Say Goodbye to POTS Lines, Say Hello to Customer Engagement

If you don’t educate your subscribers on elements that affect them, your competition will swoop in and do so.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL, I hope 2015 was good to you and I am very confident that 2016 will be an even better year for most. Although we will always face some type of economic challenges, it is the business leaders who remain mindful by staying cutting edge while paying close attention to matters that affect their customers who will always succeed and grow their companies. And remember the needs of existing customers should be as important to management as growing their businesses by adding new customers.

We work in an industry that continues to throw us curveballs – matters such as nonresponse, licensing, sun-setting of products and services and, of course, the rapid elimination of traditional POTS lines to name a few. Let’s face it: Without an existing subscriber base paying for monitoring and services month after month most companies would not have a stable business or any success. The market depends on the services and expertise that we have and provide that help them maintain their peace of mind when it comes to security, safety and general lifestyle services. If we fail in delivering this on a daily basis, our customers will rapidly go elsewhere to achieve this.

Communications Problems Loom Large

We are in a position of both advantage and disadvantage. It’s a disadvantage that because of the nature of our services and the reality of society we are tested every day; on the other hand, for that reason we have a variety of ways to prove our value and provide security to our customers daily. We offer a host of services, interactions and touches for customer engagement and benefit. These services and touches have increased and continue to grow steadily. Having said this, one of the oldest methods of communication, which usually equates to the largest element of most company subscriber bases, is one of the greatest vulnerabilities we face each day – POTS lines are still an issue and realistically a bigger problem than ever before.

The POTS issue grows because it goes beyond existing subscribers canceling their landlines. It’s the hidden issues of telecommunication companies transporting calls digitally and essentially as VoIP and having the same effect as an end user transferring landline service to second- or third-tier VoIP providers, resulting in inconsistent alarm signal communication to their central monitoring center. The industry is fortunate, as we have many alternate means of communication like IP connectivity, private radio and cellular. We also have smartphones, tablets and other connected technologies that continue to keep customers tied to their systems and the services we provide.

The bigger problem? Many dealers are still not taking a proactive approach to mitigating this potentially dangerous undetected issue and attrition accelerator. Furthermore, as negligent as it sounds, some companies continue to sell landline as the only means of communications to new customers. Many companies are taking the sit-back-and-wait approach. This is not a good idea!

First of all, you’re not keeping your subscribers educated on elements that directly affect them and that may be out of their control. Second, you’re basically inviting your competition to provide them with this education – not only will that make you look bad and incompetent, but it will allow them to earn your customers’ faith while losing confidence in your company.

Put Together a Complete Approach

The nice part of what you have to offer subscribers in lieu of their existing and antiquated structure is that these touches will not only add to your all-around value proposition, it will create a better, stickier customer. The days of a security company only representing an invoice should be long behind the companies that are proactive. Everything from the most basic burglar alarm system to basic or high security video should be offered with some type of connectivity to a customer’s mobile services. In addition to this platform providing all the elements I described, it offers a suitable and respectable method for service providers to stay in communication with each and every customer with minimal effort.

As a company grows it becomes more difficult to maintain quality communications with all customers. It’s essential to provide a gateway for customers to access all information that is important to them directly and indirectly to the systems they have. An informed subscriber is either seeking this now or will be when your competitor demonstrates this for them. These are all critical factors toward providing a complete approach to systems, services, communication and, especially, peace of mind. Communicating the value of this new and whole ecosystem is a meaningful way for you to express the reasoning behind the necessity to migrate from landline dependency. Believing and maintaining a structure and philosophy that promotes this will serve as a great component in your arsenal toward maintaining existing customers – and gaining new customers – for life.

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About the Author

Peter Giacalone

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

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