Adding personal emergency response systems (PERS) to your security business is a great way to diversify your offerings, increase recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and perceived value, and provide your customers with products that offer increased security and peace of mind when they are away from home.
Adding medical alert devices enables traditional security dealers to become a single source for all of a customer’s security needs, thus growing your customer base. That said, incorporating medical alerts into a security business can be daunting. Where do you begin? What is needed?
Here are seven tips and best practices for getting started:
1. Choose the type of PERS product and supplier. There are a few types of PERS devices to choose from: landline, cellular base station, and mobile PERS. Consider the needs of your customers and look at offering PERS devices that would cover their most common requirements.
According to the CDC, nearly one in four seniors does not have a landline phone at home, so they are looking for landline-free options. Many seniors are also looking for medical alerts that offer them the freedom to run errands or travel and still have access to help at the press of a button.
That is where a mobile PERS (mPERS) device may make the most sense. mPERS devices are fully self-contained, with two-way voice built into the pendant. They offer access to help both at home and away from home, wherever there is cellular coverage. Mobile PERS can also be easier to set up than landline or cellular base station systems, and they can offer faster ROI.
Within the mobile PERS space, there are a multitude of available features. Some mPERS devices feature long-lasting rechargeable batteries (up to 30 days), and they can also include fall detection, GPS and even WiFi location technology. Some offer 911 backup dialing outside the cellular coverage area, and U-TDOA location technology through 911 operators. Some mobile PERS also offer low battery alerts and tracking tools for caregivers.
Once you know which PERS products to offer, it is time to choose a wholesale PERS product supplier.
Considerations when evaluating PERS suppliers include:
- If it is an end-to-end PERS solution, including devices, platform and monitoring;
- Quality and ease of use;
- Whether the platform and monitoring center are geographically redundant to ensure the products are always working at optimal levels;
- Responsiveness of the support team;
- Whether hardware and service fees are all-inclusive; and
- If they offer customized marketing materials to help you get started.
2. Hire and train sales and support staff. Be sure to have a sales and support staff who can answer PERS sales and customer care questions. Salespeople must be able to speak slowly, clearly and warmly, and they must be able to relate to seniors. It is beneficial to create a sales script to guide potential customers through the features and benefits of the product and answer common questions and objections.
3. Select an inventory location. Ensure you have a place to store product before delivering to customers. Create a process for shipping and recycling medical alert units, and identify the best shipping carriers for your budget.
4. Examine your customer base and how to best reach them. Study the customers you would like to market to and come up with a way to reach them to help you hit the ground running. For example, existing customers could be reached through billing inserts and email newsletters, while prospective customers could be found online, through referral programs or via local senior-focused organizations. Customized marketing materials offered by some PERS companies can help you reach both audiences.
5. Create a separate PERS end-user agreement. This subscriber agreement should be exclusive to PERS customers, and it may be slightly different than the typical security subscriber agreement.
6. Become a referral source instead of a supplier. If you would like to offer PERS to customers but are not interested in handling daily support or shipping, one option is becoming a referral source for a PERS company and directing customers who are interested in mobile PERS to that partner company.
7. Get help from your supplier. Select PERS companies, including Freeus, can assist a dealer through each step of setting up a PERS division and integrating it into your company.
Arthur A. Von Ahnen is the New Business Account Executive for Freeus LLC, a wholesale provider of mobile PERS systems. To request more info about the company, visit www.securityinfowatch.com/12209877.