Systems integrators and alarm installing dealers typically subscribe to a central monitoring station to have their accounts monitored. SD&I magazine asked several leading central station firms about the services they offer dealers and integrators and how they help support this very important group and their endeavors to increase recurring monthly revenue. Support services have changed with the times; there are new software, systems and Web-enable functions for both the installing company and their customers, who are now driven by convenience and bundling of services.
Q. How are you and your central station supporting your customers?
Matt Hoffman, president, AlarmWATCH(tm), Hunt Valley, Md.: We believe in providing transparent monitoring for our dealers. From answering the phone in their company name, to handling all of the dispatching in their name, we provide their clients with a sense that we are merely an extension of the already great service that they receive from their installation company. We ensure all our processes and technologies are at the highest level of industry standards.
Kevin C. McCarthy, national sales manager, EMERgency24, Des Plaines, Ill.: We were the first to offer specialized PET Reports that notify alarm dealers twice a day of any alarm activity from their accounts. This keeps dealers on top of issues with their customers' systems. In turn, the subscriber appreciates that their alarm dealer is thinking about their safety. In fact, EMERgency24 was first in the industry to use the Internet to communicate with its alarm dealers. Our Secure Internet Services is an Internet-based portal utilizing the same secure encryption used for online financial transfers and transactions.This allows dealers the ability to view subscriber account data, including: key holder names and phone numbers; alarm codes and alarm call-back options; alarm activity reports and accounts on reserve. We offer wireless access to Dealer Secure Services for mobile devices too. For alarm system owners, we developed the URSecure site to allow access to history reports that pertain to their alarm system. These reports produce no names, addresses or phone numbers, but do note the date and time of the signal, its description, as well as all parties reached.
Michael J. Joseph, vice president of Operations, SentryNet, Pensacola, Fla.: We are here to help our dealers be successful. Our background and expertise come from two distinct paths through the industry. David Avritt, our founder, began selling systems in the morning and installing them in homes and businesses in the Delta region of Mississippi and I started at the end of a shovel digging ditches for building interconnect wiring. Ikie Lloyd, our vice president has been with the company for 20-plus years and knows the business from the ground up. I worked my way up the corporate ladders at Brinks Home Security, Honeywell and Protection One. Together we provide a wealth of industry knowledge from the combined worlds of the entrepreneur and structured corporate environments.
Q. How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Hoffman: Our biggest feature is our Customer Assistance Program. We take all manuals for equipment that our dealers install and set them up on an online intranet. When their clients call in at 2 a.m. to know how to reset a smoke detector or bypass a zone, our operators can walk them through that process. The customer gets their questions answered right away and doesn't have to wait for a technician to call them back. The on-call technicians will not receive a call at 2 a.m. because a customer needs to bypass a zone.