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Spotlight on Leadership

Building a Team to Focus on Customer Service

When Rex Gillette joined Protection 1 nearly six years ago as its Vice President of Retail Sales, the company was better known as a small business and residential security provider with a very small dedicated National Accounts organization and no retail focus. Recruited by industry veteran Bob Dale, he was tasked with recruiting, hiring and building out a team of sales professionals to serve this specialized vertical market.

Gillette was no stranger to the retail market. He started his career in retail security in 1983 as a territory sales rep for Sensormatic Electronics in the Northeastern part of the country. Over the years, he served in many roles including area sales manager and director of sales. In 1996, he was asked to lead Sensormatic's efforts for the Asia/Pacific region where he served as General Manager with responsibility for the entire P&L. Upon returning to the United States six years later, he assumed the role of vice president of sales for what was to become ADT Security Services' retail division, after the acquisition of Sensormatic by Tyco. Prior to joining Protection 1, Gillette also served as Director of Retail Sales for Vector Security.

His 30 years of experience taught him that serving the customer first was the key to success for any organization which aligned well with Protection 1's core philosophy. Having joined the Protection 1 team, Gillette set out to build a dedicated, world-class retail sales organization. The attributes he looks for most in his team members are integrity, relationship building and problem solving skills, hard-working and motivated.

He credits Protection 1's customer service platform with his ability to attract the best in the industry both from an employee and customer perspective. When recruiting new team members, a great selling point for Gillette is the fact that his sales professionals can focus on meeting their customers' security needs, not chasing down service technicians. 

In order to do that Protection 1 operates a National Account Operations Center (NAOC) for its large, enterprise national account customers including major retailers. The center is responsible for the design and implementation of large scale system roll-outs encompassing technology ranging from simple BA conversions to integrated electronic security systems. This is done through a program called 1 Touch Pod.

This program entails a dedicated team of four to five people who are assigned to an account, with one individual overseeing the activities. These teams sit and work together and are familiar with all aspects of the job and customer requirements. The group is responsible and accountable for all customer interactions with Protection 1, including account management, order entry, installation, service delivery, monitoring and billing. The team monitors the account every day to ensure the systems are working at peak performance and to identify trends that could potentially turn into problems down the road, making it possible for early intervention. This team liaisons with the NAOC Field Operations team to implement a customer's requested installation timetable, manage communications and collect installation sign-off documents.
Gillette and his team can also tap into the company's Network Operations Center (NOC) and Integrated Solutions group. This Center has a dedicated staff of Cisco Certified, Meraki Certified, and Sonicwall Certified team members. The NOC is primarily focused on providing real-time monitoring of IT-sensitive systems, including up/down status and network performance metrics. In addition to monitoring systems for performance and potential problems, the NOC also designs, installs and commissions LAN/WAN networks for companies that either do not have the internal resources to accomplish this task on their own or for those who want a dedicated security only network. The addition of the Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Express Partner Certification introduces a new level of capabilities and expertise to the NOC in this growing outsourced services market. Outsourcing of these activities is progressively gaining traction in today's competitive retail world.

When Gillette first joined Protection 1, the company's primary offerings were around burglar alarm and small fire systems. With the support of the NAOC and the NOC, his team can now offer advanced technologies that many of his customers are looking to include in their security portfolios. Retailers recognize the need for solutions that not only protect people and property but also help them deliver a more efficient and effective operation to give them an edge in today's competitive environment.

Gillette feels that the company's reputation for consistently maintaining a 97.3% customer satisfaction rating and A+ BBB ranking make attracting top notch employees and notable customers a reality. Simple things like phone calls answered by a Protection 1 operator and not an automated phone tree, typically within one ring are stand-out functions in today's fast-paced business climate. Offering same-day service is standard and not an upcharge at Protection 1. And unique offerings like TechTracker, a service that notifies the customer when a technician is scheduled for their location, just add to the customer first mentality at Protection 1. 

The focus on customer service that Protection 1 provides has allowed Gillette to build his team over the past six years and greatly expand its retail customer portfolio to include some of the country's top brands. The devil is in the details and for Gillette, it's all about the details.

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