How IQ Certification can be a Differentiator

Oct. 8, 2021
Integrators certified by The Monitoring Association make quality service into a competitive advantage

This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of Security Business magazine. When sharing, don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter.

Security integrators, like so many other service providers, have faced significant challenges to their traditional business model over the past 18 months as a result of the pandemic. Sales and installation cycles have been disrupted in both the residential and commercial markets, as access to customer and prospect properties has been restricted to a large degree. Security system installers have been resilient and innovative in adapting their means of outreach, support and service.

The pandemic has presented an opportunity for installing dealers and integrators to take a more holistic view and evaluation of their operations and to identify what makes their business unique in the markets their company sells and services.

What distinguishes one security system installer/integrator from the next? Can you win more business by simply telling prospects that your company is the best? If you answered yes, you would be wrong.

In early 2020, The Monitoring Association (TMA) assumed management of the Installation Quality Certification Program – IQ Certification – the only quality control program for installations, maintenance and service of electronic security systems. The program was reviewed and revised to keep pace with changes in the security industry.

“Systems designed properly with the proper equipment, installed properly by trained technicians, monitored properly, and operated by properly trained users typically operate without fault or failure for years and reduce false alarms,” TMA President Don Young says.

A Differentiator

Consumers will most often base a purchase decision on price if they are presented with no other means of comparison between perceived similar products. Price helps us judge quality – prove to the consumer that you are offering them the “better” value for the price offered, and you become the perceived better choice…why? Consumers want to know that they are spending their money wisely. Quality provides that value; however, quality is more than words, it is also actions. Today more than ever, consumers want to see proof of the perceived quality that your company offers.

As an IQ-certified installer, an integrator will realize measurable improvements from end-to-end – not only in system operation, employee efficiency, and employee advancement, but most notably in customer retention rates and false alarm reduction.

 IQ works to improve relations between the alarm industry and public safety. By knowing which companies are working to reduce false dispatches, IQ Certification identifies quality companies to consumers. Your company will also appreciate a reduction in no charge repairs and call backs.

“The IQ Certification Guidelines provided a foundation upon which our company established best practices for the operations,” says Amherst Alarm President and CEO Tim Creenan. “These guidelines have helped us create and grow a business that provides systems that consumers can trust because of the demonstrated low dispatch rates. The program has created a large competitive advantage for us. Our sales team uses the IQ certification to differentiate our company from the competition. It is a wise investment for any security systems company to invest in quality.”

The Benefits

In order to be IQ-certified, companies pledge to adhere to a stringent code of ethics and to provide top-notch maintenance and service. They also must train their employees in indus­try-recognized programs, meet all licensing requirements, and carry proper insurance coverage. Most importantly, companies must demonstrate that they are meeting these requirements annually in order to be re-certified every year.

By identifying areas within a business where quality guidelines can be developed and implemented, integrators can begin to measure results and progress of quality improvements. Establishing timetables is also critical to achieving quality goals, as you cannot achieve what cannot be measured. Integrators will also realize increased employee efficiency, retention, and technical competency. Quality-driven companies benefit from improved installation procedures and business processes and reduced false alarms. The financial benefits follow as well.

As to your customer base, IQ Certification sets integrators up for increased success by way of heightened purchase satisfaction, which leads to more customer referrals. For families and businesses, IQ Certification eliminates the guesswork often associated with finding a highly competent and professional alarm company.

IQ-certified installers are required to complete a nationally recognized training program. In addition, IQ companies agree to observe a rigorous code of ethics and follow specific quality control measures on each system. Once an installation is done, installers will complete an Installation Quality checklist with the customer which reflects the family or business is fully satisfied with all aspects of the system and installation. All users of the alarm system will be fully trained in its proper operation.

As your business and others continue to adapt to the new sales and service landscape, it is more important than ever to identify new ways to distinguish an integration company. Service and support is a key and a vital area where integrators can directly and measurably impact the quality delivered to customers and in turn set themselves apart in a crowded competitive market.

As always, customers remain one of your best and most valuable sources of sales leads. Set yourself up for success as an IQ-certified installer by visiting – where integrators can learn more about the benefits and rewards of the IQ Certification program.

Celia T. Besore, MBA, FASAE, CAE, is Executive Director of The Monitoring Association (TMA). Learn more at

About the Author

Celia T. Besore

Celia T. Besore, MBA, FASAE, CAE, is Executive Director of The Monitoring Association (TMA). Learn more at