I-support, video monitoring to fuel NMC’s growth in ‘04

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Thursday, January 1, 2004

I-support, video monitoring to fuel NMC’s growth in ‘04ALISA VIEJO, Calif. - Two years into its run, National Monitoring Center continues to find ways to reinvent itself and provide new levels of service to its existing client base and attract new customers at the same time.

Currently, NMC monitors more than 60,000 accounts nationwide, and Schubert said 2004 could be a big year in terms of growth for the company, thanks in large part to consolidation within the industry.

“We anticipate 2004 almost being a lot like 2002 when we started because of high growth because there’s a lot of consolidation and changes going on in our side of the market,” he said.

In 2004, the company will offer its dealers a new Internet-based support feature to allow them to contact the company and have their questions, concerns, observations and so forth automatically routed to the appropriate person.

This new I-support offering is part of NMC’s commitment to working “smarter, not harder” for its customers and dealers, said Michael Schubert, president and co-founder of NMC.

“Ultimately, what we’re talking about is another communication path. It’s not always dialing the manager or dialing a particular person within the company,” he said. “Everyone wants to be more efficient in how they do business, and that’s really what that’s used for.”

I-support, which will be available in early 2004, can also be used for tracking purposes, Schubert said, allowing dealers to monitor the progress of their e-mail to the company and see whether their issue has been addressed.

“If someone wants to run an idea by me as the president of the company, they can send that e-mail and it gives the client a tracking number,” he said. “It also gives them a separate account to where they can go into and track all these issues or comments that are sent out to NMC and it quantifies them for the client. It’s just like any software company where you can track what’s going on between you and the company.”

The tracking feature is also a benefit on the NMC side of things, Schubert said.

“I can make sure the communication is nice and tight throughout the company,” he said.

While NMC will push the availability of I-support, Schubert said it is not intended to replace the company’s traditional openness with its customers, who can reach executives via cell phone at almost any hour of the day.

“I think the main emphasis behind this is to provide all forms of communication to our clients,” he said.

Another key move for NMC in the New Year, according to Schubert, is the movement into more video monitoring, which he said has been done incompletely throughout the industry.

“One of the technologies that we’ve been toying around with is video technology. As far as we can see, it really hasn’t been done properly,” he said. “You take on a technology to make money, that’s the bottom line, not just to do it because everybody else does it.”

Because the company uses MAStermind software in its central station, Schubert said, the integration and control of the video will be more smooth than in the past.

That is especially important, Schubert said, because if a central station has just one or two people who do video monitoring, staffing can be a challenge, although NMC has taken some steps to reduce turnover (see related story).

“Our concept is that you can take anybody off the street with a decent attitude, train them how to use any of these technologies and they can do it. You don’t need a specialized person to do these things,” he said. “If you have a staffing problem and these specialized people aren’t here for whatever reason, who’s going to back them up?”ALISA VIEJO, Calif. - Two years into its run, National Monitoring Center continues to find ways to reinvent itself and provide new levels of service to its existing client base and attract new customers at the same time.

Currently, NMC monitors more than 60,000 accounts nationwide, and Schubert said 2004 could be a big year in terms of growth for the company, thanks in large part to consolidation within the industry.

“We anticipate 2004 almost being a lot like 2002 when we started because of high growth because there’s a lot of consolidation and changes going on in our side of the market,” he said.

In 2004, the company will offer its dealers a new Internet-based support feature to allow them to contact the company and have their questions, concerns, observations and so forth automatically routed to the appropriate person.

This new I-support offering is part of NMC’s commitment to working “smarter, not harder” for its customers and dealers, said Michael Schubert, president and co-founder of NMC.

“Ultimately, what we’re talking about is another communication path. It’s not always dialing the manager or dialing a particular person within the company,” he said. “Everyone wants to be more efficient in how they do business, and that’s really what that’s used for.”

I-support, which will be available in early 2004, can also be used for tracking purposes, Schubert said, allowing dealers to monitor the progress of their e-mail to the company and see whether their issue has been addressed.

“If someone wants to run an idea by me as the president of the company, they can send that e-mail and it gives the client a tracking number,” he said. “It also gives them a separate account to where they can go into and track all these issues or comments that are sent out to NMC and it quantifies them for the client. It’s just like any software company where you can track what’s going on between you and the company.”

The tracking feature is also a benefit on the NMC side of things, Schubert said.

“I can make sure the communication is nice and tight throughout the company,” he said.

While NMC will push the availability of I-support, Schubert said it is not intended to replace the company’s traditional openness with its customers, who can reach executives via cell phone at almost any hour of the day.

“I think the main emphasis behind this is to provide all forms of communication to our clients,” he said.

Another key move for NMC in the New Year, according to Schubert, is the movement into more video monitoring, which he said has been done incompletely throughout the industry.

“One of the technologies that we’ve been toying around with is video technology. As far as we can see, it really hasn’t been done properly,” he said. “You take on a technology to make money, that’s the bottom line, not just to do it because everybody else does it.”

Because the company uses MAStermind software in its central station, Schubert said, the integration and control of the video will be more smooth than in the past.

That is especially important, Schubert said, because if a central station has just one or two people who do video monitoring, staffing can be a challenge, although NMC has taken some steps to reduce turnover (see related story).

“Our concept is that you can take anybody off the street with a decent attitude, train them how to use any of these technologies and they can do it. You don’t need a specialized person to do these things,” he said. “If you have a staffing problem and these specialized people aren’t here for whatever reason, who’s going to back them up?”NMC’s central station features an open design to allow for future growth as the company adds more contracts.NMC’s central station features an open design to allow for future growth as the company adds more contracts.NMC’s central station features an open design to allow for future growth as the company adds more contracts.