Plain Talk: Join the Best
October 1, 2006
Iâ€™ve been a member and supporter of NBFAA for more than 30 years and CSAA for more than 20. I notice with sadness, that many in the industry are pushing multiple calls before notifying the police of forced entry. These procedures certainly help the larger, national companies achieve their targeted cost of 50 cents per month per subscriber, but at a price of reducing the true value of investing in a properly priced security system.
Some of these companies reduce costs by avoiding customer contact. This is detrimental to their customer (which was promised â€œimmediately,â€ but is provided something else). These customers find that as they experience more false alarms, arming their alarm systems is less attractive, which in turn, results in increased attrition.
Dialer delays and multiple calls before notifying the police do not â€” repeat â€” do not reduce false alarms. They increase false alarms because these alarm companies do not program immediate reset signals (to cancel police) nor do they provide annual inspection of the protection, provide battery replacement prior to failure and even more important, do not investigate that day or the next the cause of genuine false alarms. The real false alarms caused by high resistance, defective motion detectors, dirty smoke detectors, loose doors, etc., are not properly identified and corrected and, therefore continue to cause false alarms.
Iâ€™ve observed that as companies purchase other companies, they get to be run by financial rather than operational executives. I guess this makes sense but itâ€™s no wonder that the emphasis is on what the purchased monitored accounts can do to the bottom line rather than how the new organization can maintain or improve service, and provide better, faster, more reliable monitoring in order to maintain and improve customer loyalty which reduces attrition.
Being one of a thousand mid-sized, customer-oriented security companies, I have been a proponent of having our trade organizations support my companyâ€™s concepts rather than that of the national companies and those that imitate them. Perhaps our trade organizations could come up with a program: â€œJoin the best! Build your company, improve the ethics of the industry, minimize attrition, build client loyalty, have the lowest false alarm rate and bring 25 percent of gross income to the bottom line.â€
Company owners that are interested in providing value and reducing competition would eliminate all communication delays, program immediate cancel signals and would immediately call the subscriber upon â€œcancel.â€ The operator might ask, â€œIs there a need for police response? No? May I have your identification word? Thank you for your test.â€ Never hearing from the alarm company after the alarm sounds doesnâ€™t engender confidence. An unexplained alarm received at a quality company would result in a work order resulting in an immediate investigation and a prompt resolution, which would result in elimination of that false alarm source â€” forever. This program increases customer contact, customer loyalty, and customer confidence in their investment in security and very low attrition. It doesnâ€™t eliminate customer dying or customer moving, but it does take care of the other causes of attrition that often grow to 11 percent and even higher.
The savings resulting from unethical dialer delays (unethical because â€œimmediateâ€ was promised) and further delays from multiple subscriber calls, all without a real program to eliminate sources of true false alarms, can never cover the cost of attrition going from 5 percent to 11 percent or more.
When I see our trade organizations leading the best, rather than following the worst, I will see increased membership in those organizations along with those new members earning more money from an ethical industry.
For the many readers that will vehemently disagree with me, I offer to compare their attrition and their number of police dispatches per subscriber per year with mine.