Allow Your Monitoring Center to Be a Great Asset

With minimal effort, a dealer can adopt some basic central station tools to gain greater control while providing better customer service.

Allow Your Monitoring Center to Be a Great Asset

I was recently approached to assist a dealer on a project that was directly related to their relationship with their current provider of central station services. This particular dealer stated that they wanted me to help them negotiate with their monitoring center provider and get them to provide more services and support for their subscriber base for them.

This brought back memories of a large dealer who came to me years ago to hire me to build them a monitoring center to replace their existing third-party, wholesale monitoring center they utilized. Basically, I approached and responded to this recent request in the same manner with the same answer and plan I gave the large dealer years ago.

My answer to both of them also negated a paid consulting project for me as an industry consultant, but gave the best advice to these dealers for what was most prudent for their businesses and subscriber base.

I advised them to actually take on more of the work themselves and allow the monitoring center to do what they do best, which is monitoring and responding to alarms and events for the ultimate goal of providing the best customer service experience for their subscribers.

With minimal effort, a dealer can adopt some basic central station tools to gain greater control while providing better customer service. By utilizing automation and central station tools that most monitoring centers offer, this will allow a dealer to be recognized by their clients as an attentive, more professional security provider.

How to Rise Above Competitors

Most wholesale central stations offer a variety of automated services and tools for their dealers and end users to manage and audit their accounts. These include web access to add or change data, telephony access for account testing, plus automated reporting and communications of these reports and/or events.

With the useful addition of notebook computers, tablets and smartphones as the platform for remote communications, there are no excuses to keep any dealer of any size from expanding into these service offerings.

It is easiest to understand the value, and what I would consider the necessity, for utilizing these services to better support clients by getting back to the basics. Significantly, it is essential when a client calls their security company on the telephone that the person handling the call be empowered to immediately complete the client’s request without the need for a return call or even a transfer.

This includes data changes, communication of alarm history, testing, etc. While it may be easier for companies with full-time office staff to handle customer calls in such a manner, smaller shops that are willing to make the effort can provide the same simplified customer service.

Portability of communications, such as the smartphone and a variety of other mobile devices, has allowed for these enhanced services to be available to dealers of all sizes. Consider how much one can differentiate their company from the competition by providing immediate client satisfaction. No more, “We’ll call you back” or “Please hold on while I call the central station.”

The goal is to deliver immediate results by ensuring a quality customer experience. This will afford a deep and meaningful customer sentiment that will resonate that your company is a dedicated and full service, service provider.

Dealers worry so much about maintaining their autonomy, and yet many actions taken in front of their clients demonstrate and highlight their reliability on other outside third-party providers. Most dealers believe, or should believe, that no one will service their clients better than they do themselves.

Dealers are typically diligent in selecting the best outsource providers, just as they aim to provide superior personal service to their clients. With this in mind it is essential that all alarm dealers handle as many interactions, calls and requests as possible on their own.

In short, it should be every alarm dealer’s goal that their monitoring center simply responds to signals and the communication of these alarm events. Many may lament, and I’ve heard it first-hand, “Why should I take this on? I’m paying the central station; let them do it.” Or, similarly, “Why should I make the central station’s job easier?”

Well, this is really not the right attitude. It’s not about taking on new tasks and responsibilities. It’s about providing the best customer experience and building your brand and reputation as a world-class service provider.

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About the Author


Peter Giacalone is President of Giacalone Associates, an independent security consulting firm.

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