Every year, Protection 1 sets an internal theme. In 2011, the theme was “Unstoppable,” which evolved from a paraphrase of a Thomas Edison quote that says, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves,” describes Jamie Haenggi, chief marketing officer, Protection 1, Romeoville, Ill.

Haenggi says the company, ranked No. 2 on the SDM 100, lived up to the theme — and then some — in 2011 in several ways.

“Protection 1 broke through a lot of barriers this year. It broke through introducing industry firsts such as Tech TrackerSM and the eSuite Data Manager; it broke through creating a name and place for itself in national accounts; it broke through performance levels; it broke through in customer service, getting named one of the top five call centers in the country. It really has been a year of being unstoppable and it is great to feel the momentum,” Haenggi notes.

The end result wasn’t so clear at the beginning of the year when the company was halfway through a complete overhaul. The previous year, in June 2010, GTCR, in partnership with Timothy Whall, purchased financial interest in Protection 1, and Whall became the chief executive officer (CEO). Whall then set out to turn a declining company into a growing company.

First, Whall created a new blended management team consisting of existing Protection 1 leaders as well as adding new members to his senior team; then he guided the company through a rebrand, unveiling a new look to accompany the company’s new focus and vision. Debuting at ASIS 2010, the new Protection 1 brand image and logo emphasized the numeral, 1.

“The number one in our name sets us apart and we wanted to create that distinction in our logo,” Haenggi explained at the time. “It guides all that we do — to answer calls in less than one minute, provide service within one day, create one seamless experience for national account customers, act as one team across more than 65 locations and more. Every one call, every one person, every one employee, every one experience counts.”

Brands aren’t just the logo, however. As Haenggi describes it, “A brand is a living, breathing organism called the employees.” With that in mind, Protection 1 executives set out to unify the entire company to act as one where the customer experience was the cornerstone of the company.

From day one, Tim Whall ensured a clear and consistent message about the customer experience.

“It can take a lot of money, time and effort to improve the experience your customers have. All people generally want to deliver a good experience for the customer, but Whall added some additional twists to it. It wasn’t just about a great experience, it was about the consistency in that experience — a great experience across all 65 branches and across all call centers. He also focused on some specifics, emphasizing speed and quality,” Haenggi shares.

With those specific goals in mind, Protection 1 worked to reduce its service backlog from 5.5 days to same-day service across the company.

“Many employees thought it was impossible. However, people did what they were asked to do, and when they began to see results there became a sense of pride in their personal performance as individuals, as a team and as a company. It was truly our first step in unifying our company as one team,” Haenggi says.

From there the company focused its call centers on one key metric determined to have the greatest impact on customer experience: longest call waiting (LCW).

“While most call centers manage by averages, we believed that it is not the average that matters, but the single customer experience. We do not want any customer to experience a wait time of longer than 60 seconds before they are speaking to our agent. A year ago, our longest call could hold up to 11 minutes. The teams considered a 60-second LCW a near impossible challenge especially since adding head count was not the solution. However, in less than two months, we were answering 99 percent of our calls within three seconds and the longest call did not hold more than 60 seconds. When our centers started seeing their results — they started asking for more goals.

“While the demands are set high, the passion from our people is genuine — they care about what they do, they care about our customers, and they care about each other. Our people create our culture, and our culture is our brand,” the company stated.

One of Protection 1’s newest service offerings, Tech TrackerSM, is also working to improve the customer experience in multiple ways. First, it notifies and confirms the customer’s schedule of service. Second, it lets them know when the technician will be arriving — letting them know in fact, when he is on the way and his estimated arrival time. Third, customers not only know when their technician is coming to perform their installation or service, but Tech Tracker also allows them to see a picture of the technician and view certifications, training and skill levels. (For more on Protection 1’s Tech Tracker service, read “Do You Know Where Your Techs Are? P1 Does” on www.sdmmag.com.)

Commercial customers weren’t left out of Protection 1’s new offerings in 2011. Protection 1 rolled out eSuite services — a secure online data information portal aimed at helping security management.

eSuite Data Manager allows customers to assign site administrator and user functions, add and remove site contacts and change contact information and personal identification codes. Customers can run alarm activity and exception reports on an ad hoc basis or schedule a receipt of regular reports. eSuite gives customers access to data on their terms, the company says. As part of its eSuite set of services, the company offers Protection 1 Dashboards which provide a quick and easy way for a customer to see key metrics for their security program. Protection 1’s approach to delivering this data is unique in that, first, it is customized to what matters to the customer and, second, they don’t have to log into a portal to get their information — instead it’s delivered to their e-mail or mobile device.


Expanding Growth

2010 and 2011 year-to-date was a year of growth for Protection 1. Within 12 months, the direction of the company went from primarily a residential company into a commercial/national account, full-service company. There had not been organic growth at Protection 1 for more than 72 months and within 12 months, the company reversed this ongoing revenue decline while focusing on new segments, including the multi-family division, which has seen an 820 percent increase in recurring monthly revenue (RMR) this year alone, and the national accounts / commercial division, which has seen a 131 percent increase in RMR.

Protection 1’s hub for its national accounts is the 1-Touch National Account Center in Irving, Texas. It is here that national account services are handled by a 1-Touch Pod — a self-contained group of individuals prepared to handle every aspect of a specific customer’s account from system design, to installation, to monitoring, to billing and everything in between, all from a single location. (For a sample of what Protection 1 is doing with one national account, VCA Antech, a provider of pet healthcare services, see www.sdmmag.com and search by Protection 1.)

Driving the company’s expansion in this area is a team of national account managers, which has grown from 12 a year ago to more than 50 today.

Those are just a few of the many things Protection 1 was able to accomplish this year — all part of a major turnaround, sparked by the vision of Whall and the actions of it employees. In one year, the company’s “internal rebrand” created unstoppable success from the inside out.


At a Glance

Protection One Alarm Monitoring Inc., Romeoville, IL

Doing business as: Protection 1 Security Solutions

Website: www.protection1.com

Employees: 2,500

Revenue: $347 million (estimated) in 2011

Market Focus: Protection 1 designs, installs, maintains, services and monitors electronic security systems including intrusion, fire, video, access control and systems integration. It serves a wide variety of markets including residential, commercial, national account, multi-family properties as well as dealers through its wholesale division, Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS), which monitored 864,036 accounts as of June 2011.