How to Ensure You’re Getting the Most From Your Monitoring Provider

Central stations provide tools and applications for their dealers and their subscribers to take a greater control of their part in the security chain.

How to Ensure You’re Getting the Most From Your Monitoring Provider

(Image courtesy Elite Interactive Solutions)

Partnering with a central station monitoring provider is potentially the biggest and most important decision an alarm dealer or DIY provider of security systems will have to make. Third-party or wholesale central station monitoring companies have matured substantially over the years and especially the past decade.

Early on in my career I operated a wholesale monitoring center during a time when wholesale central station monitoring providers really didn’t get much respect from central station industry peers and, even some trade associations.

Times have changed drastically over the years and today wholesale monitoring companies contribute tremendously toward the growth of our industry and monitor a meaningful number of accounts as a segment.

It is this growth and the fast-moving competition along with market pressure that has caused some of the larger national monitoring centers to really step up their game and set a pace for others to follow.

This transition is so meaningful that many companies that have provided their own in-house monitoring for decades have transitioned to full-time monitoring or hybrid monitoring with a third-party, wholesale provider.

Some operating centers perform better than others and have taken the steps to expand from the traditional fundamental offerings of basic monitoring services, to offering and providing enhanced services that accelerate greater results for alarm dealers and their subscribers.

As a professional who has spent a big part of my career in executive management for large national monitoring centers, it’s pleasing to see monitoring providers present their propositions in such comprehensive fashion.

Dealers have such great benefits when they utilize and leverage the services and support mechanisms available from these leading-edge central stations.

It’s really troublesome when I hear of dealers arguing over what equates to pennies with a provider, rather than discussing how to leverage the many great services and support mechanisms available that would result in real dollars and increased margins toward their company’s bottom line.

I am always very motivated to communicate and converse about what appears to be the endless opportunities we have as an industry as technologies and services unfold. I see many companies embrace and adopt these opportunities and prosper, while others sit back, wait and wonder.

Consumers are more educated today than ever before as it relates to security, home automation and lifestyle management, and monitoring.

With the rapid success of DIY systems that include professional UL central station monitoring and systems getting easier to install, many consumers are seeking alternate paths to the same solution. It’s up to dealers to take what they have in their arsenal and combine that with their personal service towards holding on to existing clients and gaining new ones.

In the past, a third-party central station was simply a machine that sat behind the alarm dealer and responded to signals and subscriber calls regarding their monitoring. Also, central stations controlled the entire process from new account onboarding of data and data changes.

In today’s world, central stations are much more than this. Central stations provide tools and applications for their dealers and their subscribers to take a greater control of their part in the security chain.

They provide monitoring in a transparent fashion while the alarm dealer sits front and foremost as they should. Most importantly, most wholesale central stations are of great posture and wherewithal.

These strong providers offer great support mechanisms through their technological resources as well as their professional human resources. Many of the really strong providers have many layers of support and advisory that come along with their subscription fees.

Most dealers don’t take advantage of this. In some cases, it is similar to hiring a well-rounded security consultant to assist in expanding your business. Don’t be shy in requesting from your central station monitoring provider the variety of metrics and SLAs that are essential to your business.

These centers are much more sophisticated than ever before and the information they can provide to you is extremely beneficial to managing your business, as well as making sure you are partnered with the monitoring provider that will serve your business in the best manner possible.

I highly recommend to my clients that have not evaluated their partnerships in the past few years to do so. Scheduling detailed meetings with a specific agenda and allowing the monitoring provider to present their services on all levels along with their metrics and service-level agreements (SLAs) is essential.

You may be very surprised on what you will learn and how you can expand your offerings and increase your revenue stream. Don’t be apprehensive about looking around and comparing services, metrics, SLAs and providers.

As I stated before, consumers are savvy and they are likely shopping for enhanced services without your knowledge. The security and life-safety industry bring consumers a wide variety of systems, technologies and services.

Although having a consumer market that is more informed than ever before is a great benefit, this could also be detrimental to those companies that don’t keep their subscriber based informed to what they provide on a regular basis.

Consumers are smart, they recognize and migrate toward platforms that will enhance their lives and families when presented timely and properly. In this fast-paced marketplace it is essential that your communications with your client base is timely, as you want to make sure that you reach your existing and potential clients before your competition seizes the opportunity.

Click here to check out our comprehensive central station monitoring guide.

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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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One response to “How to Ensure You’re Getting the Most From Your Monitoring Provider”

  1. Bronic Zagrobelny says:

    That’s a nice look at how our industry has accepted technological developments over the past two decades, Peter. Remember when a lot of we alarm folks looked at network computer geeks as adversaries in our world? It wasn’t so bad after all, was it?

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