Letter from a customer to her former security company ….

Recently, we obtained a new customer. She used to be with a national company and all was well —-until she needed service:

Dear “National Company”

As discussed with the representative, my reason for termination (after 5 years as a customer) is excessive fees and poor customer service. My alarm system was malfunctioning, and after several calls with “National Company”, it was determined that the system required a new battery. I was told that the charge to come to my house and replace it would be $150 and that I could not replace the battery myself. $150 to replace a battery? How utterly absurd. I went down the street to Cunningham Security (3 blocks from my house) and they replaced the battery.

Cunningham was cooperative, polite and helpful. The people I spoke with on the phone at “National Company” were rude and dismissive.  With Cunningham, there is no “truck fee” when coming to make a service call. They are offering me the same level of monitoring for significantly less each month. They are local. But most of all, they make me feel like a valued customer.

To be frank, the most attention I have received from “National Company” is after I decided to terminate. Having run several businesses, I would respectfully observe that perhaps you should put a bit more effort into your relationship with your customer before they come to this point. I called 3 or 4 times to see if there was another way to resolve replacing a battery at a more reasonable cost. I was met with rigid inflexibility and a complete lack of empathy.

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This customer wanted us to have this letter and we want to share it with you.  We want to ensure that you know that customer service is our number one goal. We want to hear from you as your input matters!

Low temperatures…. and lessons learned.

Our recent extremely low temperatures came with a lot of warnings, even from us.  I posted on Facebook to adjust your temperatures up a few degrees to avoid low temperature alarms or worse yet, frozen pipes.

There is so much information on how to protect your home against low temperatures and here are a few:

  • Insulate pipes in attics and crawl spaces
  • Heat tape on exposed pipes can be particularly helpful.
  • Seal leaks where cold air can come in particularly where pipes enter the home.
  • Turn a faucet on to drip to keep water moving through the pipes.

Yes, I know all the rules… Unfortunately, during the most recent cold snap, I didn’t follow all of them.  I didn’t check the insulation around pipes coming into the house.  I didn’t seal leaks where air can enter the house. I didn’t turn on the faucet to drip.  At 3 am, I discovered a frozen pipe.

I was not 100% sure what to do but I was 100% informed about what not to do!  I knew not to use a heat source that could create CO Gases.  I knew direct heat on the frozen pipe was a really bad plan and would change my day from bad to worse.  I determined the extent of the freeze and which pipes were affected. (Fortunately, only one!) Using my finest MacGyver skills, I created a way to suspend a ceramic heater 6 feet from the pipe and gently warm the area. I turned on the faucet in the kitchen.

3 hours later and multiple trips to the basement, I heard the sound of running water in the kitchen sink (and not in the basement!!) I did a happy dance, proud of my success!  Then I went to the basement, permanently sealed the air leak and left the heater on for another few hours, just in case!

Carbon Monoxide – the silent killer

Recently, in Whitefield, an 80 year old man and a 79 year old woman were found unconscious due to carbon monoxide poisoning. On Christmas Eve, a gentleman in Knox died because of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Carbon Monoxide is invisible, odorless and colorless and deadly.  According to the Nation Fire Protection Association, “During 2006-2010, an estimated 72,000 non-fire carbon monoxide incidents were reported to U.S. fire departments each year: These incidents have been increasing over time.”

These incidents are more common between the months of November and February. Most incidents (94%) occur in residential properties, with 73% in one- or two-family homes. Carbon monoxide alarms are more common in the early evening hours, peaking around 8:00 p.m. In 2008, there were an estimated 189 carbon monoxide poisoning deaths associated with the use of a consumer product in the U.S..  While some poisonings are accidental due to failure to observe safe product operation like generators, it can also come from household appliances.

According to the Center for Disease Control, “CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned by breathing it.”

How CO enters red blood cell

Ways to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning:

  • Carbon Monoxide detectors should be placed on each level and outside all sleeping areas.
  • Have your appliances inspected annually by a certified professional. 
  • Warm up your cars outside of your garage.

Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm and www.nfpa.org/CO

Cameras for everyone!

So you now have a system that reports without a phone line, that you can access online or with your phone. How about actually seeing what is happening?

With the addition of cameras, you can. No really, they are not that expensive and imagine the possibilities!

Before you leave work, you already know that the kids are home from school (and didn’t bring anyone with them) and the plow guy has been there.

Oh, this is a part time residence? One look and you know that the caretaker has been there, the weather is amazing, your boat made it through the storm, we really did get two feet of snow. A little extra peace of mind!

You can review the video from away, store video clips that you want to keep for later and check recent activity. We have interior and exterior cameras that can fit whatever situation that you can imagine!

What happens during a site review?

When a System Designer meets with you, whether to help you design a system or to discuss upgrades or options, we are going to ask a lot of questions. I promise – we are not being nosy!

We are going to look at your home and how you live in it. We bring a fresh set of eyes to your house and may identify options that you did not originally consider or even notice.  We are going to figure out how you want your system to work or what you want it to do.

How can I be prepared for a site review?

Come up with a wish list.  We can always create a proposal with every one of your wish list items and you can decide what you want and don’t want.

Wish list items