Monitronics Masters Alarm Management

An alarm dispatch rate of .184 helped Monitronics earn the ninth annual Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award. Learn more of the firm’s best practices.

What are some of Monitronics’ overall keys to its business success?

PDQ Best Practices

  1. Advertising, sales literature provide realistic expectation of alarm response
  2. Salespeople explain permitting requirements, fees and fines
  3. Use of SIA CP-01 control panels
  4. Use of Enhanced Call Verification (ECV)
  5. Contact customers after every false alarm
  6. Track worst false alarm offenders and take action if needed
  7. Instruct customer on verification process and keep call lists updated
  8. Ongoing communications with customers
  9. Installers have minimum NTS Level I or II training
  10. Customers thoroughly instructed on all system operations
  11. Checklists used for installers and customers
  12. Unique or additional initiatives (e.g. video verification)
  13. Development of strong working relationship with local law enforcement
  14. False dispatch rate provided, along with letter from associated agency

Darin Anderson: Monitronics prides itself on the consistent level of service we offer customers. While security is our No. 1 priority, a customer’s experience and satisfaction with us are just as important. We’ve won numerous awards and accolades over the years, have become IQ Certified and maintained our UL listing, but that’s not the whole picture.

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We strive to be a valuable partner of security to both our dealers and customers. We not only actively train and support dealers as well as customer care representatives so they can provide optimal service to our customers, but also provide ongoing support to our customers as a way to improve their overall customer experience with us. While we develop our dealer networks and provide the support they need, we also work with local agencies to support the efforts of law enforcement and emergency personnel to make assisting our customers easier.

Security truly is our priority. We operate to not only monitor our customers’ security, treating every alarm as if it is a real event, but actively work to preserve our customers’ peace of mind.

What were the drivers in Monitronics deciding to mount such a comprehensive false alarm reduction program?

Anderson: The safety of our customers remains a top priority, and we recognize that unnecessary alarm dispatches create an increased burden on law enforcement, limiting their ability to assist those truly in need. We work diligently to assist customers in the event of an actual alarm event, but also continuously provide proper alarm system operation instructions, false alarm reduction tips and direct outreach efforts to help reduce future false alarm events. Our efforts resulted in the reduction of false dispatches and achieving an impressive dispatch rate of .184, specifically with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. It’s inspiring because no one section of our company could influence that rate on its own. It was a combination of both our dealers and Monitronics employees having a common goal of reducing false alarms.

Who are the people responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the program? How was the mission handled organizationally?

Anderson: Our approach to false alarm reduction is company-wide. Efforts for achieving this range from how well we educate both customers and employees all the way to the accuracy of customer data that we maintain and later provide to the authorities. The program really starts on day one, where we depend on our dealers and installing technicians to lay the groundwork for success with reducing false alarms. Because they are the first contact made with the customer, this is our first opportunity to help customers better understand how to use their system. We also use it as a time to express the importance of properly managing their information for emergency dispatch operators to use in the event of an alarm.

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Once an alarm is installed and customers are trained on its use, the focus is geared more toward keeping customers informed and taking the appropriate steps to preventing false dispatches whenever possible. This includes everything from ARC [Alarm Response Center] enforcing Enhanced Call Verification [ECV] protocols to Data Integrity validating customer and agency information for emergency dispatch operators to use during emergency situations.

We consider the level of education that we provide our employees a critical part of the picture. Our internal training department is dedicated to the frontline agents who actually interact with customers, as well as a department specialized in dealer education and support. Focusing on all parties involved has truly allowed this program to thrive.

About the Author

Contact:

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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