The alarm monitoring industry provides peace of mind to millions, but to ensure high-quality service, organisations must implement a range of best practices.
From embracing technological advancements to complying with quality standards, this article outlines some important considerations that every security company needs to consider.
One of the pillars of a top-tier alarm monitoring company lies in its technological prowess. Integrating state-of-the-art systems that prioritise performance, reliability, and user-friendliness is crucial, and ensures that the company can respond swiftly and effectively in emergencies. Companies should also keep on top of technological developments that may improve their monitoring processes in future.
Cloud Based Software
Leveraging the cloud allows alarm monitoring companies to store and process vast amounts of data in real-time, ensuring rapid and efficient response to alarms and events.
The scalability of cloud-based alarm monitoring systems enables these companies to easily adapt to changing workloads and expand their operations without the need for significant infrastructure investments.
In addition, the cloud provides a resilient and geographically distributed infrastructure, minimising the risk of service disruptions due to hardware failures or regional incidents.
False Alarm Reduction
Software should implement methods for reduce false alarms, and this is essential for any Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) that is looking to get certified. When machine learning is involved, the algorithms continually learn to perform better, so you know that accuracy will improve over time.
The Internet of Things
Using Internet of Things (IoT) devices within your monitoring strategy enhances the scope and efficiency of services; IP-enabled devices let organisations monitor everything from carbon monoxide levels to car park spaces, providing a robust security framework for any situation.
Modern networks enable seamless and rapid communication between alarm systems and monitoring centres. They support the quick and reliable transmission of real-time data, ensuring that alarms and security events are promptly received and processed. They also have low latency and high bandwidth, enhancing responsiveness.
In addition, the resilience and redundancy inherent in modern network architectures reduce the risk of communication failures, ensuring continuous connectivity.
It’s going to be vital to review this element of your technological infrastructure in the very near future as PSTN will be replaced in the UK by 2025.
To guarantee the consistent delivery of high-quality services, alarm monitoring companies must implement robust quality assurance systems involving regular performance reviews and system checks; these are essential for ensuring that all security systems function optimally and that the company remains compliant with regulations.
Feedback mechanisms, both internal and external, provide valuable insights into areas that need improvement. In addition, having a dedicated quality assurance team can help in maintaining high standards of service delivery.
In a recent article, we spoke about the different standards that Alarm Receiving Centres and other companies in the security industry must comply with.
Every organisation should be familiar with ISO 9001 for quality management systems (QMS). This international standard is one of the most widely recognised and implemented globally – in fact, there are around 2.1 million ISO 9001 certified companies worldwide.
Compliance with this standard is a must for any company that wants to demonstrate the quality of their services, and it’s a requirement for ARC certification.
Principles of ISO 9001
Key principles and elements of ISO 9001 include:
• A strong customer focus: Customer satisfaction is a central tenet of the standard and organisations must understand and meet customer needs and expectations.
• Leadership: Leadership commitment is crucial for the effectiveness of the quality management system. Top management is expected to provide direction, set policies, and ensure the availability of necessary resources.
• Engagement of people: Involving and empowering employees is essential for the success of a QMS. Competent, motivated, and engaged personnel contribute to the achievement of organisational objectives.
• Process approach: ISO 9001 encourages organisations to view their activities as interconnected processes and to manage them systematically to achieve desired outcomes.
• Continuous improvement: Organisations are required to continually monitor and improve their processes, products, and services.
• Evidence-based decision making: Decision-making should be based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information.
• Relationship management: Managing relationships with interested parties, including customers, suppliers, and regulators, is emphasised as part of maintaining an effective QMS.
All organisations should have in-house policy documents stating how alarms must be managed, in accordance with regulations and standards. Policies should be regularly reviewed to ensure continuous adherence.
Staff Training and Development
The calibre of an alarm monitoring company’s service largely depends on the expertise of its staff. Regular training programs are essential to keep the team updated on the latest technologies and industry best practices, while obtaining certifications from recognised bodies reinforces the staff’s skills and boosts the company’s credibility.
In fact, the criteria for ARC Gold Approval stipulates that staff must be trained and qualified in a way that’s sufficient for meeting obligations to clients. In addition, ARCs have to comply with a range of standards known as BS EN 50518, which relate to staffing levels, alarm handling performance, and other matters regarding personnel.
It’s also beneficial to administer training that covers soft skills including customer communication. Managers should also undergo continuous development. These steps help companies to uphold the quality management principles required for ISO 9001 compliance.
Customer Service and Engagement
Effective customer service is integral to success in the security industry and, again, a strong customer focus is one of the fundamental principles on which ISO 9001 is based.
In one survey, 96% of customers stated they would switch to another company due to bad customer service. Of this 96%, 27.9% said they would be extremely willing to switch, 32.7% were very willing, and 35.5% were somewhat willing.
Data from Zendesk is not as damning – but still quite damning; 73% of customers said they’d switch to a competitor after multiple bad experiences. Moreover, customer experience index ratings for B2B companies tend to be significantly lower than for B2C companies (50% vs. 65-85%).
Customers are entrusting monitoring companies with lives (including those of lone workers) and property, so they need to be assured that they are receiving the highest standards of service, another reason certification is so important.
Companies must engage with customers proactively, offering clear communication channels and personalised attention. They should also educate customers about their systems, ensuring they understand their potential and how to use them effectively.
Regular check-ins and updates about new features or services can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, and gathering regular feedback should be a priority.
Sustainability is increasingly becoming a key consideration in the industry. Adopting eco-friendly practices not only contributes to environmental preservation but also resonates with environmentally conscious clients.
To meet higher standards of sustainability, security companies can use energy-efficient systems and reduce paper usage by digitising records. Using a cloud based alarm system is another important step as it enables remote access, and some solutions enable the remote control of alarms; such measures reduce transportation requirements.
Implementing these steps helps to set a precedent in the industry for responsible and sustainable operations.
Through robust reporting and analytics capabilities, alarm monitoring software serves as a catalyst for continuous improvement (yet another ISO 9001 requirement).
These tools empower monitoring companies to extract actionable insights from vast amounts of data, allowing them to identify trends, assess the efficiency of response protocols, and pinpoint areas for development.
It’s essential to keep an eye on vital monitoring metrics, such as:
• Response time
• Resolution time
• False alarm rate
• Percentage of actionable alarms
• Percentage of alarms escalated
• The top 10 most frequent alarms
• Compliance metrics
• Other industry-specific alarms (i.e., cybersecurity alerts in data centres)
Having reporting tools built into your alarm monitoring software makes it easy to stay on top of this data.
Adhering to best practices in alarm monitoring is a multifaceted endeavour; it involves leveraging technology, ensuring staff are suitably trained (technically and service-wise), and ensuring continuous adherence to quality standards.
We provide world class software to high profile security organisations – and a range of services to help our customers get the most out of it, including operator training.
Witness first-hand how we can help you establish excellence and reliability – contact ustoday to book a demo.