Security Summit Canada 2018: examining the future of RMR and customer service
The second annual Security Summit Canada, held June 6 in Toronto, was attended by security and alarm professionals from across Canada and the U.S.
Expert speakers included Jeffrey Zwirn, President, IDS Research and Development, Inc.; John Brady, President, The Resource Group, Inc.; Saliq Khan, Vice President, Imperial Capital, LLC; and Mike Jagger, President and CEO, Provident Security Corp.
Khan got the day started with a deep dive into the state of the home automation market, including market size and growth potential, recent M&A activity, new and evolving technologies, the influx of DIY/MIY and other major trends.
Key takeaways from Khan’s presentation:
• The definitions of home automation and security itself have changed in recent years
• Knowing your customer is key (and understanding the demographics you are marketing to can help with this)
• The connected home is part of a larger ecosystem that includes smart cities
• Anticipate the needs of your business and think like an investor
Zwirn followed with the first of two presentations that shed light on key elements of the alarm industry — everything from customer contracts to forensic investigations. Zwirn presented a condensed version of his Extreme Alarm Science Boot Camp which helps companies to identify the issues that could expose them to liability and also helps to minimize their loss potential. Zwirn illustrated this methodology through a detailed series of examples and case studies.
John Brady presented a topic of keen interest to any business that relies on reccurring monthly revenue: customer attrition and how to minimize it. Measuring and understanding attrition is a science, therefore it is important to recognize the reasons why customers leave, whether that’s moving homes, choosing a competitor instead of your company, or simply not seeing a need for a regular alarm service any more. Brady argued that attrition management is a culture that should be instilled in employees, creating greater awareness of the importance of customer service. “Being proactive as opposed to reactive is where we’ve got to swing if we’ve got a professional relationship with the customer,” he said.
After a lunch break, the afternoon kicked off with a panel discussion featuring Ivan Spector, president of The Monitoring Association; Kim Caron, Director, Business Development Canada, Armstrong’s National Alarm Monitoring; Dan Marston, President, Dfendus; and Tim Saunders, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing, G4S Canada. Moderated by SP&T News editor Neil Sutton, the discussion moved back and forth between home and enterprise security, occasionally exploring how those two are related and influence each other.
One of the key issues before the panel was the challenge of appealing to all customers segments, from Millennials who are becoming homeowners to Boomers at retirement age. “I would say, ‘don’t be static — try new things,’” said Caron, “This is an exciting time.”
The day closed with a look at a Canadian success story in the security business — Mike Jagger’s journey from starting his firm, Provident Security, with a $500 credit card as a student more than 20 years ago to his current status as a business owner with more than 200 employees and a tag line that boasts five-minute response to any client’s alarm system.
Jagger described his unorthodox path to success (including some missteps along the way). He has cultivated a system where everything from snow removal to grocery pick-ups are all part of the customer service. Going above and beyond helps to keep the name Provident in his customers’ minds, he says, allowing him to maintain his monthly rates while his competitors are trying to undercut each other. As a small independent company, there’s always someone who’s willing to do it cheaper, he says. We “want to be a great little company that can do special things you can’t get anywhere else.”
Security Summit Canada was supported by G4S Canada, Alarm.com, Stanley Security, Anixter Canada, Armstrong’s National Alarm Monitoring, CDVI, Dfendus, ULC, CANASA, The Monitoring Association and Harding Security Services.
The Summit will return in 2019.