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, Monitronics Int’l Vice President of Operations Bruce Mungiguerra discusses false alarm prevention, RMR opportunities and why dealers should do business with his company.
Please summarize your false alarm/dispatch practices and describe the ongoing challenges and successes.
Bruce Mungiguerra: False alarm and dispatch reduction is a challenge to any monitoring center and Monitronics’ approach is multifaceted, reaching across all segments of a customer’s lifecycle. Struggles to reduce false alarms often center on customer education and their familiarity with the product. Providing customer training collateral and continuously informing customers about the limitations of motion detectors, perimeter devices and location of life-safety devices in their home helps lead to lower dispatch rates. It’s also important that customers remember a code word or PIN while the alarm is sounding, which ties back to an ongoing customer education. Accurate contact information is also pivotal to preventing false dispatches. If the customer’s emergency contact list is up-to-date, we are better positioned to make a right-party contact the first time to determine if emergency responders are actually needed. Because false dispatch prevention requires accurate contact phone numbers, reminding the customer to review and update their information is difficult anytime a customer experiences a phone number or contact change. Therefore, we send periodic reminders to have customers both confirm and/or update their contact numbers.
We also require customers to maintain at least two unique phone numbers to call on all new account activations. We also install SIA and/or CP-01 approved control panels, develop several customer training collateral pieces and target high-activity customers for direct outbound intervention. High-activity customers are constantly reviewed and contacted as needed to troubleshoot a problem device and/or educate the customer on system operation. More often than not, while we are discussing the false alarms, additional account attributes are updated, such as contact lists, entry/exit delays, etc., to help prevent future alarms and dispatch requests. Having reliable equipment installed prevents false device trips as well. We actively validate responding agencies assigned to a customer’s account to ensure, if an alarm happens, we contact the correct agency the first time. By having the correct agency on the account, we’re able to proactively inform the customer of alarm system permit/registration requirements to reduce false alarm fines and maintain exceptional responding agency relationships.Preventing false alarms can be difficult, but taking this multifaceted approach allows us to reduce excessive dispatches and maintain happy customers.
In what specific ways do you help contracted security dealers increase their recurring monthly revenue?
Mungiguerra: Each dealer’s account manager provides expert portfolio management, identifying key metrics that can help increase profitability. Monitronics’ national sales trainer makes site visits to assist dealers in recruiting and hiring a sales team as well as door-to-door sales training tips. Monitronics’ ProShop is the exclusive online store for dealer marketing materials. Dealers can quickly and inexpensively develop and create marketing pieces. They also have access to comprehensive marketing research that makes precise recommendations for each dealer based on their structure and their needs.
Describe your company’s approach to newer technologies/service offerings such as PERS, video monitoring, GPS, energy management, managed access control, etc.
Mungiguerra: Monitronics was the first in the industry to offer eContract as a benefit to our dealers, and we continue to seek their feedback as we evaluate and develop new program advancements that will help their efficiency. We have partnered with key industry vendors Alarm.com and Honeywell/Alarmnet offering advanced home management services and extending special pricing to our dealers. And medical alert systems are available to customers.
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?
Mungiguerra: First, they won’t have to compete with a corporate office for accounts. They’ll receive exceptional ongoing support, including one-on-one portfolio management, ProShop/marketing materials, and door-to-door sales training tips. And they’ll enjoy tremendous stability as part of the largest dealer network in the nation. Dealers receive consistent and stable funding; they also benefit from a dealer program that’s at the forefront of industry technology. Monitronics was among the first to utilize two-way voice alarm monitoring and continues to participate in innovative programs such as ASAP and eContract.