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What You Should Expect from Your Monitoring Station

The relationship between an alarm installation/service company and its monitoring station is an interesting and very important one that bears looking at. Once an alarm system is installed, programmed and tested, and the subscriber is properly trained on the use of the system, your subscriber is likely to have much more regular contact with the [...]
What You Should Expect from Your Monitoring Station

The relationship between an alarm installation/service company and its monitoring station is an interesting and very important one that bears looking at.

Once an alarm system is installed, programmed and tested, and the subscriber is properly trained on the use of the system, your subscriber is likely to have much more regular contact with the monitoring station than with your office. It is therefore essential for you to have confidence that your business principles are being properly adhered to by monitoring station personnel.

You are the face of your company, and you are the one who may bump into the customer as you walk down the street or visit the arena in your local community. You are also the one that your customers are counting on to deliver to their expectations. It will be your feet that are held to the fire when things go awry, regardless the real cause of any perceived failure.

Just as you will be held responsible for the performance and behaviour of your employees, so too will you be required to accept accountability for the actions (or lack thereof) of your monitoring station.

So selecting a station to perform the monitoring service is no small matter! It is critical to the success and reputation of your business. Simply comparing costs without looking at reliability, redundancy, reputation, and other factors is just not good enough.

Selecting a station to perform the monitoring service is no small matter. It is critical to the success and reputation of your business. Simply comparing costs without looking at reliability, redundancy, reputation, and other factors is just not good enough.

Here are some of the things we think should be taken into consideration when selecting a monitoring station for your business:

  1. Where is the actual monitoring being done?
    As tempting as it might be to have your monitoring station in your home town, or even around the corner, it can also work to your disadvantage. A natural disaster or a major telephone service outage in your area that affects your customers might also affect the monitoring station, knocking it off line and unable to respond, even to those customers who have GSM backups in place.
  2. How many stations does your prospective supplier operate?
    A company with several different locations in several geographical areas offers redundancy opportunities that a single location can simply never hope to duplicate.
  3. When a company operates more than one station, are all stations inter-connected at all times?
  4. What types of signals is the station willing to receive on your behalf?
    Many companies, particularly those who also own retail accounts of their own, refuse to release new technologies to their dealers, in the hope that their own sales department will have an advantage in the marketplace.
  5. When a company operates more than one station, how many of the stations are true monitoring stations and how many are simply data centers that receive signals from the “mother ship”?
  6. Is there a ULC-listing for any or all of the stations?
    Although you may not be contemplating a ULC-listing for your own company, such a listing is a good indicator that the station takes it business seriously and is prepared to have a qualified third party “expert” perform an inspection to ensure that high standards are being met or exceeded.
  7. If possible, visit the station to see for yourself both the technology and the people you will be dealing with.
  8. When your customers call the station what name will they hear from the operator?
    Similarly, when the station calls your customer, what name will your customer hear? And what will the call display on your customer’s phone say?
  9. Ask for, and read carefully, a copy of the monitoring station’s dealer agreement.
    Does it specify a “right of first refusal” for the purchase of your accounts if you choose to sell in the future? Ask yourself, “Why would a company want that clause if they claim to not do retail?” Remember – if they’ll buy your accounts they will also purchase the accounts of your friendly neighbourhood competitor – and that could lead to a significant conflict of interest.
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Written by CSI Magazine

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