Cutting Through the Clutter
Over the past six years, we’ve held hundreds of outreach sessions with state alarm associations and other organizations associated with the security industry. Time and again, we’ve asked a simple question, “Do you know what ECV is?” Sadly, when we ask for a show of hands from industry members, repeatedly less than half of those attending the session lift their arm in the affirmative.
This speaks to the difficulty of getting an important message to our industry. ECV (Enhanced Call Verification) or two-call verification is a simple procedure. It is designed to reduce the number of unnecessary calls for dispatch to the police. It benefits the security industry and improves relationships with police departments. The procedure requires the monitoring center to place two calls to the customer prior to calling the responding authority. If the customer is reached, typically there has been no breach of the home or business, and no call goes to the police. For the few situations where no one can be reached, the police are dispatched. Run effectively by the monitoring center, and this practice can by itself reduce those unwanted calls by up to 70 percent over the long run.
You’d think because of the importance of police response to our business that most companies would be aware of this procedure. But I think it’s because of the nature of our business that we have a hard time getting this message more effectively delivered: We are at heart an industry with many small companies, most of which have no affiliation with the national trade associations, making it difficult to communicate with them. The security/alarm installing and monitoring industry is not led by multiple big players. Instead, probably 70 percent of the business is done by small or regional companies. This allows easy entry to the industry, and encourages competition.
At the same time, it makes it more difficult for us to standardize, and to adopt concepts like ECV even when they are driven by leadership, and endorsed by the majority of key players. As a shared industry goal, we all should be alerting others to ECV, encouraging our fellow industry members to attend association meetings and read industry publications. Awareness is a first step.
To run an effective, productive and profitable alarm company means adopting solid business practices. ECV is one of those practices. It improves your standing with key officials in local communities, indicating your desire to operate at a higher standard. This translates to improved sales and customer retention.
Learn more about ECV. If you don’t know about it, check http://www.siacinc.org, for more information, or attend your local alarm association meeting and request that your leadership invite a SIAC representative to give a presentation. The more you know, the better it is for your company.
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