HST President Stuart Forchheimer (center in gray jacket) has placed a premium on customer care and new technology since launching the company in 1993.
Too many installing security companies and monitoring providers resign themselves to merely accepting as fact that false alarms are a necessary evil that come with the territory. Even providers that are more conscientious commonly make the mistake of addressing false alarms as isolated incidents or as a problem separate and apart from other aspects of the business. A shining exception to such pitfalls is HS Technology Group, whose comprehensive alarm management practices and procedures have been validated with the 7th annual Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award.
“HS Technology Group has taken on the false dispatch issue as a company-wide effort. From sales and administration to the technical side of the company, they have confronted the issues with a ‘we can fix it’ approach,” says Ron Walters, director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). “It is obvious by HS Technology’s realistic advertising literature, fully trained sales personnel, installation standards and monitoring company requirements that everything is geared toward proactive false alarm reduction through working closely with customers and law enforcement,” adds Gerry Miller, a past president of the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA).
Launched in 2005 by SIAC, FARA and SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION, and now also officially endorsed by the Installation Quality (IQ) program, the PDQ program raises industry-wide awareness, motivates alarm companies to be proactive and provides workable models. The PDQ Award annually recognizes the security company that best demonstrates an enthusiastic, cooperative and successful effort in false alarm reduction strategies. Four judges grade applications that address 14 categories.
This year, HS Technology nudged out finalists Monitronics and Vector Security for the trophy, which was presented at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX) in Nashville, Tenn. In its winning 78-page submission, HS Technology listed a 2011 police dispatch rate of .18 within the Baltimore County area where it is based. That rate was verified in a letter of support from the manager of the false alarm reduction unit. The achievement was accomplished in collaboration with HS Technology’s third-party wholesale monitoring provider, Lydia Security Monitoring (d.b.a. COPS Monitoring) of Williamstown, N.J.
“There were two main reasons for initiating our false alarm reduction campaign,” says HS Technology President Stuart Forchheimer. “The first was our ongoing commitment to our customers. We’re continually introducing new programs that add value to our services and contribute to the safety of the families we protect. The second reason was as treasurer for the Maryland Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and involvement with FARA’s ‘train the trainer’ program, I felt a sense of responsibility and wanted to motivate other members to get involved. Minimizing false alarms is proven in helping law enforcement better address actual threats.”
A journey inside HS Technology reveals how effectively managing alarms, minimizing false dispatches and partnering with law enforcement have become operational pillars at the core of the company’s daily business activities. Plus, Monitronics’ and Vector’s programs are spotlighted. Together these methodologies offer other providers inspiration to produce similar results and successful tactics to emulate.
Homegrown Firm Hits Home Run
Having worked on and off for his father’s general contracting company for more than 15 years, in 1993 Forchheimer leveraged his computer/IT experience and fascination for technology to form Homesafe Security Technology (HST). Since then, the firm has continuously reinvented itself from being one of the nation’s leading authorized ADT dealers to its present status as an independent, diversified technology solutions provider with commercial, residential, new construction, electrical and design divisions.
“HST will be celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2013,” notes Forchheimer. “From the beginning we have grown from a modest alarm company to one of the region’s most respected and awarded full service technology integrators. Simply put, what truly makes us different is our people and how we go about assisting our clients day to day.”
In addition to capturing the PDQ accolade, those facets of HST’s business collectively garnered it finalist recognition for SSI’s 2012 Installer of the Year in the small to midsize company category (fewer than 150 employees). Some of the virtues that make HS Technology unique include:
- Investing in efficiency technologies, making for a pleasant working environment and happier customers (e.g. Sagequest integration with Sedona Office to dispatch closest field tech and provide customer’s history)
- Phones answered by live operator with minimal transfers
- Ongoing training for techs and other staff
- Flexibility to customize and integrate technologies quickly as they change
- Interactive showroom featuring products and services
- Product/services tested internally before deployment to ensure ease of use and identify potential future service calls
- Provide manufacturers product feedback to act as partner in development process
- Installers passionate about helping others, with minimum 10 years’ industry experience
- Focus on solutions and thinking “outside the box” rather than selling a product
- Customers for Life preferred service loyalty plan
- In-house master electrician to handle electrical and generator division
- Associates motivated with internal events, as well as charitable initiatives
- Active with many industry groups