NACC branches out to grow revenues

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Saturday, May 1, 2004

IRVINE, Calif. - Having made inroads into third-party monitoring and interactive video monitoring services, National Alarm Computer Center has added a Message Center service to allow dealers and others to focus on their business without worrying about missing calls.

Steve Baker, NACC’s president, said because the nature of dealers’ businesses requires them to be out of their home bases making sales calls or installing systems, a lot of their incoming phone calls and e-mails result in a backlog of work once they return home or to the office.

“A dealer can spend half a day just returning phone calls that he got while he was out doing an install,” Baker said. “And a lot of people will just hang up and move on to another company if they don’t get a live person answering the phone.”

The service is part of NACC’s “More Than Monitoring” focus, which also includes interactive video monitoring, two-way voice and funding, among other services.

The company started Message Center in October 2003 with a beta test of seven dealers. NACC launched the program in January, and currently, there are 17 dealers who are participating in the program. The response from dealers helped the company identify growth markets and opportunities for the service, which led NACC to return the program to beta status in March to further test the service and implement and evaluate new features in the software.

In May or June, NACC plans to return the service to live operating mode, and by year’s end, with the help of an aggressive marketing plan, the company hopes to have 100 dealers using the service.

NACC offers a number of options for answering calls for its customers, Baker said. Dealers can opt for customized greetings specific to their businesses, voice-assisted transfers and reporting services. NACC will also serve as an
after-hours answering service and answer e-mail for its customers

However, Baker said, NACC is not just offering the service to dealers. The company is promoting Message Center to non-security-related companies. Baker said often this can be a “foot in the door” for selling monitoring services or providing leads to dealers.

Offering add-on services like the Message Center makes sense for monitoring companies, Baker said. With competition for customers increasing, companies must be willing to step outside their core areas of business and offer these additional services as a means of growing revenues.

“You really have to be a full-service provider, which is what we consider ourselves,” Baker said.

Baker said the Message Center has also helped streamline communication for both customers and NACC by eliminating the need for duplicate service and other calls to both dealers and NACC.