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Monitronics Recognized for Achieving Market Leadership Through Outstanding Customer Service

Frost & Sullivan has awarded Monitronics International Inc. the 2011 North America Frost & Sullivan Company of the Year Award.

Frost & Sullivan presented the award to Monitronics March 13 at a ceremony in San Diego, Calif. Monitronics’ vice president of sales and dealer development, Bruce Mungiguerra, and vice president of customer care, John Mejia, accepted on behalf of the company.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that demonstrates superior entrepreneurial ability in its industry during the research period. This award signifies the company’s identification of a unique and revolutionary product solution with significant market potential. Additionally, it certifies the company’s marketing strategy as sound and poised for success.

Monitronics’ focus on providing the maximum value to customers by expanding its customer service operations and streamlining internal processes resulted in a record low attrition in 2011. Apart from its excellent and well-trained customer service representatives, its state-of-the-art central station and affordability make the company a top contender in the market.

The alarm monitoring market has been traditionally low on technology innovation, but Monitronics has bucked the trend with its novel business model. The company’s broad range of technology partners allows its dealers to choose from multiple technology offerings and provides them with extensive support technologies, ongoing training, flexible and intuitive reporting capabilities, seamless integration to the Monitronics Central Station, and online billing.

“Internally, the company incorporated new workflow-based decisioning software that helps guide customer service agents through each call, empowering them to collect more detailed information and provide more accurate assistance,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Team Leader Dilip Sarangan. “It also simplified customer service using a new ‘smart-call’ automated technology that lets customers confirm or change service appointments without an agent.”

Monitronics is one of the few monitoring companies to report its response rate, which is currently about 22.1 seconds. In an attempt to decrease emergency response time, the company is one of the first central stations—and is the largest—to participate in the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) pilot program. This program aims to reduce emergency response time and save lives by transmitting emergency data electronically instead of using traditional communications systems.

Monitronics also earned praise from the False Alarm Reduction Association for its innovative false alarm reduction efforts. The company’s False Alarm Control Team partnered with law enforcement agencies and communicated with customers to reduce false alarms from 0.67 percent to 0.5 percent.

Monitronics’ ability to succeed in a rough economic environment is evidenced by the increase in both its revenue and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) each year for the 17 years that the company has been in business. It has a revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 percent and an EBITDA CAGR of 23 percent from 1998-2010.

The market penetration of alarm monitoring products has traditionally been very low, with only about 17 percent of U.S. households using monitored services. However, Monitronics acquired more than 700,000 customers in less than 17 years and added more than 75,000 customers in 2011 alone, when the market was supposedly stagnant. This helped Monitronics establish itself as an industry leader, with approximately 4.6 percent market share and the company is well on course to becoming the second largest monitoring company in the next couple of years.

Monitronics made concerted efforts to expand its reach by magnifying its dealer network. Through its successful dealer program, the company reaches customers throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. This widespread network helps the company purchase monitoring contracts from dealers and provides subscribers with a full spectrum of security alarm services, including monitoring, customer service, and technical support.

The dealer-based business model allows Monitronics to do away with a national sales and installation force. Additionally, it outsources on-site technical support to its dealer network, which helps to reduce service expenses and overheads. This dealer model is unique to the company and ensures that dealers never find themselves in competition with Monitronics.

“Fewer than 10 competitors are national monitoring companies with central stations and the capacity to provide services to commercial and residential customers nationally,” observed Sarangan. “By having its own fully redundant central station, Monitronics has the ability to provide consistent, 24-hour support to customers.”

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

Everyday Superhero: Tia Williams

It was early evening on February 22. Emergency Dispatch Operator Tia Williams was standing watch, calmly keeping her eye on Monitronics alarms. She saw a silent hold-up alarm, from a business in Arkansas, flash onto her computer screen (Swoosh!)

Faster than a speeding bullet, Tia was on the phone with the local police department. She had them zooming to the scene in no time at all.

After the emergency

The police arrived and approached the store with caution—they didn’t know what to expect. They began interviewing the victims and found that the evil villain had left the store on foot. The pursuit was on. Several officers headed out to search the vicinity.

Other officers stayed behind to interview the shaken victims. “He came up to the counter … he … he said, he had a gun … wanted all the money in the register,” said the cashier through staggered speech. “I, was scared, didn’t know what to do. I was able to hit the silent hold-up button—he had no idea—then I emptied it out (the register) and put the money in the bag.”

Just then, another employee said that her son had just called. Turns out, Mr. Not-so-getaway was just down the street. He had gone to another restaurant and was bragging about the robbery. Officers picked him up, with the money, almost instantly.

Another one bites the dust-ah.

Everyday Superhero: Debra Harold

It was a bitter, chilly December night. Emergency Dispatch Operator Debra Harold was keeping warm at Monitronics when a Florida burglary alarm burst onto the scene. Debra leapt to action and took to the skies (Swoooosh!).

With a sense of unwavering urgency, Debra called the business. A greeting never came (silence). Within seconds, Debra had the police department on the phone. She gave them the info they needed to continue the crime fight. Then they were on their way, speeding to the business.

After the emergency

Once Debra had the police on their way, she tried to reach the owner again. This time, (Pow!) she made contact.

When the PD made it to the business, they made a lucky discovery: the burglar was still inside. Mr. Destructo was quickly shipped off to jail where he belonged.

Everyday Superhero: Heather Schneider

Friday, December 9, 2011, 7:30 p.m. It was a cold, drizzly night. Monitronics Emergency Dispatch Operator Heather Schneider was on duty and ready for anything when she intercepted a burglar alarm from a Weatherford, Texas, business.

It took her fractions of a second to shift into Everyday Superhero mode. She swiftly called the quaint shop. But … no answer came. Heather knew that time was of the essence. She tried to reach the shop owner at home. Heather was relieved to hear a voice on the other end of the line. She said, “We just received a burglary alarm at your business.” The shop owner asked Heather to send the police.

Almost instantly, Heather had the local police on the phone and on their way to the business.

After the emergency

Thanks to Heather’s Everyday Superhero swift action, the police arrived just in the nick of time. They found two men right in the middle of robbing the store. Of course, the bad guys were immediately arrested and received a police escort straight to jail.

Everyday Superhero: Delia Rico

Recently, Central Station Emergency Dispatch Operator Delia Rico received burglary signals from a business in Houston. She quickly called the business but didn’t get an answer. Delia was able to reach the manager and he said, “Send the police!”

Delia was able to send the alarm notification using a pilot technology, ASAP, which communicates signals electronically to the 911 center. The dispatch was communicated to the Houston Emergency Center within seconds and officers were on the scene in no time.

As a result of the speedier dispatch time, the police were able to call us back within six minutes to tell us they made three arrests. SIX MINUTES—THREE ARRESTS!