Recently I received an eblast from a monitoring company looking to take accounts away from another central station provider. I know this type of thing has been going on for almost forever, but it made me think that perhaps it’s time to change this type of tactic—for good.
I guess it was the way in which it was done. The monitoring company specifically targeted the customers of well-known XYZ firm, promising to provide two years of central station monitoring for any basic digital account switched prior to July 31, 2012. Now I don’t know too much about this particular company and I’m not sure if they are a member of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and couldn’t find any association affiliations on their website. I’m not saying that this company is unreliable or doesn’t provide great service, but I am questioning their way of trying to get business—and apparently others are too.
One company responded and sent their own eblast—basically disputing the fact which was stated in the original eblast that “all monitoring companies are basically the same, except for the cost.” This company principal also stated: “This is not the industry of thirty years ago. We look to the future of monitoring. And that is the difference.”
I concur that this is not the industry of years past—it couldn’t be or we wouldn’t be here today. The industry has worked hard to rid itself of its trunk-slammer image, an image of an unprofessional industry ‘ambulance-chasing’ to get more accounts and rack up RMR. And I know CSAA has worked hard at elevating the image of its members and has really championed the cause of reducing false dispatches and made it work.
This is a great place for me to say that you should be selective about your central station providers, look for certifications and credentialing and get to know their value-add in the marketplace. CSAA is a well known and established industry trade group that promotes professionalism and represents members whose monitoring central stations or proprietary central stations have been approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, such as UL, FM and/or ETL. The Five-Diamond Central Station Certification Program goes even further. It signifies five points of excellence:
1) Commitment to random inspections and quality criteria standards by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as FM Global, Intertek/ETL and UL.
2) Commitment to the highest levels of customer service.
3) Commitment to ongoing job-related education and testing by having 100% of its central station operators certified using the CSAA online training series.
4) Commitment to raising the industry standards through CSAA membership and participation in its activities.
5) Commitment to reducing false dispatches. (See more at http://www.csaaul.org.)
I often say: “We are all in this soup together.” What I mean is that we all have to work together to present the industry as a united, professional front. What do you think about account takeover tactics such as these? I’d like to hear your opinion and look forward to having you contact me at Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org.