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Yahoo recently ran an article titled "5 Key Words of Advice from the World's Most Famous Customer Service Representative". The article had five quotes from Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group., taken from various interviews he's given over the years.


While we're not sure that Yahoo's title of World's Most Famous Customer Service Rep is 100% official, we certainly do applaud Mr. Branson's obvious commitment to customer service. And if Sir Richard Branson is crediting customer service as the key to his companies' success, all companies should listen up and do what they can to follow in his foot steps.

In the alarm industry, where all companies are selling the same products and services, customer service isn't just the key to Alarm Grid's success, it's every reason we've been successful!

Let's take a look at the 5 key words of advice and how we try to live that example at Alarm Grid.

Branson's first quote was "The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways."

When we created Alarm Grid, we decided that we wanted people that dealt with us to feel like we were a totally different alarm company than any they'd dealt with before. From our no-contract alarm monitoring services, to the wealth of information we gladly give away on our site, we hear all the time how people love the fact that we are fair and upfront. While we think that should be expected, we are lucky to be in an industry where simply being honest actually exceeds customer's expectations.

His second quote was "To achieve consistently terrific customer service, you must hire wonderful people who believe in your company’s goals, habitually do better than the norm and who will love their jobs."

We are still a new company with just a few employees. Most of our customer's deal with me and they almost always comment on how they are impressed with my enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge of alarm systems. Of course, as an owner it's easy for me to care so strongly. I know that as we grow, our continued success will rely on our ability to foster that same enthusiasm in the people we hire and we are committed to making that a reality. I see proof everyday that happy employees equal happy customers and therefore we have a training and management style that empowers employees which leads to their happiness.

The next quote is especially important in our business. "A successful business must never lose its focus on its customers and its standards. When an issue turns up, a company’s response can have a big impact on its reputation and its long-term success."

Because we provide safety and security, we can never "take it easy" and get back to a customer's request on our own time. We know that people need their security systems to work and when they don't work, we know it's our job to get them working again as soon as possible. Extremely long hold times and unanswered emails and voice mails leave a customer that has a malfunctioning system wondering what they are paying for each month. Alarm companies that hide behind contracts can get away with slow customer response but at Alarm Grid, where our customers can choose another company at any time, we treat every email or phone call as another chance to prove our dedication to customer service so that our client's will never need to look for another company again.

The fourth quote was “In business, creating a favorable impression at the first point of customer contact is an absolute imperative. Though everyone knows this, many companies still only manage to do a mediocre job at best."

“But what isn’t widely understood is… the customer’s second impression of the brand can be even more important than his first. The second interaction a customer has with your business usually involves something that has gone wrong — they’re having trouble using the product or service. Handled correctly, this is a situation in which a company can create a very positive impression. Sadly, it’s where things often go terribly wrong.”

I couldn't agree more with this idea. I see everyday how executing on this critical point leaves a favorable impression with customers. We do always look to wow our first time callers with our expert alarm knowledge and, more often than not, that is the reason people credit when they are asked why they chose Alarm Grid. However, signing up new clients is only half the battle for us since we don't use contracts. Making sure our customers stay customers takes much more time and effort. But, just like I said before, we believe that every time there is an issue with your alarm system, it's really just another chance to remind you why you chose us in the first place.

Sir Branson's final quote was “Look, I think that when we started Virgin Atlantic 30 years ago, we had one 747 competing with the airlines that had an average of 300 planes each. Every single one of those have gone bankrupt because they didn’t have customer service. They had might, but they didn’t have customer service, so customer service is everything in the end.”

There are thousands of alarm companies to chose from. We don't wish bankruptcy on any of them but we do know that the only way to ever stand at the top of the mountain is to consistently bowl our customers over with a higher level of customer service than they have ever experienced. Not just compared with other alarm companies, which happens to be fairly easy to do, but compared with ANY company.

If you haven't experienced Alarm Grid yet, we invite you to give us a call today at 888-818-7728 so that you can find out what it's like to be treated by a company that truly cares. For those that have worked with us already, we pledge that the service that won you over originally is ready for you the next time you need us!


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One of the problems with installing a system that has been designed to be put in by a professional is that sometimes, the company assumes you have certain tools that you probably don't have lying around. The L5100, our most popular wireless security system, for example comes with a 300-04705 transformer, but it doesn't come with any of the necessary wiring.

We do everything we can to explain in detail what's in each box we send, but sometimes, there is a little bit that gets lost in translation. So if you're getting ready to install a Honeywell L5100, we just wanted to make sure that you remembered to get the on thing that will save you from having to make a trip to a hardware store. The LT-Cable will make your installation a breeze, and you won't regret getting it.

In our installation video of the L5100, you can see just how much easier the LT Cable makes installation:



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A security system with just a control panel won't get you very far. That's why we're happy to answer Jordan's question in this week's Ask Sterling - how do you add a sensor to a Honeywell L5100 control panel?

On this week's installment we use a Honeywell 5811, a thin door and window sensor, as our sample sensor as we show you how to learn the device to the Honeywell LYNX Touch 5100.

So get your installer code ready and watch the following Ask Sterling video to learn how to add your sensors to your Honeywell L5100 control panel:


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This week's question comes from John in Nebraska and he wants to know how to turn chime mode on and off on his Honeywell L5100 Control Panel.

Like many users, we all initially love the alerts our Honeywell LYNX Touch L5100 gives us whenever a zone is triggered.

However, after months of living with someone with a different schedule, you may wish to disable the chimes the L5100 products, especially if it's close to your bedroom or home office.

Watch our video and learn how to easily turn your Honeywell L5100 on and off in our latest Ask Sterling segment:


As always, please send us your questions or ask below in the comments and we'll feature your question in the blog!

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If you are just beginning the process of looking for an alarm system, answer these really simple questions, and you'll be well on your way to finding what works for you.

1) Do you want a wired or wireless alarm system?

Honeywell L5100

We highly recommend going wireless. Our two biggest selling wireless systems are the L5100 and the L3000. Both of these systems are great. The only differences between them really, is that the L5100 has a beautiful touchscreen that the L3000 does not and the L5100 can be used as a home automation controller as well as a security system.

On the wired side, our best selling units are the VISTA 21iP and the VISTA 20P. The difference between these two systems is that the 21iP has a built-in IP module, and the 20P requires that you purchase one (the 7847i) separately. After you've done your research, if you are excited about the VISTA panels, but like the benefits that a wireless system can offer you, you can add a 6160RF keypad with integrated wireless receiver to your VISTA panel and turn it into a wireless system.

2) How many doors and windows do you want to protect?

Honeywell 5811Honeywell 5816

If you need three or more door and window sensors, and you have decided that a wireless system is for you, check out our L5100PK and L3000PK. They are the most cost-efficient way to get the sensors and system you want. If you need additional sensors, you can add more 5816s or 5811s. The 5816s are thick and boxy, the 5811s are thin like a wafer. Both are good, but we a lot of users prefer the look of the 5811s.

If you want wired door and window sensors, we have tons of those. Look through our selection, and pick the ones that you like best. They all work well, and each of them perform a slightly different function.

3) How many motion sensors do you need?

Honeywell 5800PIR-RES

A lot of people do not install motion sensors. They are a good way to add an extra layer of protection, but oftentimes, the door and window sensors are good enough. If you just need one motion sensor, the kits I wrote about earlier are great. If you need more, the kit is still good, but you'll need to grab some more 5800PIR-RES motion detectors individually.

4) What kind of communication do you want your panel to use?

If you add alarm monitoring to your system, when a sensor is tripped, your security panel will send a signal somewhere. Now, if you have Total Connect service, it will go to AlarmNet and send you an email and / or a text. If you are connected to a central station, it will also go there.

How does the signal get from your panel to the central station or AlarmNet?

Good question. The signal can be delivered in three basic ways. First, you can have your system use your land line to report the alarm signals to the central station. All Honeywell systems, wireless and wired, have a built-in phone dialer so nothing additional is needed. That said, no one has a traditional phone line anymore. Also, you can't get Total Connect using a phone line. Therefore, other communication pathways are more popular. If you don't want to use the phone line, the most popular communication pathway is over the internet. While the L5100 can be hooked up through ethernet with the iLP5 module, the more common way to hook up an L5100 to the internet is by using the L5100-WIFI module. The L3000 needs the 7847i-L for internet monitoring and the VISTA panels use the similarly named, but very different 7847i. The L3000 and VISTA panels do not have a WIFI option and require an Ethernet cord to be strung to the router. The final communication pathway is over cell towers. Basically, when you purchase one of Alarm Grid's monitoring plans that include Cellular Communications, you are buying an AT&T cell phone plan for your system. We handle the SIM card activation and billing so you don't have to worry about a separate cell phone bill. Your system will then send out a signal using the wireless GSM network (which is often regarded as the most reliable pathway). The L5100 requires a GSMVLP5-4G to accomplish this, the L3000 needs a GSMVLP4G installed, and the VISTA panels need either the GSMV4G or the GSMX4G (see our FAQ on these communicators if you want to understand the difference between the two), unless it is a VISTA 21iP which requires the VISTA-GSM4G.

It may come as a surprise for anyone who is just starting their search, but those are really the four basic questions you need to ask yourself. Once you have taken inventory of your door and window sensors, motion sensor needs, whether you want your system to be wired or wireless, and what sort of communication pathway you think sounds most attractive give us a call or chat with us. We'd love to help you.


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This week's question comes from Jeanine in Kentucky and is a great one! Jeanine wants to know how to bypass a zone on her Honeywell L5100 alarm panel.

There's a variety of reasons why you would need to bypass a zone, such as a faulty or broken sensor, and bypassing allows you to still arm the rest of your system.

Ordinarily, the Honeywell LYNX Touch 5100 will not let you arm the system if it detects a faulted zone.

With this trick, you'll be able to temporarily disable the trouble zones or sensors when arming the system.

Just watch the following video to learn this useful skill next time you're having temporary RF signal strength or battery issues:


As always, please send any of your own questions to support@alarmgrid.com and we'll try to answer yours on the blog!

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The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, officially made Enhanced Call Verification a state law on May 6th of this year making John Loud a very happy man. John Loud is the president of Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association and he has been working for years to make ECV mandatory in Georgia.

Enhanced call verification requires all central stations to make at least two phone calls to the customer before dispatching authorities on an alarm received. ECV practices have been proven to greatly reduce false alarms and therefore many alarm industry associations including the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC) work hard to get more municipalities to enact ECV.

While Florida, Delaware, Tennessee and Virginia have already enacted ECV laws, Georgia had seen some resistance to the proposed change. The state's Fire Marshall Office was worried that ECV would slow down response for fire alarms, where every second counts, but that issue was addressed in the new law HB 59. The law makes exceptions for fire alarms, panic alarms and duress alarms so that two calls are not required with those types of emergencies.

The Georgia law enforcement agencies know first hand how much time and resources are wasted responding to false alarms so they were another big proponent to the ECV law getting passed. The whole idea behind ECV is that the central stations are helping to filter out the vast majority of false alarms so that the police are only sent out on real alarms.

Here at Alarm Grid, we suggest all customers have us make two verification calls before dispatching but we will be working with our Georgia customers in the next few weeks to make sure everyone will be compliant with the new law by the time it goes into effect on July 1st.

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So we spent a few days in the middle of Washington DC at SpreeConf 2013!

Spree is the program that we have built our entire store on, and we got to spend a few days with the incredible development team. During the conference, we gave a little 5 minute presentation discussing how to make your Spree store search friendly. Here's the presentation:

If you're one of the developers who attended the conference, and you find this useful, we'd love a link. Other than that, feel free to embed it or do anything you want.

If you're an alarm monitoring (or alarm product) consumer who found your way to our site, you might have noticed that we show up everywhere in search. We have accomplished this in two ways: 1) We have designed a system that makes sure that you get all the useful information you need in a very simple, quick way whether you search for it on our site or you go to Google/Bing/Yahoo to find your content. 2) We produce as much useful content both on and off-site as we possibly can. If you are a small business owner, the principles in this power point apply to you. So, take what you can from it.

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Alarm Grid's YouTube channel has hit a huge milestone this week. Now, with just a hair short of sixty subscribers (we know it's still not that many), the channel itself served its 50,000 minute of video this week. Simply put, users have watched nearly 32 days worth of installation videos and instructionals since we launched the channel back in August. It's growing fast too, more than half of those minutes watched came in the last two months. Since our last slough of videos, viewership has shot up, and visitors to the channel are increasing the number of minutes we serve per day by incredible amounts watching just under 1,000 minutes of Alarm Grid footage each day.

YouTube

So we want to thank all of you for watching our videos, and we hope that you continue to get great use out of them. 

In the meantime, we'd love if you subscribed to the YouTube channel. We love watching numbers go up.

Below are the 4 most most watched videos on our channel ordered from most wasted time spent watching it to least:




 

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The latest question to come to our Ask Sterling column comes from Gary in North Carolina. Gary wants to know how to change the default installer code on his Honeywell L5100.

We absolutely recommend changing the default installer code on your Honeywell Lynx Touch L5100 because all panels ship from Honeywell with a default of 4112.

The last thing you want is someone to be able to use that installer code to start messing around with your system.

So thank you Gary for asking this very important question. Watch our video below or read our FAQ on changing the default installer code on your Honeywell L5100 and be sure and change yours today for your family's security!


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