Security Systems News

JAN 2018

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www.securitysystemsnews.com January 2018 SEC ur IT y S y STEMS n EWS Monitoring 20 Continued from page 19 When experienced operators reach a high level of proficiency, the company provides rewards and perks—including days off, day trips, dinner and entertainment, according to Smith. Morgan Hertel, vice president of technology and innovation for Rapid Response, headquartered in Syracuse, N.Y., also addressed Oper A t O rs help for veteran operators. The company is well aware of an occu- pational hazard that may fall under the category of "human nature." When taking a stress call from a customer via mobile device at sea, for example, every operator knows that scripted responses get tossed overboard. An operator thinking on his or her feet and on the fly is one thing, Hertel noted. Asking for the right kind of help at the right time from the right source is another. "Everybody can't be a cowboy," Hertel said. "You have to know when it's time to say, 'I need help.'" Hertel and other supervisors stressed the importance of intense applicant screening first, then keeping new hires fresh and alert by stimulation through aggressive training. Meeting demands of the job head-on by presenting profes- sional growth challenges seems to work. Rapid Response conducts interviews, tests for personality types, drug use and background checks. The interviews follow paper, reference and test screening. The company looks for stamina and speed. Applicants get tested for intelligence and typing. After Day One, there's a month in a highly structured classrooms with a professional trainer. "If they make it through our rigorous training, they are tethered to a trainer on the floor for two or three more weeks," Hertel said. "For 90 days they are Q- and-A'd to death. ... There's constant learning." Crist of ADS struck a similar tone as he spoke about the need to address pressure that can affect rookies and veterans in different ways. "From a training perspective, we put them in a laboratory environ- ment," Crist said of inexperienced operators. Although ADS considers it on-the-job training, "We make sure they are not thrown to the wolves." Novices will witness a trained operator who is in a live envi- ronment—"It's the only way to prepare for the real thing," said Crist, noting that the newbie may begin by operating software while the trainer talks to a customer on the line. "Then they switch. Then they'll do both," he said. "We'll allow customer support specialists [ADS' preferred term for operators] to receive alarms at a lower [safety risk] level. … Alarms can range from a communications failure with an alarm panel to a silent panic alarm at a financial institution." In the latter example, the operator does not first make contact with the financial institu- tion—they must first dispatch authorities and wait. "There are action patterns that are important to adhere to. You could be jumping off script. There's a danger with someone with even five or six years of experience to go off script. You can get someone hurt that way." Newhook is emphatic about the importance of keeping veteran operators on their toes by challeng- ing them to diversify their skill set, both technologically and in terms of interpersonal communication. "Sometimes it looks like busy work," he said of the role-hopping within the company. "But some- times busy work is not bad. It can be an opportunity to use another side of the brain. Like anything else, you're seeking a balance. This is an agile environment." Training time with new and veteran operators merges technical trouble shooting with verbal/com- munications skills and assessments of the employee's level of empathy and fast decision-making. Adapting and learning is embedded into American Alarm's DNA, accord- ing to Newhook. "I've never been averse to change," Newhook said. "Fortunately, my team eats it up." "The training can be intimidat- ing at first," said COPS' Smith. "The terms and the industry as a whole are unfamiliar to new employees. So, they're not only learning new processes, they're also learning a new language and a new way of thinking." As for established operators, said Crist, "The best thing we do [to manage pressure] is that we are purposeful about helping our folks be successful in other roles in the organization. We seed talents." SSN We help security dealers build a winning 2018 roadmap with smart marketing techniques and sales strategies that convert good leads to RMR. THE SECURITY DEALER WORKSHOP THAT PUTS YOU IN THE DRIVERS SEAT. Get the tools and tactics you need to grow your sales! 1. Digital marketing: Find out how to reach new customers 2. Learn the art of focused questioning: Quickly qualify and effectively close leads 3. Evaluate your website: Is it working as hard as you are? 4. SEO: How to meta-tag your website to improve your visibility 5. 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