Boo! A Halloween Safety & Security Guide

With early nightfall, folks out of their homes, and a tradition of mischevious tricks and treats,Halloween often accompanied by a spike in criminal activity.

In fact, insurance companies reported a 26 percent increase in reported burglaries from October 30 to Nov. 5. So how can you ensure your home and family will be safe during this festive time of year? While it may seem obvious, be sure to shut and lock windows and doors. In the rush to start trick-or-treating it can be easy to dash out of the house and forget something like this when your kids are eager to start gathering candy.

Beyond that, here are some tips that keep you safe:
– Make it look like you’re at home. Leave the radio on, draw the curtains, and leave some lights inside on. Consider whether you’ll leave the porch light on. A switched-on porch light tells kids you’re home and ready to dish out candy. With interior lights on, you can make it seem like you’re at home while indicating you’re not handing out candy.
– Legitimate trick-or-treaters should be off the streets by 9 p.m. at the latest, so be wary of anyone knocking on the door later than that.
– Consider adding motion-sensor lights. Not only will these make your home safer and help avoid slips and falls, it can keep would-be-burglars away.
– Don’t forget to set your alarm. Even if you’ll only be out for an hour, it’s a good idea to set the alarm. Criminals are looking for opportunities, so anything to deter them is a good idea.

Keeping Your Trick-or-Treaters Safe
– Teach your kids the basics of walking safely: look both ways before crossing the street; keep your heads up and not down looking at phones; make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them, and stay on sidewalks and paths.
– Children under 12 should trick-or-treat with adults.
Stick to well-known and well-lit areas, and never go up to strange or unfamiliar homes or cars.
– Trick-or-treating in a group isn’t just safer, it’s more fun.

With these simple tips and a bit of common sense, you can keep your home and family safe. For more safety ideas, contact Advanced Security Systems at 707-443-6366 in the Humboldt County region, 707-544-9200 in the Sonoma County region; and 707-464-1975 in the Del Norte County region.

Six Great Take-Aways from the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center

The entire staff of Advanced Security Systems’ Eureka, Crescent City, and Santa Rosa offices gathered for an incredible opportunity to hear Joe Quitoni share the Ritz-Carlton’s approach to world class customer service.

For those who don’t know, the Ritz-Carlton has created a reputation for best-in-class customer service by empowering its employees to show genuine care and compassion for all its guests, whether they’re buying $30 million residences in the hotel’s Central Park property, or they’re just stopping by for lunch in Cleveland.

Service techs at a table
Advanced Security Systems’s staff enjoyed an info-packed event with the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center’s Joe Quitoni.

Joe is the Corporate Director, Culture Transformation at The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center. Joe travels the world sharing the Ritz-Carlton customer service philosophy, and his message filled everyone at Advanced Security Systems with a renewed enthusiasm for delivering the best possible service to our customers.

“I liked to think of it as a ‘factory reset’ on our approach to customer service so we can go back to look at what our core values are and what are our non-negotiable when it comes to the customer experience,” says Chuck Petrusha, President and CEO of Advanced Security Systems.

Joe delivered three presentations; “Welcome to Service Excellence Culture,” “Customer Service Reenergized,” and “Memorable Customer Service.” Some of the important messages from Joe included:
1) Customers expect a certain level of service, something that meets the bare minimum. To really ‘wow’ your customer you have to create a one-of-a-kind experience only you can deliver. Your competitors can likely deliver the same product you can, but you can deliver an experience that’s unique.

2) The magic is in the details. Joe told a story about the Ritz-Carlton’s “212 Degrees of Customer Service.” At 211 degrees, water is just water, but at 212, it boils and turns to steam and that steam is powerful enough to move a locomotive. Think about adding that extra degree to your customer service and how it can elevate a routine customer interaction.

3) Engage with your customer and get to know his or her needs. The more you know about your customer, the more likely it is you can deliver a service or product that will go above and beyond what they’re expecting. Taking time to ask basic questions, like why they needed your service that day, can open doors to new opportunities. And take notes on what you find out so you can make a connection the next time you meet with that customer.

4) When a customer says they’re doing fine, worry. Joe shared an acronym for fine, Fine Is Not Engaged, and a customer who isn’t engaged isn’t going to advocate on behalf of your brand. Take that customer from doing “fine” to the next level, the engaged level, by showing you genuinely care about their needs.

5) Great customer experiences start with great first impressions. Being well groomed and courteous are just starters. Being sincerely engaged is the next step. For example, greet your phone customers with “Hello, you’ve reached Advanced Security Systems, this is [name]. Whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” Sending a customer an email? Always start it with the formal greetings Mr. or Mrs. If the customer interaction is face-to-face, try subtly mirroring their body language, which is a nonverbal way of saying you understand them. And don’t forget LAST, “Listen, Ask, Solve, Thank You.” It’s an approach to solving customer issues that shows you’re fully committed. It starts by really listening to what your customer is saying, asking relevant questions, solving their problems, and then thanking them for the opportunity to engage with them. This last step is important because every time you solve a problem you’re a little bit smarter and more prepared for next time. So thank your customer!

6) Finally, Joe reminds us that mistakes happen, and it’s OK. What’s more important is how you recover from that mistake. If you’re solving a problem for a customer always give them a choice on how to resolve the issue; don’t try to impose your solution on them because then your customer will feel put upon and ultimately resent the interaction.

Advanced Security Systems extends deep thanks to Joe for this incredible event and we can’t wait to put your lessons into practice.

Teaming Up to Support Victims of North Bay Fires

Eureka, Calif.–St. Bernard’s Academy, partnering with local businesses, is gathering food for victims of the North Bay fires in Mendocino and Sonoma counties.

Beginning, Friday, Oct. 13, donations will be accepted at the following locations:

  • Advanced Security Systems, 1336 4th Street, Eureka
  • Danco Builders, 5251 Ericson Way, Arcata
  • Humboldt Fence Co., 564 HWY 36, Fortuna.
  • Pacific Motor Sports, 4001 Broadway, Eureka
  • Saint Bernard’s Academy, 222 Dollison St, Eureka

The plan is to deliver several rounds of supplies. “First, we’re gathering the most urgent necessities, which are non-perishable foods,” says Chuck Petrusha, CEO and President of Advanced Security Systems. The food will be delivered to the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Salvation Army Santa Rosa Corps.

According to the food bank, the most needed donations include ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods, and case lot only. Loose packages of food cannot be accepted at this time. The foods should be easy to open and easy to eat–many shelters do not have kitchens for heating and preparing food. Those donating are urged to not bring glass containers.

Non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods include breakfast bars, protein bars, applesauce, fruit cups, peanut butter, jelly or jam, unopened dry cereal, canned juices, dried fruit, and more.

For more information about the donation effort, or to arrange drop-off of supplies, contact Advanced Security Systems at 707-443-6366.

For Those Affected by the Redwood Complex Fires

Dear Advanced Security Systems Customers:

As you no doubt know, residents in the North Bay and Wine Region have been hit by one of the worst wildfires in California’s history. The loss of life is tragic and the number of homes and businesses burned is simply staggering. Our thoughts and prayers are everyone with you our neighbors in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties.

Like many of you, our staff members have evacuated their homes and are still waiting to receive word whether their homes are still standing. During the disaster, your home was never unmonitored and our 24-hour Central Station continued to operate. Our office is open and ready to assist you; just give us a call at 707-544-9200 if we can help you in any way.

For Those Directly Affected by the Fires
First, our deepest condolences if you and your family experienced loss in the fires. If your home or business was lost or damaged please call us at your convenience and we can suspend or cancel monitoring service and help you with any billing issues.