I read your post on April 5, 2016 about the summer (door knocker) program sales companies that will soon be in the marketplace.  While it is true that some of the salespeople from these companies use deception to sell, many of the companies honestly and ethically exploit the fact that traditional companies may be taking their customers for granted.  I speak at (and attend) 50 - 60 local alarm association meetings each year and every June or July, I hear the owners of traditional companies begin complaining about losing customers to summer programs.  What can you do to protect your account base?

  • First and foremost, understand that no monitoring agreement, even Ken's, gives you lifetime "ownership" of the customer.  While an enforceable agreement is your best protection it is a two way street and, contract or not, you have to work to keep your customers.
  • Don't take your customers for granted.  The honest, ethical (and there are plenty out there) summer programs succeed by educating the customer regarding features and benefits that their systems offer, that many traditional companies could offer, but do not. 
  • Communicate with your customers.  Instead of simply sending them a bill each month, reach out to them (right now, not in July or August when we are two months into summer and the summer programs are sweeping through your town) with a newsletter that lets them know that you care.  Use the newsletter to educate them about some of the same features and benefits that the summer program guys are selling and let them know that you can provide them as well (of course for additional RMR, wait… you can charge more???, sure, the summer programs are signing up customers by charging more).  Look at this as an opportunity to better serve your customers and increase the value of your company.
  • Educate your customers, either use the newsletter above, or a separate card or letter inserted into their April or May bill, to let them know that you are their trusted alarm company and remind them of all that you do for them.  Explain that your employees never call on them without an appointment, you haven't sold or merged, and that their equipment (and your central station) works just fine.  Let them know that anyone who may falsely claim to be from your company is an imposter and give them a number to call.  Also, and most importantly, let them know that if they need training, service, or additional features, you are glad to help them and that you are just a phone call away. 
  • Show them some love along with your monitoring bill.

    Do these things and do them now.  Don't take your customers for granted.
Mitch Reitman
Reitman Consulting Group
5408 Woodway Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76133
    We created a mailer several years ago but still distribute a similar message using Constant Contact email.  It’s just another way to stay in touch and in front of YOUR customers.  We let our customers know that door knockers

  • use high pressure sales tactics
  • offer new systems that can't be monitored by other companies
  • offer little to no service or help when problems arise
  • try to obtain your credit card or bank information
  • lock you into long term contracts so you should read the fine print
  • are usually part time summer employees who know little aobut securing your loved ones and valuables

    We also suggest that our customers contact the Better Business Bureau to check out the reputation of the door knocker company and if they feel threatened to call the police.
    Door Knockers work geographically – some years are worse than others.
    This is also where the 3 day right to cancel law comes in to play. However, most customers don’t even think about it until it’s too late.
Simply put… “If it sounds too good to be true…It probably is!”
Janet Stone,  Partner
Protection Concepts
    With regard to "Who's knocking"
    Every industry has someone knocking on doors offering to perform a service at a price that's too good to be true.  Driveway sealing, lawn weed control and roof repair to name a few.  It just took a little longer for this practice to invade our industry.  If your company and customer base is built upon being the cheapest guy in town, you have a base that will jump ship for any reason.  If your base is built upon both a quality product and service, few if any will leave, even when enticed with a lower price.
John W. Yusza, Jr
    In Oklahoma we’ve been able to convince our governing government to spend some of the money we give them on Public Service Announcements.   Although we’d like more input into the content, the PSAs basically convey the fact that licenses are needed.   We also pursue the ‘summer crew’ that come into town to enforce licensing.  That has succeeded somewhat as the crowds at the licensing office are awesome to behold as the summer starts.  All these young men with nothing better to do with the life.
Zeke Lay
Oklahoma City, OK