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Beyond Alarms: The Importance of the User Experience

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March 1, 2016
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Beyond Alarms: The Importance of the User Experience

It's widely understood that homeowners install alarm systems primarily for peace of mind. We've also discussed how today's alarm systems can do much more than ever before, adding interactive services and remote control, even to the point of offering home automation features for added convenience. And in the best systems, those enhanced services are integrated into a single comprehensive platform that is easy for you to use.

Frontpoint was one of the first nationwide alarm companies to offer such a solution – and we added a few wrinkles of our own, such the following:

  • Adding safer cellular communication to every system we have sold.
  • Focusing on advanced interactive services and home automation features.
  • Making the system so intuitive that you can set up the pre-programmed equipment yourself.
  • Offering the high level of customer satisfaction that we used to expect from all our service providers – but that has become harder to find.


How to Differentiate?

Today, we have lots more competition than when we launched nine years ago. In fact, a number of alarm companies have followed our example in one or more aspects – and we're flattered by that. But the more the companies look alike (and offer similar products and/or services), the more important it is for the savvy shopper to understand that there can still be significant differences that separate one alarm company form another.


The Importance of the User Experience

When the alarm goes off in your home, pretty much every alarm company offering professional monitoring – the only kind you want - is going to respond the same way. And that's as it should be: having the appropriate authorities notified is, after all, why you are paying your monthly fee. But there are plenty of other interactions with your alarm company that are not related to an alarm event – and that's an area where you can tell an "okay" provider from a really good one.


It Starts With Marketing and Sales

For instance, the alarm company should lead off with completely transparent marketing. You want all the information upfront, and you deserve it: how the system works, what happens when there is an alarm event, and how much everything costs. That means the full upfront equipment cost (and not just for a “teaser” basic kit), as well as monthly service fees.

Then, when you are getting a quote and asking all your questions, it should be a consultative process – and not a high-pressure approach, such as the method used by many of the "door-knocking" alarm companies.


An Ongoing Relationship

Once your alarm system is installed, the user experience doesn't stop there. You'll have questions, you may want to add to your system, and you may even move – and you want to move your system with you. Most alarm companies don't let you do that. These interactions are decidedly easier with some companies than with others, so reviews are a great place to research which companies are good at what. And another great example of the ongoing relationship is your ability to manage your account, so that you don't have to make a call every time you want to change something.


The Customer Portal

Some companies have an online customer portal, but many do not. The portal gives you the convenience of controlling certain aspects of your alarm account without having to call or email the company: you can make the changes yourself online, when it’s convenient for you.


What the Portal Does

Frontpoint does have a portal, and our customers love it. Once logged in to their system, they easily navigate to where they can change all sorts of personal info, and even perform some account functions, without calling us. For example, they can:

  • Update their security passcode
  • Update their emergency contact numbers
  • Update their credit card information
  • Modify their billing address
  • Modify their shipping address

And we're not done yet: there will be more portal features added later this year.


Think Long-Term Security and Convenience

So, when you're shopping for your peace of mind, consider your purchase as the beginning of as a long-term relationship. Basic alarm functionality does not vary much from company to company, and neither does the alarm response. But some technology platforms are better – such as safer cellular monitoring and smart interactive services, and not all companies are standardized on the latest technology and features. And lastly, you want a company that you can trust – and that makes it easy for you to feel protected and connected.

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Donna DiFalco
March 16, 2016 at 5:23 PM
I've had this alarm system for a few years now and couldn't be more satisfied. Customer service is pleasant and knowledgeable. It's so refreshing to get authentic customer service these days.
Giovina Carinci
March 16, 2016 at 5:23 PM
Concerning the battery in my Garage sensor. I kept getting messages concerning my garage door sensors battery getting low. I went on the website and found battery replacement and it stated to call. I called the number and the person that answered said we do not cover garage door batteries and when I asked what I needed to do the response was I have no idea and we do not cover those batteries. Help.....Not sure what I need to do. I have no problem replacing my battery but I would appreciate some type of direction.....i.e. where it is located in the sensor, what type of battery and how to replace the battery. Your assistance would be greatly appreciated. thanks, Giovina Carinci
Katie Rynex
March 17, 2016 at 7:45 PM
Giovina, we apologize for that experience and want you to know that we will have one of our Support Specialists reach out to you shortly to get a new battery sent out to you! Thanks so much for reaching out and we look forward to speaking with you soon!
Alex Nikolay
March 17, 2016 at 3:08 AM
Not a very good one.... They just charged me over 238$ for equipment which had to be replaced and said I didn't return the old one. I have my receipts of fedex but still haven't gotten my money back. Makes me think they use my money, take a while to reimburse .... I am not their bank . Plus the equipment has never worked right, my battery literally melted, and I had to cut a hole in my Sheetrock to get to the camera to unplug. The costs are piling up, not willing to pay another electrician. I'll be excited when this scam and contract is finally running out. Not only did they nearly burn my house down with their black melted battery but i am burned out as well to deal w them. More time and expenses than I am now willing to put in.....
Katie Rynex
March 17, 2016 at 7:58 PM
Alex, we are so sorry to hear about this negative experience. We want to make this situation right for you so we are going to have one of our Support Supervisors reach out to you shortly to address all of your concerns. Thanks for this feedback and we look forward to speaking with you soon!
Gary Takemura
March 17, 2016 at 11:59 AM
I got an email that our monthly payment method did not work. I called as soon as I got the email. I provided another credit card and the payment was processed. This was my first issue with payment and was charged a Late Charge. A good will toward customer service would have been to waive the Late Charge the first time. What's worse is after I called to resolve the payment issue, I got a call on my cell phone, my home phone, and my wife got a call on her cell phone. If you are going to automate the payment alerts and have your reps call customers, they should have the latest account status BEFORE they call !!!
Lynne Day
March 17, 2016 at 2:28 PM
Frontpoint is a very poor system, you have absolutely no backup in terms of technicians. You sent other sensors and I gave to to my handyman to install and he said I had to activated them by calling. My opinion is that at over $40.00 a month it is a waste of money. How do I stop you taking money from my credit card? How do I close the account so that I am not charged.
Katie Rynex
March 18, 2016 at 3:33 PM
Lynne, we apologize for any negative experience that you feel you may have had with us, as that is definitely not our goal here at Frontpoint. We are going to have one of our Support Supervisors reach out to you shortly to address all of your concerns. Thanks for sharing your feedback and we look forward to speaking with you soon.
Todd Loenhorst
March 17, 2016 at 3:32 PM
I have been a Frontpoint customer for several months now and find the service to be excellent on all levels. Highly responsive. Love it! The only issue I have had is the poor performance of the touchscreen IQ panel from Qolys. It is really a poor implementation of an Android-based panel. Slow, buggy, frequently freezes momentarily while entering a passcode. Not fun. I've had it replaced once already from a Qolys branded unit to another that has the Frontpoint logo on it. It is still a poor performer. I hope FP can get that worked out.
Katie Rynex
March 18, 2016 at 3:24 PM
Todd, it is important to us that your system work exactly how you need it to so we are going to have one of our Support Specialists reach out to you shortly to address those concerns with your Touch Screen Control Panel. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and we look forward to speaking with you soon!
March 19, 2016 at 12:31 AM
If you think the main Qolys IQ panel is you should try the secondary wireless IQ panel. Complete garbage. It's laughable hardware compared to an iPad
March 19, 2016 at 12:32 AM
Meant to say " if you think the main panel is bad"
March 17, 2016 at 4:09 PM
the system is very easy to install and easy to use...the customer service is great... one wish is to have the status of the alarm (armed or disarmed) displayed on the icon on the mobile app so that by just looking at the phone without having to open the app...i can tell if the alarm is disarmed or armed.
Joe Lombardo
March 17, 2016 at 5:21 PM
Hi. I was curious, has there been any consideration to adding a "panic button" feature or emergency no. contact button to the smart phone app, similar to what is on the home control panel? That would be a handy feature given that most people, myself included have the panel on the first floor but have our bedrooms on the second floor. Thanks, Joe
Katie Rynex
March 17, 2016 at 8:00 PM
Thanks so much for the great suggestion! We will definitely pass it along to the right people.
Brooke Glasgow
March 17, 2016 at 6:02 PM
I find this email hilariously ironic! After my home alarm went off for 15 minutes, frontpoint finally called me! The local police were never notified! when we moved we were told we had signed a contract for 3 years, which I would never do bc we are military and restation every 2yrs. They couldn't show me anything with my signature agreeing to the contract time. They promised to send out new updated yard sign which we never received. Your customer service is terrible. I take every opportunity I can to warn people about this awful company.
Katie Rynex
March 18, 2016 at 3:20 PM
Brooke, please accept our sincerest apologies for the negative customer service that you feel you have received during your time here at Frontpoint. We want to make this situation right which is why we are going to have one of our Support Supervisors reach out to you shortly to address all of your concerns. Thanks so much for this feedback and we look forward to speaking with you soon!
Alice Hendricks
March 17, 2016 at 6:27 PM
Simple question. Response to my email was quick and very easy.
March 17, 2016 at 11:00 PM
I would like to have back the option of silent arming your alarm from your wireless device. During your most recent update that feature was eliminated. Now instead of arming from my bed when I know everyone has gone to bed, I must go to the unit directly. It was a nice feature, why are you giving the system less features instead of more?
Katie Rynex
March 18, 2016 at 3:11 PM
Dave, we are happy to let you know that we have not eliminated the silent arming feature from your smartphone app! If you continue to have trouble silent arming your system from your smartphone app, please contact our Support Team as they would be happy to investigate your app and make sure we get everything working exactly how you need it to.
Stephanie Jacobs
March 18, 2016 at 1:56 AM
Tatiana helped my husband and me set up our alarm system. She was so nice and patient. I have been very impressed with Frontpoint's customer service. Thank you!
Joseph S
March 18, 2016 at 8:01 PM
I suggest some improvements to the iPhone app: Launch time, there is lag between opening the app and the touch id feature to kick in; then there is another lag between the touch id and getting to te main screen. Needs to be faster. Apple Homekit enanled, the app should be able to interoperate with leading industry standards. I have a nice ecosystem at home of devices reacting to each other, but not my security system. I'm not in love with the layout of the app ans its different flows. Less taps (clicks) would be ideal. I find myself sometimes making the trip to the central panel while having my iPhone in me hand. Its a mix of the response time and the amount of taps it takes to arm/dissarm. Hope to see improvements in the newr future.
Cindy Stephens
July 4, 2016 at 7:37 AM
I am disappointed in this company and the employee that lied so blatenly on 3 seperate calls. Luckily i caught on and asked him about the lies to which he made up more lies on what he would be able to do so now i am looking for a new company to take my business to
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