The Power of Responsive Service

Malcolm “Mac” Hammond, president of Hammond Security in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has long been a vocal proponent of first-rate customer service and proactively dealing with false alarms. Founded in 1968, Hammond Security is a full-service installing and monitoring provider with a UL-Listed central station serving nearly 6,000 homes, businesses, banks and local landmarks in Dutchess, Ulster, Columbia, Putnam, Orange and Rockland Counties.

Hammond has written into SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION several times over the years, always offering a strong opinion and making no mystery of his intolerance for anything less than an extreme level of professionalism. His recent correspondence is feature in the “Sounding Off” section of the Security Exchange department in the upcoming April issue of SSI. As a preview and bonus, following is another recent commentary from the esteemed Mr. Hammond. He may wrinkle some feathers but even if you don’t entirely agree with him, you have to admire his commitment and dedication.

Down With Alarms, Up With Security

In a recent letter of mine [see April SSI], I recommended SIAC [Security Industry Alarm Coalition] go a step beyond delay and promote “resolve problems” for a real program that would put the police on our side and put clients on our side. This program could be called, “Reduce Police Dispatches by Guaranteeing Technician Response to Every Unknown-Cause False Alarm.”

I have received checklists. I have to ask, can a list for everyone to follow be substitute for your company’s commitment to resolve every unknown-cause, police-dispatched false alarm? This is similar to the commitment level of the hen and the pig to your ham and egg breakfast. A list is not a commitment whereas an investment in technicians resolving police-dispatched, unknown-cause false alarms is.

In 2008, this small, local security company with dedicated monitoring (we don’t subcontract) received unsolicited pleas from unhappy alarm system owners requesting Hammond’s help. Help we did! We told frustrated owners what it would cost to enjoy a Hammond level of trouble-free security. We found “cost” wasn’t their problem. Without looking for takeovers and with no investment whatsoever we accepted 50 new clients paying $39 to $64 per month (with 5-year agreements).

You can use any multiple you wish but I believe this was a $75,000 transfer from “ignoring service needs” to “very responsive service.” What if “very responsive service” decided to implement an effective, low-key program to offer pleasure to the large numbers of unhappy alarm system owners? Would last year’s 50 conversions be joined with 300 conversions in 2009?

If a few hundred companies, such as this reader’s company, looked to the thousands of neighborhoods they serve and offered to trade broken promises for the pleasure of owning trouble-free security, would it be good for the security industry and would it be good for police relationships?

If the big boys continue to think it’s too expensive to invest having service technicians respond to every unknown-cause false alarm, they may find themselves on the sidelines watching a race: police non-response vs. attrition. I hope non-response loses.

Best in security,

Malcolm B. Hammond

What do you think? As always, thanks for reading …

Scott Goldfine



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