Vivint's Customer Service Takes on New Meaning in Tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo.
When the deadly tornado hit Joplin, Mo. on May 22, just over 500 Vivint customers were among the residents impacted by the historic twister.
The following morning, Vivint’s customer service team began calling each customer in the area to make sure they were alright. “The nature of what we do—protecting families and simplifying their lives—creates a powerful bond between customers and employees,” said Josh Houser, vice president of service at Vivint. “These relationships extend far beyond whether or not customers are having a good experience with our products. When something as devastating as the Joplin tornado happens and we know customers have been impacted, we pick up the phones. In this case, we weren’t sure how we could help, but we needed to try.”
By mid-day, the service team had reached several customers who expressed a need for food and clean water. By the afternoon, local Vivint employees were delivering supplies.
“It is one thing to watch it on TV or see pictures of disasters like this,” said Clive Sanderson, regional field service manager for Vivint’s central mid west region, who led the effort. “But to be there, standing in what used to be a bustling neighborhood is an eerie experience, and one I will not forget in a hurry. We saw people walking around, still dazed and obviously shocked at what they had just been through. Some were carrying possessions they found in the wreckage of their homes. Others were searching through piles of rubble that used to be their houses, trying to salvage what they could. Children were standing and watching, hoping their parents would find something.”
Sanderson and his team reached their first customers, who lived on the edge of the storm’s path. “Their home had suffered major damage, and they were really happy to see friendly faces,” he said. His team continued on into the heart of the tornado’s destruction. “The main damage zone didn’t have cellular coverage, so we could not reach those customers by phone. We worked our way into what looked like a war zone. The team was not mentally prepared for what we experienced. It was unbelievable.”
In nearby Pittsburg, Kan. Vivint customer Jim Schneider escaped the wrath of the tornado, but experienced the benefits of the company’s free tornado alert service first hand. Schneider was taking a shower when he heard his Vivint alarm go off.
“I was puzzled because I hadn’t set the alarm so I ran to the panel in a bathrobe to see what was up,” he said.
Schneider’s Vivint Go! Control panel was alerting him that a tornado warning had been issued for his area. At first he was confused, because the neighborhood tornado warning sirens were not sounding, which always happened when a warning had been issued. He quickly got dressed and went outside to look at the sky. At that moment, the neighborhood sirens went off.
“It must have been over five minutes from the time my Vivint system warned me of the tornado and when the neighborhood sirens finally went off,” he said. “That is precious time when you are trying to get your family to safety during a killer tornado.”
Schneider continued: “My Vivint system proved to me right then that there isn’t a more valuable thing to have in our home to protect my family.”
Vivint will continue to reach out to customers to help with their individual needs. They will also work side-by-side with customers and community members to begin clearing away the rubble left in the storm’s path.
Vivint Tornado Alert Service
Vivint recently launched the free tornado alert service for U.S. customers living in states most impacted by tornados, including: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
Over the next few weeks, Vivint will complete the process of automatically downloading the alerts to customers who have the company’s Go! Control panel. Once the application is downloaded, customers will start receiving the free tornado alerts. In addition, all new Vivint customers in the above mentioned states will receive the alerts as part of their service.
How the Service Works: Once a tornado alert has been issued by the National Weather Service, the information is relayed to Vivint customers via the Go! Control panel. A series of three loud beeps sound inside the home, and a detailed warning message appears on the wall-mounted control panel. The alert will continue every minute until the homeowner deactivates the warning, or until the alert is discontinued by the weather service.