly what’s happening as intent increases for entry-level,
self-installed awareness systems… it’s also elevating the interest
for professionally installed solutions.
To capture that interest, any marketer will tell you that you
need to focus on the four Ps (Product/Service, Place, Price and
Promotion) to be included in the consideration set and shopping
experience. That online shopping experience – in the “phygital”
era – is paramount.
As customers become aware of their need for the product/
service, they will shop around and educate themselves on the
market. The local, trusted dealer that has served its community
(place) for 20+ years has an established reputation of a successful
track record. Does the promotion of your service align to how
customers purchase products today? Does your marketing put
you into their consideration set? Is your pricing transparent? Is
the shopper able to navigate your website easily and comparison
shop? Do they understand the next steps in the purchase process?
As lifestyles meld into the next normal, industries are looking
for strategies to remain competitive and relevant, and those
companies that are evolving to capture interest and elevate
the customer shopping experience can better out-pace the
OFFERING CONVENIENCE WITHOUT COMPROMISE
According to industry research, the current popularity of smart
doorbells helps raise the adoption prospects for a host of smart
security devices, and the video doorbell forecast is expected to
continue to grow. Yet, I have always said: “Don’t rely on a video
doorbell to save you during a life safety situation.”
If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that we need to
have good tools when dealing with a crisis. During a home fire
or burglary, a simple awareness solution – without professional
monitoring – is just not going to cut it.
The professional security industry has historically been
known to customers as a “Do it For Me” service. Yet, during
the last 18 months, some dealers have started to use “Do It With
Me” (DIWM) installations as a great middle ground. Many large
dealers that performed DIWM installations during the pandemic
have since returned to face-to-face installation and interaction to
offer an experience beyond its intrinsic value.
“Do It With Me” represents a potentially perfect middle
ground for companies that have already adapted some of their
operations and installation processes during the pandemic. The
DIWM approach combines the convenience of a DIY approach
with assistance from a professional, and it can be an alternative
solution, such as adding a sensor to a previously installed system,
replacing parts or radio or a less intricate solution installed easily
on demand with the help of a video tutorial.
It can minimize time on site or even a truck roll, and it offers
the homeowner convenience, while mitigating the pain points that
are commonly associated with DIY-installed solutions. In fact,
we often hear that homeowners will abandon a DIY project after
frustration with the technical complexity, integration issues with
existing systems, and lack of customer service.
Regardless of the installation method, a fundamental aspect
of security is helping people to keep their homes safe, secure and
smart; and demand for those services is on the rise. According
to Parks Associates, forty percent of security system owners are
planning to upgrade their system, and more than 40% report
these plans relate to COVID-19. The past year
and half presented more than enough worries,
but the customer’s shopping and installation
experience does not have to be one of them.
This article originally appeared in the September / October 2021 issue of Security Today.