On the Move - Rob Phillips

On the Move

Mobile apps for the dealer and the customer

On the MoveThe story of British 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio offers an entirely new spin on the word, “security.”

Barely old enough to take a driving test in the United Kingdom, D’Aloisio is financially secure for life after selling his iPhone application, “Summly,” which gives readers shortened summaries of online content. He sold the app to Yahoo in March for $30 million. That’s quite a few pounds.

“The Justin Bieber of iPhone app development”— as Gawker.com labels him—D’Aloisio’s astounding teenage entrepreneurship reflects the world’s app revolution. According to a study by Flurry, American consumers spend 80 percent of their daily smartphone time using apps over mobile Web (on average, 2 hours 7 minutes vs. 31 minutes).

Apps are more prevalent than ever. The best ones are clean, fast and easily navigable for all ages, not just the world’s youngest millionaires.

In the security industry, companies can pitch and suggest various apps to customers to keep their homes safer and greener. Others can be used by dealers themselves for better business. Here are a few examples.

For the Dealer: eContract

Brian Fabiano, chief operating officer at Rhode Island- based Alliance, says his company was spending more than $4,000 per week in shipping charges sending paper contracts to multiple locations. That money is now saved through the use of eContract, Monitronics International’s Web-based app for iPad or Android tablets that enables sales reps to complete an electronic version of each contract in the customer’s home.

Designed to eliminate the hard-copy paperwork traditionally filled out for a new customer contract, eContract is now widely available for dealers after its successful pilot phase. eContract walks a salesperson through the required steps to fill out all paperwork. Once the customer has confirmed the information and acknowledged an understanding of it, the salesperson simply hits submit. A PDF copy is sent instantly to the company and the customer.

Dealers can use an electronic contract app to promote a “go green” initiative throughout their company, while simultaneously reallocating their shipping funds. A lot of iPads can be bought for $4,000 a month.

Curtis Kindred, owner and president of Texasbased American Defense Systems, immediately noticed savings in time and money with eContract.

“It’s been working great,” Kindred said. “Our sales reps find it a lot easier. They don’t have to carry around as much paper. We don’t lose as many contracts, and it helps us save money on not having to purchase as many contracts.

“We have some remote markets, so it helps out quite a bit with getting contracts back faster, getting funding back faster, not having to spend as much on FedEx charges getting contracts back and forth. It looks a lot more professional.

“(The customers) like it. Who really keeps papers anymore? If they get a phone contract or something, it’s usually in e-mail now. From a consumer standpoint, it’s much easier to find paperwork and things within an e-mail rather than have to go file it, organize it and then go dig for it whenever it’s time to change it or go through it.”

Payment Processors

Reps also can integrate electronic credit-card processing apps, such as Square and PayPal Here as a logical partner for electronic contracts.

This technology features a card-swiping device that plugs into the smartphone and syncs with the app for immediate transactions. Processing fees are included.

MobileTech

Alarm.com’s updated mobile Website for installing dealers now includes a native mobile app for iPhone and Android.

MobileTech gives dealers immediate online access to system information and troubleshooting support. It is designed to save time and reduce the need for call support, creating a more efficient process for the technician and the customer. MobileTech’s second phase—released in March 2013—offers support for emPower and video.

LOCATE

The purpose of LOCATE is all in its name. Door knockers can pound the pavement with a purpose.

Just as technology is smartening up security systems with interactive and automated capabilities, Monitronics’ exclusive app tells dealers plenty about prospective customers before meeting them. Now available for free download in the App Store, it helps sales reps efficiently target the most eligible prospects.

Web and iOS versions of LOCATE sync together so managers can assign geographical areas to agents with a simple click-and-drag motion. Agents on the road pull up the homeowner information for their assigned area, address potential customers by name with instant rapport, track their progress and record results of each potential customer interaction—all using an iPhone or iPad.

Information recorded and saved by a salesperson can be accessed by their manager and corporate office to track progress and record for historical use. The software’s digital tracker lets a sales team make notes on each home and share information instantly with the entire organization. Follow-up appointments can also be scheduled and synched on their calendar.

“LOCATE has gained positive feedback from select Monitronics dealers during its pilot phase,” said Bruce Mungiguerra, vice president of operations at Monitronics. “As home automation and interactive services make home security easier for our customers, we’re excited about the online convenience and efficiency LOCATE provides our dealers as they go to market.”

For the Customer: Interactive Services

When balancing family and a hectic work/travel schedule, many customers can easily forget about setting and maintaining their alarm system. They should know that home security is now advanced enough to feature remote management from their smartphone.

This app-based offer is a winwin for dealers. It’s a major upsell opportunity, particularly if HD video cameras and image sensors are added to the customer’s security package. Plus, any type of interactivity— from remote simple arm/ disarm to complete home automation of lights, locks and windows— keeps a customer more “sticky” with their system use. It reinforces their daily need for home security.

Crime Awareness

A helpful suggestion from dealer to customer is the importance of crime education in their neighborhood. Apps such as Crimemapping provide geographical crime data, including crime type and history in a given area.

This article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of Security Today.

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