After a customer signs up for Alarm Service, they assume their part is over and, from an equipment install aspect, they’re mostly right. But there are things, life changes, where their lack of understanding or knowledge could be harmful without a team assist from you, their dealers.
One of the biggest ways we can help them is by ensuring they understand the value of updating their contact lists. Here are some of the impacts of obsolete call lists.
- False alarm fines and angry customers. Customers have a tendency to assume if they have an alarm, but don’t hear from the monitoring station that either the alarm was never received or dispatchers never bothered to call.
- Person authorizing cancel is no longer a decision maker or employee. Let’s face it. People divorce. They get terminated. If they’re still on the call list an know code, they can authorize a disregard. The operators have to hope that the person on the other end of the line has enough integrity to tell them if they’re no longer associated with an account. But if they aren’t, the business/homeowner could be left vulnerable.
- Keyholders may have changed or disconnected numbers. There’s not much more frustrating for an operator than a confirmed burglary or crime where the police are requesting a keyholder only to find every number is either disconnected or “not accepting calls at this time.” When that happens, our next call is to you, the dealer, with a request to try to reach your customer.
- Keyholders listed are deceased. You’d be surprised at how often someone will answer the phone for a keyholder only for our dispatchers to discover that we’re speaking to the spouse of the contact person and that the person has passed away, sometimes years before, and that our operators have not only not gotten code, but have also managed to upset someone still grieving.
- No response to actual crimes. When the person perpetrating the crime is listed on the keys list and able to verify or advise that a dispatch is ok to “clear as a false alarm,” the signal is cleared out as completed. There is no way for a dispatcher to know that the person who is perpetrating the crime, be it vandalism, theft, or worse, is actually the criminal if they’re able to verify. Sadly, since up to 50% of home burglaries are committed by someone you may know (maybe a neighbor or relative), and during broad daylight, it becomes key to be alerted to changes in the family dynamic. Drugs are a big reason people commit burglary, so if a family member or employee is no longer deemed trustworthy, or they’re a former employee who is disgruntled, these lists need to be changed.
What can you, the dealer, do to ensure that you have the most updated list possible?
- Make sure the customer knows the importance of a current, updated keyholder list and password.
- Once a year, send an email or letter with a request or reminder for an updated contact list.
- Make sure your customers know your requirements for updating their call lists. (Do you need it in writing? Will you accept it via email? Can they call in the changes?)
- Watch your emails/texts from Stages. When an Operator marks a wrong number and removes the digits from the system, it generates an email/text to you.
- If Central Station calls you about issues with keyholders, reach out to your customers.
Stages even gives you, the dealer, the autonomy of updating the keys list yourself without having to fax or email data entry. If you aren’t sure how, click HERE for the tutorial.