We all want to have the "best." Especially when it comes to the safety and security of our homes and families. If you are like me (an unofficial Google aficionado), you’ll start with an internet search: “What are the best security companies?" Some of the top search results you’ll see are websites that claim to compare and rank the best security companies. This seems like a good place to start. However, if you dig a little deeper you’ll often find the fine print on these sites state that companies pay money to be included on these lists. So, they aren’t really what they appear to be -- an independent, unbiased source of who is the best.
“HomeSecuritySystems.net receives advertising compensation from companies listed on this page. Such compensation impacts the location and order in which such companies appear on this page…”
“…We sometimes offer premium or additional placements on our website and in our marketing materials to our advertising partners. Partners may influence their position on our website, including the order in which they appear on a Top 10 list.”
So, if you can’t trust these biased, pay-to-play review sites, then how can you tell what really is the "BEST?"
This month, we’ll be focusing on three key areas that, in our opinion, separate the best, from the rest: Monitoring, Technology, and Customer Service. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at Monitoring.
Certifications: A quick eyeball test of a good monitoring center is to check for these logos:
If you want the best, always be on the lookout for monitoring centers that are certified by independent organizations who specialize in security and fire monitoring. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) rated monitoring centers are rigorously tested to ensure they meet some of the highest standards in the security industry. Additionally, look for The Monitoring Association Five Diamond certification, or FM Approval, when trying to separate “the best” from the rest. These are quick ways to weed out the imposters.
TYPES OF MONITORING:
- MIY: MIY stands for Monitor-It-Yourself. These types of systems are commonly referred to as DIY systems. You can buy them at big box stores, install the system yourself, and they won't break the bank. However, unless you are available to monitor all alerts and notify the police during meetings, vacations, and at all hours of the day and night, this may not be the best route for you. Fortunately, professionally monitored systems are just as easy and affordable to set up and maintain.
- 3rd Party Monitoring: You may not realize that a lot of security companies sell off your information to a 3rd party monitoring center. While these giant monitoring centers are typically certified and have qualified and trained operators – they serve as middlemen between your security company and you. You are just a number on a screen to them. If there is an issue with your account or system, you could spend a lot of time listening to hold music or being transferred from representative to representative. If speedy and readily available customer service is important to you, this is definitely something to watch out for.
- Private Monitoring: The "best" companies will own and operate their own private monitoring centers. Your account information stays securely within the company and you won't be traded back and forth between representatives. Private monitoring centers tend to provide the highest quality customer service experience because every issue can be taken care of "in house."
IF YOU WANT THE BEST:
- Don’t bother with monitoring-it-yourself unless you can be available 24/7/365. Let someone else keep watch and protect your family while you are out living life.
- Look for a privately owned monitoring center where you are not just a number on a screen. When your system is monitored by the same company that sells, installs and services your account, you can expect quick response times and quick resolutions to any concerns or issues you may have.
- Check that the monitoring center is UL-listed, and is Five-Diamond certified or FM approved.
- Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions of any security company you are considering doing business with – this is an important investment. Ask them all about how they monitor your system, if they outsource, and what certifications they hold.
What do you all think separates “the best” security companies from the rest? We’d love to hear in the comments below.
Check back soon for Part 2 on finding the best security company as we talk about Customer Service.