Whether it’s the primary provider’s own or that of a third party, the way in which the central monitoring center handles an incoming alarm signal is another paramount facet in averting false dispatches. As is the case with the installation/service piece of the puzzle, it is essential monitoring operators are well trained via course such as those offered by the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA).
An intrusion alarm monitoring practice that always made sense, but never more so than in the golden age of mobile communication devices, is enhanced call verification (ECV), or calling at least two phone numbers prior to dispatch. Broadview has offered this service since 1989, making it mandatory for commercial accounts in 1993 and residential in 2003. Increasingly, jurisdictions are legislating or strongly recommending ECV.
Another practice that is all too often neglected is contacting customers after each and every false alarm occurrence to review the event and determine the cause. This helps keep them as isolated incidents and prevents them from progressing into chronic problems. Addressing each false alarm on a case-by-case basis is also vital from a customer experience/perception point of view.
“We have seen great feedback from both customers and employees who engage with customers with elevated activity. While we are servicing the account, via customer care or through field operations, we take the time to answer any system-operation questions the customer has, and ensure that performance metrics and quality measurements include false alarm reduction aspects,” says Vanyo.
In particular, monitoring providers need to track the worst false alarm abusers each month and take the necessary corrective action, up to and including terminating the account. However, implementing a program as extensive as Broadview’s makes that scenario unlikely as customers and employees alike work in unison toward the best solutions.
“We have built the program into the fabric of the organization. From our ‘false alarm savvy’ online quiz to effortless contact updates, we constantly reach out to customers across all spectrums of activity,” says Vanyo. “We leverage customer profiles with low activity, while directly contacting those with elevated alarms. We have especially targeted the issues that naturally arise from multiple users.”
Partnering With Police
The final element in the alarm response chain is the one with the onus to arrive on the scene when an emergency or crime event occurs to ensure public safety - the police. These agencies also stand the most to lose if overburdened with false alarms, and their lack of response can devalue alarm systems themselves. Thus the importance for a strong relationship to exist among alarm companies and law enforcement cannot be overstated.
That’s why the support of a police department with a letter confirming the alarm rate and acceptability of the applicant is required to qualify for consideration in the PDQ program. Broadview understands and fully embraces the need to nurture this dynamic. In particular, Fort Worth’s ordinance requirement that all alarm systems be permitted in order to receive police response has resulted in a collaborative partnership where both parties benefit. Together, they help each other keep track to make sure alarm system owners’ permits remain current.
“Through the years, Broadview Security and the Fort Worth Alarm Unit have established a good working relationship,” says Kathleen Schraufnagel, Broadview industry and government relation liaison. “The success we have enjoyed in continued compliance with the ordinance as well as reductions in false alarms is directly related to the ongoing communication between both parties.”
Broadview went so far as to create a permit department within its corporate office to make sure there are no hitches for either responding agencies or customers.
“It really comes down to a willingness to listen to law enforcement concerns and truly communicate with them on solutions and ideas,” says Vanyo. “Ultimately, we are all concerned about the citizen/customer as well as the realities of managing alarms.”
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