Design matters at Vivint’s new monitoring center

Dixon: Center is built to benefit employees and the bottom line
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

EAGAN, Minn.—Featuring natural light, an expanded cafeteria with free food and a pond where employees can go fishing during breaks, Vivint’s new monitoring center is loaded with employee-pleasing amenities that translate into increased productivity and profits for the company, according to Steve Dixon, Vivint’s VP of customer experience and operations.

“I think we underestimate the impact that natural light has in the workplace,” Dixon told Security Systems News.

Vivint announced Aug. 4 that it had moved its Minnesota monitoring operation to a new facility here. Vivint has had a monitoring center in Minnesota since 2009, when it acquired a central station from Protection 1. It also hired 80 Protection 1 employees at that time.

Vivint learned about the benefits of natural light by happenstance last year. The company’s customer call center, based in Lindon, Utah, had a fire in March 2014, displacing employees to a temporary facility. “There was an abundance of natural light [at the temporary facility], and suddenly, productivity improved. We saw that our customer satisfaction scores were improving.” In addition, the average time of customer services calls decreased, as did employee attrition, while employee attendance increased, Dixon said.

Vivint decided to ensure its new building here included natural light.

In addition to the free cafeteria and fishing pond, the facility has a walking trail, a game room, fitness center, picnic areas and a putting green. Employees also have their choice of free lunch at several nearby restaurants.

The new building incorporates glass doors and glass walls. “I think people being able to interact more with their managers, and feel like there’s just more visibility into what’s going on, adds to a very positive environment for our employees,” Dixon said.

“We have the same number of square feet … but we’ve been very efficient in the build-out, and we’ve gained 50 percent more capacity. So, we can actually expand the call center—expand our monitoring station—and we’ll get several more years of our anticipated growth without necessarily having to go to a new location,” Dixon said. The new location also has space for expansion, he said.

“It will definitely facilitate account growth, and specifically, we’ve been able to expand the number of central station representatives by 50 percent,” said Dixon.

The move took place during a single overnight shift, Dixon said. The monitoring center went offline at the end of an evening shift, moving signal traffic to Vivint’s other monitoring center in Provo, Utah, and the new center was brought online for the next day’s first shift, Dixon said. “We haven’t had a single hiccup in the process.”

The new facility was built out to include newer equipment like computers and furniture, which made the move easier, he said.

Todd Pedersen, Vivint’s founder and CEO, appeared on CBS reality show “Undercover Boss,” and noticed that workspaces could be better equipped. He announced the new facility on the show. The episode was filmed last fall, and aired Feb. 20.

Dixon said that Vivint started considering a new facility prior to that, in August of 2014.

Construction began in February, and was “effectively done at the end of June, but … we were deliberate in not wanting to move around the Fourth of July.”