Doyle Security Systems of Rochester, N.Y., began offering customers Honeywell's Total Connect solution, which enables control of intrusion and surveillance remotely via smartphone, in March. To date, Doyle Security has sold the service to about 60, primarily residential, accounts. The company's director of sales, Todd Julian, explains the offering's appeal and how it is providing a new means of recurring revenue.
What's the feedback from customers who have started using Total Connect?
Outstanding. They feel like they're engaged with their security system. For example, anytime somebody arms or disarms a system, they get a text message, and if they have the video feature, they get a 10-second video clip of what just happened at their house, vacation house, or it could be a number of things. They are confident that their child got home from school at the right time. It was their child that came into their house and there wasn't an army of other kids coming in with them. We've also gotten feedback, for example, 'Hey, I left my house yesterday, and I forgot to arm my system and I was already 20 minutes from my home, and I was able to utilize the Total Connect feature to arm the system.'
How are you marketing and selling these services to customers?
There are a couple of categories of customers. The first is new residential customers. On new sales calls, we use that as a way to differentiate ourselves when we're competing for new business in a residential market, so that's been very effective. We're not just the same solution, we've got a way to have an interactive system and really take advantage of the technology that a lot of people are looking for. So that's been our method on new business.
For our existing base, we've made it a prominent component of our Web site. I think it's the way that we're really trying to drive some traffic in there. We've branded this product. We call it Doyle Total Connect, so we've actually branded ourselves, which is another great thing about the product. We're able to drive the Doyle brand through the Total Connect product. We are potentially looking at some direct mail. We talk to customers about it when they are calling in and looking for any kind of addition on their home and they need some more devices, then we talk about Total Connect at that point in time.
Was there much of a learning curve in terms of training and education for your salespeople or your installers about how this product works and how to deploy it in the field?
These are pretty experienced security people, so it was easy for them to catch on. There's not much of the installation that's really tough, so I don't think that was much of a hurdle other than there are a few more things to program back at central station and we're kind of working through that stuff. But there really haven't been that many hurdles from a sales standpoint.
Our salespeople really understand the benefits that the product gives the customer, and they're able to articulate that very well and it gives them some sizzle. It gives them something to talk about that's different than the competition has, so they've really embraced the product.
Have there been any sort of complications or unexpected issues that have arisen in using the Total Connect?
Initially, when we were first getting our feet wet with the product, it had some limitations on the phones that it would work with. That was a little bit of an issue, but they have since expanded the phones that it will work with, and we as a sales force understand that better and we're able to assess that up front with the customer. But I'd say that's in the rearview mirror now. It's not a big factor.
So you gave that feedback back to Honeywell and they resolved it?
Yes. They keep a phone list now and they are constantly updating it. You can imagine with the pace that phones are coming out now it's quite a task for them.
How does your sales force contend with upselling the added RMR fees?
I would say it's a little bit of a hurdle upfront to convince the sales force that they could get that much money per month from a customer. It's quite an uplift in charge from just standard monitoring to Total Connect monitoring plus the Total Connect video feature, so that was kind of a hurdle. But, like anything else in sales, they find out if they ask for the order and the customer gets a little passionate about those features, it minimizes any kind of price objection and it turns out to be a good thing because we're different.