Alarm - Monitoring from the end user perspective

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Monitoring from the end user perspective

We all look at monitoring from a different perspective. The consultant looks at it from a cost benefit analysis standpoint to represent the client’s best interest. Usually the consultant’s client is the end user that will have the most interaction with the monitoring service. The integrator looks at monitoring from a recurring revenue standpoint and in some cases the generator of service calls.

Let’s look at monitoring from the end user perspective. I find that the end user perspective is usually that first and last thing on integrators’ minds when signing them up for monitoring contracts. The end user is first on the integrator’s mind when getting a one-year or more service agreement signed that also includes the monitoring piece from a central station service provider.

However, the end user is last on the mind when thinking about the fact that from the signing of the contract forward most of the interaction with the central station is from the end user. If a false alarm is generated, the end user and the central station speak. If a real alarm is generated, the central station and the end user speak. If there is a change to the call list or telephone numbers or anything else regarding contact information, the end user and the central station speak. In fact, it is a forgotten topic in most integrators that during the recurring revenue period after installation the real relationship is between the end user and the central station.

I was a service manager for a large integrator back in my integrator days, and I was the solution to a lot of upset clients after they had a problem. The people that they trusted so much, the central station operators, now could not help them because they had a door replaced and didn’t realize they needed to move the door contact and magnet over to the new door.

Simple problem: if they were speaking to the integrator it would be easily solved with a quick service call. In fact, since the monitoring service, central station, answered the phone as our company name the end user had no idea that they were a thirdparty center and had no ability to assist with our service call. Arguments ensue and the end user gets angry and fires the integrator not ever knowing that the next integrator uses the same central station third-party service, so really nothing changed but the integrator.

End users build a trust and respect element based on interactions with the person on the other end of the phone during a false alarm, a real alarm, or a change in information. This trust gets built typically with the central station operators and as an integrator that uses third party central station services your main concern will be to not lose a seat at the table with that end user.

As an integrator a good way to “keep a seat at the end user’s table” is to provide life cycle management services that provide periodic contact with the end user. Good types of contacts would be to send customer satisfaction surveys, send system health monitoring reports, provide a cost free service call to check the battery or other elements prior to warranty expiration or service agreement period ending. These little contacts that are non-abrasive and customer service oriented end up providing the optimal customer service without being that person they end up regretting the calls from.

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Charlie Howell is an independent security consultant in Northern California.

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