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.