FALSE ALARM by yantingting


									    Special report: alarm manaGement

   falSe alarm
   Broadview Security is going out with a bang. On the verge of
   being absorbed into ADT, the company has received the 5th
   annual Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award for its outstanding false
   alarm management program. See what makes the plan so strong.

   By Scott Goldfine
                      here were many              and industry relationships is an integral       PDQ applications are scored by three
                      compelling reasons          part of our mission.”                        independent judges in 15 different ar-
                      Tyco decided earli-            Vanyo highlights two of the overrid-      eas. In its winning application, Broad-
                      er this year to acquire     ing tenets of the PDQ program: educat-       view noted a police dispatch rate for
                      and fold Broadview          ing customers about false alarm issues       2009 of .40 (down from .44 in 2008) in
                      Security into its ADT       and training them on proper system use,      the Fort Worth, Texas, region that also
                      Security Services busi-     and working closely with responding          includes the firm’s Irving-based head-
                      ness. Foremost was the      law enforcement agencies to minimize         quarters. The figure is derived by divid-
   sterling reputation Broadview had es-          unnecessary dispatches. But it does not      ing the provider’s total false alarm dis-
   tablished as a keenly well managed na-         end there as alarm management prac-          patches (in this case 2,618 excluding
   tional provider of security systems and        tices proven to be successful that pertain   cancellations) by the total alarm sites
   monitoring services. Presently, even as        to salesperson and technician training,      maintained by the provider in that ju-
   its operations were being integrated into      monitoring procedures, and equipment         risdiction (in this case, 6,546).
   ADT’s as this went to press, that quality      configuration are also key.                     While Broadview’s submission was re-
   has helped Broadview achieve perhaps              Established in 2005 by the Security       gional, it has set a high standard for ef-
   its final hurrah under that brand name         Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False       fective alarm management nationwide.
   — capturing the 5th annual Police Dis-         Alarm Reduction Association (FARA)           In fact, the company has become the first
   patch Quality (PDQ) Award.                     and SECURITY SALES & INTEGRA-                two-time winner of the PDQ Award, also
      “Our mission statement, ‘Creating Cus-      TION (SSI), the PDQ program aims to          capturing the 2006 honor when it was
   tomers for Life,’ drives every initiative at   raise industry-wide awareness, moti-         known as Brink’s Home Security. Let’s
   Broadview. By providing an outstanding         vate alarm companies to be proactive         take a closer look at what to this point is
   customer service experience and ensur-         and provide workable models for oth-         the industry’s most comprehensive and
   ing that customers know how to proper-         ers. The PDQ Award annually recogniz-        successful approach to alarm manage-
   ly operate the security system, we ensure      es the security company that best dem-       ment and false dispatch reduction.
   the customer has a positive experience,”       onstrates an enthusiastic, cooperative
   says Carole Vanyo, ex-Broadview senior         and successful effort in alarm reduc-        Keeping Customers in Control
   vice president customer operations and         tion strategies. This year marked the           False alarms originate in customer lo-
   new vice president, customer experience        first time the PDQ presentation took         cations where neither a security profes-
   for ADT. “We also know that continuing         place at ESX rather than during SSI’s        sional nor police are typically present.
   to build and expand our strong agency          SAMMY Awards at ISC West.                    This makes it critical that those custom-

62 www.securitysales.com • AUGUST 2010
                                                permits, permit fees and fines for false      results. At the end of the day, having cus-
                                                alarms, if applicable, and assist the cus-    tomers who know exactly what to do in
                                                tomer in obtaining a required permit;         the event of a false alarm is something
                                                and documentation should be provid-           you almost can’t put a price tag on.”
                                                ed to the customer that explains the
                                                false dispatch issue and tips to reduce       teChnology’s importAnt role
                                                the risk of a false dispatch.                    The type of equipment, its configu-
                                                   Once the sale is made, installers or       ration and installation also play a ma-
                                                other employees must instruct new cus-        jor role in the incidence of false alarms.
                                                tomers about: proper use of the system;       Alarm companies are urged to install
                                                if a seven-day test period is used, de-       products that meet the requirements
                                                scribe how the alarms will be handled;        of the SIA CP-01 standard, with all pro-
                                                how to select an arm/disarm code and          grammable options set to default set-
                                                an identity code; how to determine ap-        tings. The devices should also meet all
                                                propriate entry and exit delay periods;       applicable UL standards.
                                                how to prevent false alarms that could           “We have actually had about 90 per-
                                                occur with the system just installed;         cent of what is required in CP-01 built
                                                how to cancel an alarm or request for         into our systems since 1993, long be-
                                                dispatch; how to contact the installing       fore today’s standard was written and
                                                or monitoring company for assistance;         adopted by the industry,” says Vanyo.
                                                how to obtain service when the alarm          “Since late 2003, every new panel we
                                                system malfunctions; how an answer-           install has been CP-01 compliant. We
                                                ing machine or “call waiting” may affect      have an actual cancel button on our
                                                alarm verification and cancellation pro-      keypad — different from a cancel fea-
                                                cedures; and how DSL, VoIP or other           ture, which requires a customer to en-
                                                services may impact the alarm system.         ter a series of numbers.”
                                                   The provider should also instruct the         To help ensure problem-free instal-
                                                customer on the steps in the verifica-        lations, technicians ought to be certi-
                                                tion process and assist in selecting ap-      fied as meeting the requirements of Na-
                                                propriate call list telephone numbers.        tional Training School (NTS) Level I or
                                                Encouraging customers to provide lo-          II, or equivalent (such as a document-
                                                cal numbers for all contacts is pre-          ed company training program that is
                                                ferred, with an emphasis on the use of        similar in content and duration), as
                                                cellular numbers as the second prem-          well as meet any state or jurisdiction-
                                                ises number. It’s advisable to deploy an      al continuing education requirements.
                                                active program in the monitoring sta-         Broadview employs one of the indus-
                                                tion to identify and correct outdated         try’s most thorough technical training
Being conscientious and implementing a          contact information. Ongoing commu-           regimens. In addition to NTS, techni-
host of proven best practices, both in its      nication, such as newsletters and bill        cians must be certified in Fire Alarm In-
monitoring and customer service centers as
                                                inserts, after the sale is crucial in main-   stallation Methods (FAIM); go through
well as among its skilled force of field per-
sonnel, has served Broadview Security well.     taining the customer relationship and         a 12-week in-house course that in-
                                                awareness of false alarm prevention.          cludes classroom, in-the-field and on-
ers grasp the proper operation of their            Of course, all of this requires a com-     line studies; and complete a system ser-
system, local permitting requirements           mitment of time, resources and mon-           vice certification that shows they have
and ordinances, what to expect in the           ey. But as Vanyo explains, the payoff is      troubleshooting and resolution skills.
event of an alarm, how to handle a false        well worth the investment.                       “Our internal Certified Trainer Pro-
alarm, and the need to minimize unwar-             “By investing a considerably small         gram has been the single-most suc-
ranted response by the authorities.             amount in producing customer collat-          cessful tool for our technicians. That,
   Among the ways this is accomplished          eral, the benefits outweigh the expen-        coupled with other field training com-
before and during a sale: advertising,          ditures,” she says. “The key is to do so      ponents, rounds out the 12-week pro-
sales literature and contract must give         across all customer touch points —            gram technicians are required to com-
a realistic expectation of the response         product development, sales, installa-         plete before being on their own in the
that will be made when an alarm oc-             tion, service, monitoring, care, Web          field. We have advanced ongoing train-
curs; salespeople must explain, prior           sites, E-mails, statement mailers. They       ing that includes components of the
to installation, local requirements for         are low-cost avenues that provide huge        NTS training program,” says Vanyo. ➞

                                                                                                    www.securitysales.com • AUGUST 2010 63
    pdQ award SaluteS falSe alarm reduction

                                                                                               public safety — the police. These agen-
                                                                                               cies also stand the most to lose if over-
                                                                                               burdened with false alarms, and their
                                                                                               lack of response can devalue alarm sys-
                                                                                               tems themselves. Thus the importance
                                                                                               for a strong relationship to exist among
                                                                                               alarm companies and law enforcement
                                                                                               cannot be overstated.
                                                                                                  That’s why the support of a police de-
                                                                                               partment with a letter confirming the
                                                                                               alarm rate and acceptability of the ap-
                                                                                               plicant is required to qualify for consid-
                                                                                               eration in the PDQ program. Broadview
                                                                                               understands and fully embraces the
                                                                                               need to nurture this dynamic. In par-
   Broadview Security’s Rob Washington (right) accepts the PDQ Award from (l-r) SIAC’s Stan    ticular, Fort Worth’s ordinance require-
   Martin, Honeywell’s Gordon Hope and SSI’s Scott Goldfine at a ceremony held during ESX in   ment that all alarm systems be permit-
   Pittsburgh. The program is organized by SSI, SIAC and FARA; Honeywell is a sponsor.         ted in order to receive police response
                                                                                               has resulted in a collaborative partner-
   mindful monitoring                            engage with customers with elevated           ship where both parties benefit. Togeth-
       Whether it’s the primary provider’s       activity. While we are servicing the ac-      er, they help each other keep track to
   own or that of a third party, the way         count, via customer care or through           make sure alarm system owners’ per-
   in which the central monitoring cen-          field operations, we take the time to         mits remain current.
   ter handles an incoming alarm signal          answer any system-operation ques-                “Through the years, Broadview Se-
   is another paramount facet in averting        tions the customer has, and ensure that       curity and the Fort Worth Alarm Unit
   false dispatches. As is the case with the     performance metrics and quality mea-          have established a good working rela-
   installation/service piece of the puzzle,     surements include false alarm reduc-          tionship,” says Kathleen Schraufna-
   it is essential monitoring operators are      tion aspects,” says Vanyo.                    gel, Broadview industry and govern-
   well trained via course such as those of-        In particular, monitoring provid-          ment relation liaison. “The success we
   fered by the Central Station Alarm As-        ers need to track the worst false alarm       have enjoyed in continued compliance
   sociation (CSAA).                             abusers each month and take the nec-          with the ordinance as well as reduc-
       An intrusion alarm monitoring prac-       essary corrective action, up to and           tions in false alarms is directly relat-
   tice that always made sense, but nev-         including terminating the account.            ed to the ongoing communication be-
   er more so than in the golden age of          However, implementing a program as            tween both parties.”
   mobile communication devices, is en-          extensive as Broadview’s makes that              Broadview went so far as to create a
   hanced call verification (ECV), or call-      scenario unlikely as customers and em-        permit department within its corpo-
   ing at least two phone numbers prior          ployees alike work in unison toward           rate office to make sure there are no
   to dispatch. Broadview has offered this       the best solutions.                           hitches for either responding agencies
   service since 1989, making it manda-             “We have built the program into the        or customers.
   tory for commercial accounts in 1993          fabric of the organization. From our             “It really comes down to a willingness
   and residential in 2003. Increasingly,        ‘false alarm savvy’ online quiz to ef-        to listen to law enforcement concerns
   jurisdictions are legislating or strongly     fortless contact updates, we constantly       and truly communicate with them on
   recommending ECV.                             reach out to customers across all spec-       solutions and ideas,” says Vanyo. “Ulti-
       Another practice that is all too often    trums of activity,” says Vanyo. “We le-       mately, we are all concerned about the
   neglected is contacting customers after       verage customer profiles with low activ-      citizen/customer as well as the realities
   each and every false alarm occurrence         ity, while directly contacting those with     of managing alarms.”                    ■
   to review the event and determine the         elevated alarms. We have especially tar-
   cause. This helps keep them as isolated       geted the issues that naturally arise from
   incidents and prevents them from pro-         multiple users.”
   gressing into chronic problems. Ad-                                                              Find it on the web
   dressing each false alarm on a case-by-       pArtnering With poliCe                             For additional content connected
   case basis is also vital from a customer        The final element in the alarm re-                with this article, see the Under
   experience/perception point of view.          sponse chain is the one with the onus                     Surveillance blog at
       “We have seen great feedback from         to arrive on the scene when an emer-
   both customers and employees who              gency or crime event occurs to ensure

64 www.securitysales.com • AUGUST 2010

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