How to Regain Lost Time, Potential Profit by Analyzing Monitoring Center Processes
Rapid Response Vice President Morgan Hertel shares why it’s a necessity to measure, automate and maximize everything monitoring centers do.
The next five years in the rapidly changing monitoring business are going to be fascinating. As an industry, we are facing many significant challenges that must be overcome individually in order for companies to maintain competitive monitoring operations — this includes full-service, proprietary and wholesale centers.
We’re still seeing a trend in which traditional full-service companies that have their own monitoring center are acquiring retail operations.
In contrast, some full-service companies are now evaluating whether operating their own monitoring center still makes sense. Both types of companies have hurdles to overcome if they want to keep pace with major wholesale monitoring providers.
In some instances, this challenge is leading full-service companies to keep acquired accounts monitored by the wholesale monitoring center currently providing service.
This is done to not disrupt the customer base and also to “test the waters” of what the experience would be like to outsource their monitoring service entirely in the future.
Monitoring Centers Weighing Cost of Operation
Proprietary centers are tackling similar challenges, as the need for corporate profit margins and increased budget cuts are becoming more common. As a result, it is getting harder for many of these monitoring centers to justify the cost of owning and operating their own centers compared to the cost of outsourcing to a wholesale provider.
To remain relevant and maintain profit margins, some are focusing on reinventing themselves through addition of new services and functions.
Never before has the concept of “economies of scale” meant so much to our industry. The cost of labor continues to increase and the ability to hire employees at all levels has become even more difficult.
Couple that with the reality that because monitoring centers have not fundamentally increased rates in the past 20+ years, and in some cases have lowered rates, economies of scale are critical for the survival of all monitoring centers.
It has become an absolute necessity to measure and then automate and maximize everything they do. They are looking closely at each service and monitored account to see if the business model works, and if they are making some margin.
Time has become a precious commodity. Measurements are being done in milliseconds. The good news is that this is also generating a completely new set of features and methods to keep stakeholders informed.
Let’s consider, for example, the simple function of calling to notify someone that an event has occurred. First, you have to measure all of the variables in a phone call; such things as the length of time to dial, how long until it rings, the number of rings, the percentage that a call is answered and when it is not answered how long leaving a message takes.
If you can shorten the call process by even five seconds it means that the third person on a call list is notified 15 seconds faster than before. If 10,000 calls are made in a given day, the center can “get back” approximately 14 hours of labor, which can be used to respond to alarms and signals faster. In a business where seconds count, this time savings is meaningful.
The goal is to make sure the account’s contacts are notified as quickly as possible and that they understand the notification. We’ve found that 73% of all calls go to voicemail. This is huge number. If you had a salesperson with a closing rate of 27% you would fire them.
Electronic notifications like SMS (text messages), which can be read on a phone and be delivered in sub-second times, push notifications to phone apps, emails and other specialized methods can be used to achieve the goal, save time and increase customer satisfaction.
Plenty More Processes to Be Analyzed
If we dig deeper, we can find even greater efficiencies. Did you know that when making a call using SIP versus TDM that the call is ringing two seconds faster than it was before?
How about if the specialist gets to a voicemail and has the ability to transfer the call to an IVR to leave the message? This means that the specialist can call the next person on the list almost 30 seconds faster.
Not only is the next person on the list called faster than ever before, a third person on the contact list can be called before an IVR finishes leaving a voicemail to the first contact.
The side benefit is the IVR message is clear, concise and works perfectly with visual voicemail and other voice to text services on emails and cellphones. Analyses like this one take time, technology and investment and must be done on every process in the business.
This example looks at just one small part of a monitoring center’s operations. The same method and processes have to be done for all security companies not just those that operate a monitoring center.
Remember the saying: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”All security companies are going to have examine what they do, how they do it, and whether they can make margin on it to stay healthy.
If companies really look hard at themselves, they’ll be successful in any security sector. There are more greenfield opportunities than ever before, it’s just a matter of focus and execution.
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