Interactive services: start the conversation today

The ESA Leadership Summit kicked off this morning with the breakfast session: “Finding Your Place in the Residential Interactive Services Market,” and it was apparent that the industry knows its future lies in being able to ‘touch’ the customer in order to keep them coming back for more.

Moderated by Brandon Savage, senior vice president, Customer Experience for Devcon Security and including speakers Michael Pope, president of Safety Technologies Inc., and Patrick Egan, president of Select Security, the session highlighted practical sense tips to help make security dealers and integration companies top of mind with their customers and prospects.

Egan told the audience: “If you aren’t selling interactive services, you’re losing business. We are in a world that’s rapidly changing,” he said, “and what’s really changed of course is the communications channels.” Egan said that last year alone, his company put some 1,300 interactive services on line, adding that “these are a better customer base, because they are using their systems every day.”

Pope added that security companies need to change and embrace interactive technologies and services, because their clients are “changing on a dime.”

“You have to take advantage of the interactive business and there’s never a better time to get involved in automation services,” Pope said.

“It’s actually an easier sell than having a discussion on POTS going away or GSM; that doesn’t mean that much to them,” Pope continued. “We have started discussions with our customers and are calling them about interactive services. Some 75 percent who we have had the discussion with were converted to interactive services,” he added.

Savage of Devcon said the company is making sure it becomes well entrenched in the interactive services market. “Customers are asking for it. Our challenge is: ‘how to teach old dogs new tricks’ with regards to our sales staff. We have found that sales personnel who are trained to sell interactive from the beginning had a higher close ratio,” Savage said.

As far as competition from utility companies, Pope said that alarm dealers and companies “don’t have to compete with them because a lot of people don’t want a utility company putting in security or other services.”

Egan echoed that sentiment: “If we can get there on a sales call, we can get the business even after Comcast visits.”

And companies are urged to start having a conversation immediately with their current subscribers.

“Don’t wait for your customer’s contract to expire to have a conversation with them. You can find a lot of ways to touch the customer with interactive services,” Pope said.