We’ve mentioned the importance of monitoring your security system in several of our blog posts. However, almost all of us know someone who has gotten frustrated and cancelled this service. In fact, the frequency with which this happens scares many potential customers away from installing an alarm at all! In this post, we share some of the reasons why alarm owners cancel service. Additionally, we share how you can overcome these obstacles and experience effective security monitoring.
We will begin with a look at false alarm-related frustration. These events can both frighten and annoy customers. Nobody likes waking up to a blaring siren, and nobody enjoys unnecessary visits from the local authorities. From there, we will look at how communication issues lead to alarm monitoring cancellations. After all, this issue leads customers to feel they fail to receive the benefit of the service they’re purchasing. Next, we’ll dive in to security company-related issues. Poor experiences with their alarm company have led many customers to ditch their monitoring as soon as possible. Finally, we’ll see how poor alarm maintenance can lead to alarm performance issues and eventual service cancellation. Now, let’s begin by examining how false alarms can turn into customers nixing their alarm service.
Frustration Over False Alarms
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of installing a monitored alarm lies in the automated response it creates from your local police or fire department. However, this feature can quickly turn into a drawback if your security system starts sending out false alarms. These incidences can lead to embarassment and inconvenience to alarm customers. Moreover, they can even lead to wasted money due to the fines that many communities charge for excessive false alarms.
These nuisance alarms have many potential causes. Sometimes, sensors malfunction and send signals even when nothing happens to set them in motion. Other times, the alarm has a legitimate cause that customers have trouble tracking down. For example, pests and sunlight can activate motion detectors. Occasionally, your alarm panel itself can go bad and create false alarms as well. Rather than cancelling service over this issue, we recommend calling your alarm company for troubleshooting. Upgrading equipment and checking and testing sensors as needed goes a long way towards eliminating this issue. For more information, see our recent post on False Alarm Causes and Solutions! Now, let’s see how bad alarm communication can make alarm owners cancel service.
Inconsistent Central Station Communication
The biggest obstacle to effective alarm monitoring often lies in the communication path between a security system itself and the central station in charge of monitoring your alarm. Many customers create this communication using their home or business’s phone line. Unfortunately, this does not always create a consistent form of monitoring. Inconsistent monitoring often leads to service cancellation, as customers get frustrated with not receiving the service they’re paying for.
For starters, many people use “bundled” phone service rather than phones connected to local phone lines. This service goes by the term “Voice Over Internet Protocol,” or “VoIP.” You may remmeber this from our post explaining why VoIP is a Poor Choice for Alarm Systems. As we pointed out there, this internet-based phone service does not provide reliable alarm monitoring. Internet traffic is an unpredictable and volatile communication path. This fact can lead to minor inconveniences during phone calls. More importantly, it can cause alarm signals to get scrambled or dropped during transmission to our central station. For this reason, we do not recommend connecting alarms to cable-company based telephone service. Additionally, phone lines often get cut by burglars before a break-in. Regardless of your service provider, this also will generally prevent your alarm from calling for help.
Our preferred method of communication involves installing a cellular dialer for monitoring. This creates a dedicated connection between your alarm and our central station. Furthermore, thieves cannot do anything to keep cellularly monitored alarms from dialing out. Next, let’s see how choosing the wrong security provider can lead many to give up on alarm service altogether.
Dealing with a Difficult Security Provider
As we pointed out in our post on Choosing the Right Security Provider, finding a good alarm company proves difficult for many customers. Part of the reason lies in the nature of the industry. The sheer amount of equipment and monitoring options can make designing the right alarm difficult. For this reason, we recommend working with a local company such as ourselves that provides complementary system design help and takes the time to give you different options and fully explain them.
Unfortunately, working with the wrong company can provide a major headache. Many alarm owners cancel service when they get annoyed with their security provider. Sometimes this happens when a system malfunctions and customers have a difficult time reaching the installing company and getting equipment fixed and replaced as needed.
Additionally, some alarm companies use poor business practices to maximize profits. For example, some companies require long-term monitoring contracts with steeply expanding rates. This differs greatly from our own month-t0-month contract policy. Since we rely on happy customers, we give customers the ability to cancel monitoring at any time, for any reason. However, many alarm companies do not have the same policy. For this reason, many unhappy customers cancel their monitoring as soon as their multi-year contract term ends. Let’s take a look at one more major reason alarm owners cancel service.
Falling Behind in Alarm Maintenance
As with many electronic devices, alarms require occasional maintenance to ensure proper performance. Unfortunately, diagnosing and addressing these issues can prove difficult. For starters, alarm “language” does not come easily for those outside of the industry. Therefore, even understanding what your alarm needs when it displays trouble signals can create a challenge. Moreover, electronic issues often come and go for a period of time before they “stick” for good. This can lead to additional frustration, as customers cannot call their alarm company at their will to interpret their alarm’s issue. Instead, they must wait for their intermittent issue to come back so they can relay the alarm’s messages and have it translated at that time. Over time, these issues can add up to the point where customers stop arming their security system altogether. At this point, they often cancel their alarm service out of sheer frustration.
Of course, we recommend maintaining your alarm well enough to not follow this path. Furthermore, we offer a unique service that can help you stay proactive with maintenance. Our “Gold” Service Agreement offers free replacements of any alarm parts that need replacing. Additionally, it also comes with a free annual inspection of your security system. Therefore, you can easily keep your alarm up and running without any unexpected expenses! For this reason, many customers see taking advantage of this service agreement as a no-brainer.
Overcoming Obstacles That Make Alarm Owners Cancel Service
We hope that this post has shed some light on why alarm owners cancel service. Furthermore, we hope that you will contact us with any questions you may have about the material in this post. We work with many customers to design alarm systems that fit their needs. Additionally, we offer free site surveys to both new and existing customers alike. Perhaps you have an alarm system but have had a poor experience with it up to this point. Or maybe you want to install an alarm and get it right the first time. Either we, we will be happy to work with you. Together, we can create a security plan that keeps you, your most valuable possessions, and your loved one as safe and secure as possible!
Feature Photo Credit: Alachua County on flickr. Used uder the CC BY 2.0 license. All other photos used under the CC0 Public Domain license.