Why Vector Security Is the 2016 SSI Installer of the Year (Large Company)
Vector Security’s body of work speaks for itself. It’s commitment to employees and customer service have set it apart from the competition.
Executing Its Plan
While Vector Security’s founding is shown as 1982, the business has roots dating back much further. In the 1970s, Westinghouse Security Division sold to Westec to become a franchised network of security dealers. Eventually, Vector Security was formed through the acquisition of Kilbourne Security, a Philadelphia- and Pittsburgh-based Westec dealer. Initially known as PC Security and serving customers within its state and parts of Ohio and West Virginia, the business soon changed its moniker to Vector Security.
In the early 1980s, Vector Security was purchased as an investment vehicle by The Philadelphia Contributionship, a mutual insurance company founded in 1752 by Benjamin Franklin. Significant growth resulted in Vector Security surpassing The Contributionship in revenue and earnings, and so policyholders made a strategic decision to split the two entities into sister companies, both wholly owned by TPC Holdings Inc.
Today, Vector Security provides intelligent security and home automation solutions to more than 300,000 residential, commercial and national account customers supported by some 1,300 employees in its numerous branches throughout North America. The firm’s more than $256 million in 2015 revenues includes in excess of $15 million in recurring monthly revenues (RMR), much of it monitored by its two CSAA Five Diamond central stations.
Vector Security’s current size and complexity necessitates management render carefully orchestrated, fully vetted, periodically adjusted business plans. According to Petrow, those plans are developed by each business unit, and then approved by senior management and the board of directors. She and her executive team then meet with managers of each business unit to evaluate the financial success of those plans monthly. Performance is reviewed quarterly with the board, and the overall strategic plan is updated each year.
“Performance against plan is measured and we make decisions on what isn’t working and the corrective actions needed, or celebrate the success of plans that are at or above plan,” she says. “The growth expectation is that each business unit will not just replace attrition, but have a growth factor that depending on the business unit is either high single digit or double digits.”
Pleasure to Do Business
In addition to those tactics mentioned at the outset, Vector Security deploys a multitude of other strategies to serve, delight and retain customers. Those efforts include the following:
- Improved customer portals: Bill payment and presentment portals have been improved, adding functionality with alarm history, updating emergency contact information and custom reports to better inform the customer and provide additional self-serve capabilities that customers have been requesting.
- Home automation app: Launch
ed its own branded version of the popular Alarm.com app to customers.
- Home security & automation online store: Launched its e-commerce store in late 2014 where consumers can select a security package, add devices and have the system professionally installed.
- Packaged residential offers online: Helps provide consistent product and pricing across the company so the customer experience is the same no matter location.
- Online customer knowledge center: In development to field frequently asked questions (FAQs) and common concerns, and also offer how-to videos for using control panels, mobile solutions, etc., troubleshooting alarms and managing accounts.”We regularly survey customers through our call center, central stations, consumer review sites, etc., to improve our service,” says Miller. “We also conduct surveys after every service call. All new customers are contacted within the first month to ensure satisfaction and system performance. Additionally, we conduct 30-day tests on security systems; this is unique in the industry as most companies don’t want the increased traffic.”
No Stone Unturned
Vector Security’s other key business and sales & marketing practices, and success strategies include:
- Lead generation: Targeted direct mail and online campaigns help generate new opportunities.
- Customer and consumer education: Home security (vectorsecurity.com/blog) and business security (vectorsecurity.com/ bizblog) blogs provide industry insights, trends and topics.
- Social media: Active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Web: Support online lead generation through SEO, pay-per-click ads and other tactics that resulted in 32% year-over-year growth in online traffic.
- Research and competitive analysis: Provide competitive insights, targeted lists and other materials.
- Reputation management: Manage reviews through Trustpilot Consumer Affairs.
- New product launches: Packaging, trademarks and promotion of new offerings.
- Tradeshows: Participation includes the National Retail Federation’s PROTECT and Big Show events, Retail Industry Leaders Association and Retail Council of Canada events, as well as other smaller industry and vertical-specific shows to build awareness.
- Customer listening sessions: Meet with C-suite and other groups to better understand their needs.
- Targeted campaigns: Based on geography, demographic and opportunity, these campaigns are typically integrated with a mix of media including direct marketing, advertising and other tactics.
“Once we determine the products and services we will offer, marketing builds the plan to support the internal sales effort as well as external, customer-facing material,” says Petrow. “Marketing is also engaged to participate in all product/service launches. Sales participates from the initial product review, but is also called upon to assess market opportunity, competitive offerings, pricing and existing customer impact. Sales then is responsible for determining compensation for the sales reps as well as quotas for performance.”
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