Cruzin’ with Susan: The New Age Central Station

Progressive and Traditional Monitoring Services combine to give dealers a variety of choices to boost recurring revenue.

Jim German
Senior Vice President
Security Associates International, Inc.
Technology has always played and will continue to play a huge role in central station operations. Accuracy and the speed at which information is accessed is probably the number one benefit the more recent advances in technology have provided to central stations. The faster information is relayed to our operators, the faster they can respond to the situation and hence the safer the subscriber.

Technology has also allowed subscribers to be more a part of their security process. Improved technology allows customers to remotely monitor their systems, video images can be transmitted in seconds to a PDA and customers are now going online to check their daily alarm activity. Thanks to technology, subscribers see how their security system is working for them every day, providing for increased usage and frequent recognition of the value their system provides. As a result, companies are seeing lower attrition rates—a direct result of getting the customer involved in the process.

At SAI, we are constantly introducing dealers to new services, technologies, advancements and up-sell opportunities. At times it can be somewhat overwhelming for any dealer to keep on top of it all. However, dealers are excited, just like we are, to provide their customers with more value and expand their relationship with their customers.

The introduction of new technology and products takes time. First, you must introduce dealers to the new service or technology and ensure they understand the features and benefits. Then, of course, they have to turn to their customers and educate them on the service as well.

Dealers always need to look for fresh ways to approach customers with upgraded or new services. It’s simply not the same as selling the basic monitoring services of the past. New products and services need to be clearly presented in such a way that consumers quickly comprehend the benefits, but more importantly, believe they can easily adopt these new technologies into their everyday lives. Educating and reminding customers you are looking out for their best interest and only introducing them to the services they truly need will enhance the dealer-customer relationship.

What has surprised us and our dealers is the end user’s desire to become more actively involved with their security system’s information and operation. Many of our new services support both the dealer’s and customer’s wish to have more hands-on involvement with their security purchases.

Three of the most popular services SAI provides, in addition to our residential and commercial monitoring services, are: WebNet, a service that provides dealers with real-time access to all subscriber accounts through SAI’s WebNet Account Management service; and Customer Internet Access (CIA), an online service that gives subscribers control of their security system’s account information. Additionally, MyFunding allows SAI’s Authorized Dealers to see in real-time where their accounts are in the funding process. Dealers are notified of any issues that may delay funding so they can rectify them immediately, and they also know exactly when and how much they can expect to be paid.

Don Maden
Executive Vice President
COPS Monitoring
Primarily, technology is allowing us to give our dealers more time through convenience and simplicity. Also, since COPS Monitoring uses proprietary software, we have the ability to more easily implement almost anything we feel will truly make us more effective, efficient, and reliable. The bottom line is that our dealers realize better service and cost savings.

Because of the new technology, there is often a change in the way dealers sell, since these are not the traditional types of alarm services, but they do complement them. As more dealers get into integration, there is a more open-minded approach to what else they can sell to their account bases.

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