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Follow up to lawsuit against central station for calling old Call Numbers - updating Call List policy

August 3, 2021
Follow up to lawsuit against central station for calling old Call Numbers - updating Call List policy from July 20, 2021
            I appreciate these email newsletters. Emergency24 is pleased to report that no amended complaint was filed by Watts and that this rather frivolous matter has been dismissed with prejudice. Thus, the litigation is permanently over.
   Best regards,
Steve Mayer, VP of Operations and Administration
Emergency 24
Des Plaines, IL 
another comment - stay in touch with your customers
     It is my opinion that alarm companies that sell/install and or take over an alarm system need/should/MUST stay in contact with the subscriber at least once per year for this very reason.  In my past experience, (as an ADT salesperson) I would usually call on an anniversary date SPECIFICALLY to update contact numbers, discuss any issues, order possible add ons, etc.. If nothing new, at least the subscriber appreciated the verbal check-in.  I received many compliments of appreciation for providing such important customer service.  Please note, that prior to my call, I would reference their alarm history (if any) and look for line interruptions like NO MONTHLY TIMER TEST received.
      Some customers were surprised who was still on their call list and, that their employees (or other family members) never told them about the false alarm(s)!  So, the person Watts needs to sue is his employer, who never updated his call list.  Let the employer take it up with his alarm salesperson/manager for not staying in contact.  
   Retired Security Consultant, 
Cynthia Hart 
            Good news.  I agree that the class action, surely aggravating and costly to defend, was frivolous for a number of reasons, including the fact that auto-robo calling was not used and I doubt it would be possible to figure out who belonged in the "class".  Damages would also be quite speculative.
            But, the case does raise important lessons for the alarm industry for both central station and even more so for dealers.  Among the several issues I believe that the most compelling is that updating the Call List is the perfect opportunity to communicate with your subscribers.  We should be able to agree that more, rather than less, communication with subscribers is a preferable way to conduct business and retain customer satisfaction, loyalty and continued relations.  The alternative business theory, leave well enough alone and avoid customers current in their payments alone is like sticking you head in the sand; a business model based on "hope" is a poor strategy.  [trust me, I know - it's my strategy for buying stocks and I guess I don't have to tell you how that works out for me]
            Contacting subscribers for "free survey", "inspection" when the system is already working or other contrived reasons to contact the customer may all be perceived as sales attempts that will end up costing the customer more money.  But reaching out to update phone numbers seems like a perfectly legitimate effort on your part to assist the customer to facilitate alarm signal verification and response and avoid false alarms, saving the customer money; something they should appreciate.
            Why is communication with your subscribers important for business?  Because you rely on your customer base to refer business to you.  You probably have this experience more than I do, but it is so common for me to be in a conversation and ask "who is your alarm company" only to be looking at a blank face because a good percentage of people don't know the name of their alarm company, and I am not talking about the central station, because almost no customer knows who that is unless it's also the installing and servicing company.  Obviously you're not going to convert every customer into a promoter for your business, but if they can't even remember your name that source of referral business isn't promising.  Sending out a letter requesting an updated Call List once a year is certainly less time consuming and costly than a monthly [or daily] newsletter; it's the least you can do.
            It would be interesting to know how many Call List numbers are actually stale.  One defense case comes to mind.  Fire signal came in, Call List had one number, a superintendent for the building, and the number turned out to be one that was not used; never picked up.  Building suffered serious damage and people were injured.  [Relax, of course I got the alarm company off the hook]
            Implement a policy of updating the Call List at least annually.  It's a great policy with no downside.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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