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Bookmark and ShareWednesday July 17, 2019

Knowledge is Power… and Profitable

By: Bob Johnson, i-SIGMA CEO

It is commonly understood that professional services command significant economic advantage over services requiring no perceived expertise.  For most, medical doctors come to mind, and even within their ranks, those with specialized expertise extract the highest prices. Before you think I’ve lost it, I’m not going to tell data destruction and RIM professionals that they need to demonstrate the knowledge and credentials of doctors. Frankly, medical doctors are not a good example of where this is heading.

Insurance and real estate professionals, however, are good examples. To the best of my knowledge, you can’t do either without demonstrating a level of expertise. Makes sense, right? Someone out there giving the wrong insurance or real estate advice can do a lot of damage. If they don’t know what they’re doing, they can get their customer into a lot of trouble. Same thing if they take advantage of the customer’s lack of knowledge.  And, besides protecting the customer, it assures a cleaner marketplace, it creates a level of trust and assurance with the customer, and the professionals themselves are more highly regarded and more highly compensated.

So, while I am sure you see the comparison with data destruction and RIM now, you also understand that your customers do not tend to view our services as requiring a similar level of expertise and integrity.

Two things about that:

1) They are wrong

2) We’re to blame

The Customer is Wrong

Read the news. The businesses that use our services are in the crosshairs daily. They are in desperate need of a service provider who is capable and unafraid to tell them what they need to know. Instead of asking what time they want the equipment or boxes picked up, we should be explaining how a properly written policy or assignment of a compliance officer will prevent a finding of negligence.

Service Providers are to Blame

To date, service providers have been happy eking out a small margin (or not) - just going with the flow. We don’t push back if the client’s risky misconception suits our needs. These are not the things professionals do! Is it going to take some very smart, very brave industry professionals to change this? Yes. They are called leaders.

i-SIGMA has a big part to play in creating this transition. NAID AAA Certification and Privacy+ Certification are part of that. So is the NAID Certified Secure Destruction Specialist® (CSDS®). As an industry we still have a long way to go. One way you can lead is by joining the ranks of those leaders.

I started by talking about the profit margins commanded by professionals. I am convinced we will live in a world where the customer would not dream of hiring an unqualified (or under-qualified) service provider. As such, those qualified service providers will be the only one’s left standing and they will make the margins a professional should make…..

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