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, Rapid Response Monitoring Vice President of Operations Morgan Hertel discusses the importance of IT support, the economics of third-party monitoring and Rapid Response’s core strengths.
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?
Morgan Hertel: Rapid Response requires a minimum two-year college degree or two years of military service and conducts full pre-employment screening and background checks. Our intensive six-week SIA-Certified training program is the most stringent in the industry. Many of the trainers have four-year college degrees in education and we also have an in house Spanish language instructor. Some of the bigger challenges are on the technology front, with control equipment and transmission methods constantly changing we find ourselves not only helping dealers on the day-to-day questions but helping with almost as many IT-related issues from dealers on both the sales side and also on the installation side.
Why is a security dealer better off contracting with a third-party monitoring provider than bringing monitoring in-house?
Hertel: There are really several reasons. The first is easy, at smaller scales, financially it doesn’t make sense. A wholesale center can monitor accounts at a fraction of what a dealer can do it for themselves, and in most cases do a better job. Secondly, many larger dealers became that size because they are good on the sales side, they are a sales machine and that’s where their core competency is. Running a 24-hour central station operation is a whole different animal that requires very specialized competencies and in the end, most dealers realize that a good central station partner can consistently do a better job than they can themselves. Lastly, this is all about technology. Staying competitive and innovative in the monitoring business requires continuous investment and a lot of work. Having good scale allows the cost of technology to be spread out over a larger base.
What are some of the value-adds you offer security dealers that do business with your company?
Hertel: Rapid Response is known for its technology and its people, we are 100% committed to having the best of both. This allows our dealers to have the best of the best supporting their company and their customers at all times.
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?
Hertel: Somewhat, most integrators start slowly and it takes time to get them ramped up. Getting them up to speed is really not that hard. Most good integration companies have very smart people who understand networking and IP communications so you don’t have to contend with that end of the support structure. We don’t find it any harder to bring an integrator out of the ground then a brand new installer that just started his own business.
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?
Hertel: First, our commitment to excellent service provided by the best people in the business. Second, our dedication to maintain our status as a technology leader, and to continuously put that technology to work for our dealers and their customers. Third, our ability to scale to meet any dealers service needs.