EMC Security’s Recipe for Success: No Contracts, DIY, PERS & More

Since 1998, Georgia’s EMC Security has flown high by delivering sterling customer service without the safety net of long-term contracts. Leadership discusses the firm’s unique model, success formula and expansive portfolio.

EMC Security’s Recipe for Success: No Contracts, DIY, PERS & More

(All photos by 72 South Productions)

How are those techs and other personnel being equipped to work smarter and more efficiently?

Davis: We operate paperless systems. All sales, installation and service staff are provided with wireless connected company tablets. We have built custom-designed sales presentations. We use Microkey for scheduling, work order and billing systems. Technicians no longer have to carry physical work orders. They can access customer information, work orders, see customer work history and update and close work orders onsite.

Customer documents are safely and conveniently stored and accessed online. With technician schedules that may change many times during the day, having these systems in place gives us the ability to send documents and change schedules quickly and efficiently. With work from home technology honed during COVID, we have built excellent remote systems for greater flexibility in communications, customer information and document processing.

EMC Security offers such a wide range of services and products, why did you add DIY and how is that part of the business doing?

Morton: We love the DIY business. Vince forced us into it years ago when he saw something the rest of us didn’t. SimpliSafe had entered the space and Vince said, “We need to do this.” It wasn’t until we had an operational staff shortage where we couldn’t get to customers as quickly as we wanted to, and it was affecting our reputation. They wanted us sooner than we could get there. We introduced the DIY offering and saw that it didn’t cannibalize our traditional installation to any great degree.

We were able to save our customers some money, those that were price conscious, and we were able to deliver a new monitored account with almost immediate speed. You could order it today and it could be at your home in less than 48 hours. Our ability to add customers quickly wasn’t so tied to the operational headcount we had. We like that business. It’s done extremely well. We’ve been in the DIY business for five or six years.

Our diverse offering can be a bit of a challenge for Jennifer as she builds a message or a brand. Whether you’re a DIY customer, professional installation customer, a medical alert customer or the environmental health and safety manager for a major food plant, we have to be able to talk to all those customers through our marketing message, but she navigates that pretty well. Our market has learned we are the low-voltage company that covers all those needs, and we have segmented groups within our organization.

Musco: This is the most unique company I have worked at or even know. I literally call it, two doors and a window to enterprise. That’s unseen in the industry to do well. It’s impressive.

Another offering that jumps out is PERS, which is a different animal from most services. How did you get into that and how’s it doing?

Raia: Because we’re owned by utility companies that partner with other EMCs, they have a lot of members that wanted that kind of service for their loved ones. They trusted us to do that. It was almost by default, they said, “Hey, can you help us with mom or dad, or help protect them in their home?” They’re not only concerned about security but also about falling down or their health and having somebody there if they need it.

So, we answered the call. It’s not an enormous part of our business, but it is an important part. It has a tremendous impact when we see that we dispatched four or five times during the week, or someone’s in real trouble, life safety events. I don’t know how big it could get. We’re not spending a ton of resources out there pushing it and growing it, but we know to our customers it’s a valuable piece, and peace of mind, that they want.

Morton: Several years ago, we had the PERS business set up as its own division. We realized that was probably not the best idea because some of the best opportunities to sell PERS come from interactions with our residential customers. We’ll go out and sell a security system or talk about security and protection. If we had that representative that’s not part of the PERS business leave the home without talking about it, we’re missing opportunities.

So, we rolled that under our residential umbrella a couple of years ago where now our guys will wear a medical alert when they meet with a security prospect and talk about the PERS line. It’s amazing how many security customers have an aunt or uncle or parent who’s aging in place that needs that product.

emc security

In 2018, EMC Security decided to expand and fund the commercial integrated services portion of the company. Pictured is Drew Moore, commercial project manager.

Could you explain the marketing mix EMC Security favors and what’s working best?

Kimble: One thing consistent throughout is the no contract. Everything we do, everything we put out there to the public speaks to that no contract. We want the customer to every day decide they’re going to continue to do business with us. From the receptionist’s office to the management team to every technician and contractor, we know we have to earn their business every day. We really walk that walk. We have a lot of success with our EMC marketing partnerships.

They let us advertise to their membership base, but also when a member is setting up their power, go ask them, “Hey, are you interested in security?” If they are, they will transfer them over to us or they can fill out a form and send it to us, and our sales reps will follow up. We can also sell that service over the phone.

If it’s a simple takeover, if they already have a system in the house, or we can send a rep out to the house. They have a couple of different ways that they can purchase the service as well. About 40% of our leads come from the EMCs, which helps keep our cost per lead down. It just depends, as a lot of them aren’t super interested because they’re setting up their power and are not looking for security.

Second to that would be radio, very traditional. Just like a lot of other local home service companies, we do a lot of talk radio. We’ve been doing a well-known talk radio channel here in Atlanta since before I came onboard. We’ve recently added some music stations and are diversifying who we’re advertising to on the radio. Another big area is digital marketing. Being there online, when the customer is typing into Google, “Home security, home alarm system,” or our competitor’s name. We will pop up. We spent a good bit of money online trying to get those inbound leads where the customers are interested.

We are one of the only companies in Atlanta that takes over and services existing systems. Many other companies make you buy a whole new system whereas we will try to use the existing equipment in the home as much as possible to save the customer money. It all goes back to giving that A++ level of service. That includes not charging an arm and a leg for unnecessary equipment in a customer’s home.

Delivering that A++ service requires a strong company culture; how does that flow through EMC Security?

Lauren Dean: From the experience of many new recruits unfamiliar to the alarm industry it is discovered that the EMC team is extremely supportive and focused in accord on a common task, taking care of the customer. The work environment is inviting. There is a common understanding that as a team member you are here to do an important job and all hold that responsibility with the highest regard; however, the aura is lighthearted and one of family and togetherness.

The hunger for knowledge is fostered through training and mentorship from direct and accessible supervisors. There are no closed doors, there are no off limits. Opportunity is provided and progression is attainable. It is a rewarding challenge to grow and advance in the industry with EMC Security. Leadership with integrity is believed to be the driving force for success. You want to do well; you want to succeed and there is no question of how to do so.

About the Author

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Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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