The October issue of SSI features a guide to selecting a third-party central monitoring station in which nine providers are spotlighted. I conducted extensive interviews with executives from all of them, most of which could not be shoehorned into the print publication. In this exclusive bonus blog, Mace Central Station President John McCann discusses helping system integrators cultivate RMR, launching new technology and the power of branding.
Please summarize how you train your company’s staff to deliver the latest technology as well as customer care. Has this process become more or less difficult? What do you look for in recruiting personnel?
John McCann: We have a sophisticated training program that begins with the 40-hour SIA Monitoring Operator Training classroom program from the Central Station University and augmented with CSAA Five Diamond online training. The operators then spend another week or two in the classroom learning our systems and getting introduced to some of the technologies monitored here at the station. They then move to the floor for side-by-side training with mentors and designated senior operators, slowly moving from observation to actual monitoring under direct supervision, and finally released to their own permanent shift. Overall each student’s time is tailored to their learning abilities but on the average it takes six to eight weeks to progress to solo monitoring. We have different levels of operators based on their skillsets. The more complex technology like video and audio monitoring take different training levels and skillsets so as an operator moves up the scale they get more and more responsibilities on different technologies. Fortunately, we have a full-time training department, and they are always training operators and supervisors with updated technologies and complex subscriber sets.
There has been a push by systems integrators to get more into monitored services; have you seen a rise in providers that are new to monitored contracting? How do you get them up to speed?
McCann: We work with them to develop certain RMR programs within their existing business structure. We also teach them how to build RMR into their sales and marketing programs by expanding to adjacent market segments in their communities. We have also developed programs specifically for integrators to add an RMR factor to their existing sales. The essential key is to show them where RMR dollars are with their current product lines and services. There are value-added services in integrated systems that are both proactive and reactive to existing conditions and occurrences, in addition to maintenance and annual checks.
How does your company decide whether it is time to “go all in” with a new technology area or not? How do you determine business and pricing models?
McCann: We feel the pulse of the industry and try to make decisions based on what we hear from our dealers. With the marketplace being so consumer-driven dealers are receiving requests more frequently from subscribers and potential subscribers. If a dealer tells us he is losing business because he is not able to offer a particular service or offering, we take a second look and see what it would take to implement a service here at the station. Many of the demands are just enhancements of services that we already offer and we just adjust or create a feature set to accommodate it.
What are your top three go-to reasons why a security dealer/integrator should do business with your company as opposed to a competing central station?
McCann: We are Mace Central Station and Mace dealers have access to the full portfolio of Mace products and services across the board, giving them the ability of offer subscribers 360 degrees of protection. They can provide Mace Personal Defense products such as pepper spray, along with Mace-branded security product cameras and DVRs and have professional alarm systems installed by qualified Mace professional dealers monitored at a UL ETL Listed Five Diamond central station. We offer professional services, including a Web portal and smartphone apps, to allow over 400 dealers to manage their own business with full control and access to their subscriber database information and history. Our professional staff offers years of experience and customer service excellence to our dealers and their subscribers. Mace Central Station is a progressive station offering cutting-edge technologies and dealer support serving over 75,000 subscribers.