What are your customers saying about you behind closed doors? Are you getting the full story behind

Imagine if you could become invisible, like Kevin Bacon’s character in “Hollow Man” (only without losing your mind and going berserk), and sit undetected at the family dinner table beside a canceled account, listening in as they discuss the real reasons why they gave up on their security system. What insight would this cloak of invisibility allow you to gain into the psychology of your customer? 

Audible Alarm, Dogs, Neighbors Are Enough to Deter Burglars

“I just hated to see my buddy’s sleep disrupted,” explains Jim Hill of Antioch, Calif., whose alarm system often would be accidentally triggered by a faulty garage door. “Our friends had to respond for nothing, and I didn’t like inconveniencing them.”
Hill, whose home has never been burglarized, calls the alarm company that serviced his account for its three-year duration “excellent people.” However, he believes the audible sound of the system and his neighbor’s dog are adequate deterrents against would-be burglars.
“Monitoring is a pain in the butt!” he continues. “The bell is good enough. My wife wanted the system for peace of mind, but we will probably wait at least until our daughters grow up and stop leaving the garage door ajar.”

Mishaps, Traumas Tarnish Clients’ Perceptions

Sarah Soss, of Palos Verdes, Calif., recounts several mishaps through the years with her family’s alarm systems. Her laundry list of problems includes having a curtain trigger the eye in the alarm, control pad buttons sticking or being too sensitive, and the alarm being disabled because a cord or other object is covering the sensor.

“Once, when I was a kid, my sister locked me in the house and turned on the alarm not knowing I was home,” she recalls. “My friend’s mom honked the horn to go out and play, and, as I exited my bedroom, I triggered the alarm. I got scared and ran out of the house, leaving all the doors open. The police came and everyone thought it was a burglar!”

Service Is Satisfactory; Price Is a Problem

Although most customers express satisfaction with the service they receive from their security company, price continues to be an overriding factor for many of them. Cost certainly played a role in the decision Chuck Hattersley of Torrance, Calif., made to switch alarm companies after spending some six years with his original provider.

“I went with [the new company] because it was half the price,” he says. “I called [the old company] and gave it a chance to match, but it failed to do so. [The old company] had the advantage of a patrol car, whereas [the new company] did not. But, I haven’t noticed any difference in the protection level.” Hattersley has remained loyal to his current provider for more than three years.

Technology Can Intimidate Elderly Homeowners

Bridgett Briese of Palos Verdes, Calif., went through the frustration of trying to help her parents get accustomed to using an existing alarm system in a new house they moved into.

“For years, my parents never had an alarm system,” she says. “Then, they moved into a house that has a security system that they don’t use. The reason? It’s too difficult. They are older and lived in their last house for 28 years. They like the fact that they have a sign in front of their house as a deterrent, but they won’t use the security system; old school I guess.”

Invasive Sales Methods Turn Off Prospects

Sometimes, an end user never gets the chance to cancel service because the buying experience sours them to the whole idea. Such was the case for Carol Dance of West Los Angeles.

“My husband and I bought a house a year-and-a-half ago from a woman who had been robbed three years prior,” she explains. “The house has large, old windows and the doors have glass panels. It seemed like it would have been incredibly easy to break into, so we decided to look into a home security system.

“Upon making our first phone call to get a price quote, our name was entered into an open prospect listing without our knowledge. We received more than 50 calls from salespeople within a few hours. The situation was very disturbing to say the least. The sales approach was so invasive that we decided the risk of a home robbery was one we would take to avoid dealing with an industry that we did not want to support.”

Perceived Need Is Primary User Motivator

So, as your invisibility begins to wear off, what did you learn from your covert eavesdropping?

1) People are not compelled to get security unless they have been victimized; 2) people want systems that are easy enough for a child to operate; 3) people do not want to be harassed into buying a system; 4) people are generally satisfied with their alarm service; and 5) people don’t want to pay much.

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