One of the biggest challenges that Affiliated faces in our monitoring center today has to do with something so basic yet critical: people on the emergency contact list ignoring the calls from our monitoring agents during an alarm situation.
When there is an alarm event, our monitoring agents immediately place calls to the premises where the alarm occurred, to people listed on the account emergency contact list, and, if necessary, to the proper local authorities.
Thanks to the proliferation of telemarketers and unwanted SPAM calls, many people won’t pick up the phone when our agents call. This means that we are unable to properly notify customers of an alarm situation, and in the event of a genuine emergency, dispatch can be delayed as our monitoring specialists wait through unanswered ring-back and voicemail greetings.
This problem is not unique to Affiliated’s experience. One survey conducted in 2019 showed that 87% of US adults “often” or “very often” ignore phone calls from businesses or numbers they do not recognize.
AlertMessage to the Rescue
When the leadership team at Affiliated noticed that it was becoming harder and harder to reach the end-users for whom we provide monitoring service, they challenged our product management and development teams to create a solution.
That solution is AlertMessage. Developed and offered exclusively by Affiliated, AlertMessage is a powerful tool that enables our dealer partners to offer instant text message notification, alarm cancellation and verification capability, and emergency contact list group chat to their end-users with no special software or equipment required.
When an alarm condition occurs, AlertMessage instantly notifies members of the alarm system’s emergency contact list via a SMS text message. This text message includes a link to a web-based application that allows the recipient to chat with other members of the emergency contact list, so they can cooperatively ascertain what has happened and decide on the best course of action. End-users can cancel or verify alarms through AlertMessage.
Message recipients can also call or text other members of the contact list directly with a single touch of an in-app button without having to look up or know their phone number. As additional alarm signals are received, or first responders are dispatched, the group chat is updated in real time to ensure that all participants have the up-to-the-minute information regarding the alarm event.
In the event the alarm is deemed to be false, any member of the chat can hit the “False Alarm” button. After providing their passcode, dispatch will be canceled and further phone call attempts by the monitoring center will be discontinued.
Although our monitoring agents will still place calls the “old-fashioned” way for AlertMessage-enabled customers, in many cases, we receive a false alarm response via the group chat app before we’ve even completed our first call.
Why Use AlertMessage?
The use of AlertMessage has many benefits: faster and more reliable notification to emergency contact list members, fewer false dispatches, fewer false alarm fines, and happier end-users.
The AlertMessage “False Alarm” notification feature has prevented thousands of unnecessary dispatches and eliminated the accompanying false alarm dispatch fines, saving our dealer partners and their end users hundreds of thousands of dollars collectively.
In cases where the alarm was “real,” the faster notification provided by AlertMessage has given valuable time to keyholders, allowing them to reach the premises earlier and minimize loss.
What Do End-Users Think?
The response from our dealer partners and their customers for AlertMessage has been fantastic. Our dealers who have enabled AlertMessage for their customers report near complete acceptance and enthusiasm by end-users.
When we began rolling AlertMessage out through our dealer partners, we had some concerns that there would be a segment of users who couldn’t or wouldn’t use text messages or the web-based application. As it turns out, the number of users who wanted AlertMessage disabled is vanishingly small. Instead, our dealers have all told us that the feedback they are getting is very positive. The only question they often get from their customers is “Why did it take so long to switch from phone calls to text messages?”
In fact, a handful of our partners have noted that their roll-out of AlertMessage was so successful that they attribute a reduction in their account attrition rate to the service.
How About PERS?
Once we successfully tackled the development of AlertMessage, we turned our focus to our PERS monitoring solution and modified AlertMessage to meet the specific requirements of PERS customers and partners.
CareAlert Priority Group Chat is the PERS counterpart of AlertMessage, offering many of the same capabilities (text messaging, group chat, and direct contact call/text), while adding a PERS specific tool—the “On My Way” button.
When caregivers, loved ones, or neighbors are notified about a PERS activation via CareAlert, someone who can render assistance quickly can hit the ‘On My Way’ button in the web chat applet to let everyone know that they will head to location of the event immediately.
Will These Services Work With My Equipment?
Both AlertMessage and CareAlert are completely end-user hardware agnostic. No matter the security panel or PERS equipment manufacturer at the customer location, these products can be easily and quickly rolled out to a partner’s customers.
Ready to Get Set Up?
Our dedicated team of account managers would be happy to speak with you. If you are an existing Affiliated dealer, they can quickly get your customers set up on AlertMessage or CareAlert. If you are not yet an Affiliated partner, find out how easily you can transfer your business and gain the benefits of AlertMessage by contacting us at (800) 296-9000 or click here to submit an online form.
Update: Affiliated’s AlertMessage and CareAlert services were recognized by the 2020 TMA/SSI Monitoring Technology Marvel Award! Read the announcement from Security Sales & Integration.