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Our Best Home Security Challenge For 2016

METHODOLOGY

In order to discover the the Best Home Security Company for 2016, Home Security Geeks uses “mystery shopper” techniques to research each leading national home alarm company. We called both Customer Sales, and the Customer Service departments in order to get detailed information for each of their tiered package offerings.

In addition, we do extensive online research and include Data and insights gathered from the following sources:

  • Consumer Review sites Yelp, Angie’s List, Consumer Reviews
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Industry Review Websites
  • Social Media

Our “Geek Score” takes into account and aggregates a combination of current, real customer reviews from credible review sites, along with professional editorial reviews done by security experts. Our evaluations and rankings are primarily determined by identifying the strengths and weaknesses according performance in the following areas:

  1. Customer Service
  • Speed and Quality of Response to Questions & Complaints
  • Pre and Post-Sales Support
  • General Sales Approach & Tactics
  1. Equipment
  • Reliability
  • Ease of Use
  • Underlying Technologies
  • Performance
  • Portability
  1. Cost
  • Start-up Costs
  • Financing Options
  • Contract Flexibility & Terms
  • Equipment, Installation, Activation, Monitoring
  • Warranties
  1. Features and Integrated Functionality
  • Home Automation
  • Medical Response
  • iPhone/Android App
  • Live Video

OUR TOP 3 PICKS FOR 2016:

We narrowed down the national players to the top three home security companies:

  1. FRONTPOINT SECURITY    2. PROTECT AMERICA                  3. ADT

#1 FRONTPOINT SECURITY was analyzed and ranked number 1.

(+) Outstanding customer service sets Frontpoint Security apart from competition. This is evident in their communications such as in their website and in their company pronouncements.

“At Frontpoint, our principal product is customer service.” – Aaron Shumaker, Co-Founder and CFO, Frontpoint Security (www.qlikview.com/us)

All initiatives and actions align to this customer-centric approach. The following resonate well with the market:

Frontpoint’s customer service reps take the time and effort to understand the situation and needs of customers who call in and then to thoroughly and clearly present their proposed solutions.

They take on a low-pressure sales approach. Their 30-day risk free trial offer gives prospective customers firsthand experience of the system before they finalize their purchase. No questions asked for cancellations, return shipping cost is free and a full refund is guaranteed.

Frontpoint is relentless in apologizing for, responding to and resolving all complaints called in or posted online.

The strong focus on the customer is validated by consumer and industry review sites which overwhelmingly give the company high marks.

Frontpoint is listed and accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) where it has an A+ rating. The BBB notes the home security company as highly committed to resolve customer complaints. Frontpoint Security complaints volume in BBB is the lowest in the industry (www.6webs.com/frontpoint-security-complaints).

Angie’s List has recognized Frontpoint for their exemplary service – handing the company their esteemed Super Service Award for two consecutive years, in 2015 and 2016.

In Yelp, Frontpoint gets a significant number of 5-star ratings and enjoys the highest ratio of positive to negative reviews (www.asecurelife.com). Frontpoint business managers respond to each and every individual complaint posted in the site.

Home Security Geeks’ own experience with Frontpoint customer service rep Harris through 1-855-808-1480 was highly-informative, non-intimidating and pleasant.

(+) Frontpoint is strategically partnered across the US with leading technology providers GE Security and Alarm.com.

GE Security is proven leader in the home security equipment industry, providing state-of-the-art alarm equipment. Frontpoint’s GE Simon XT control panel, top-rated for reliability, is their all-in-one home security system for intrusion, fire, environmental and life safety hazards.

Alarm.com is leader in interactive security and connected home technology. It is behind the wireless cellular technology in every Frontpoint alarm system.   Advanced interactive technology allows remote access, text alerts, real time video feeds and integration of home automation and energy management.

Alarm.com’s patented Crash and Smash Protection technology provides an elevated level of security for Frontpoint’s systems. It detects security system destruction, ensuring that even if an intruder is able to locate and disable a control panel in a ‘crash & smash attack’, Alarm.com will still be able to send a signal to the central station for help (www.alarm.com/crashsmash).

(+) Frontpoint is the only nationwide security company which offers 100% wireless, 100% cellular systems.  

Aside from having the aesthetic advantage, wireless is incorruptible to potential burglars as there are no cables to cut to disable the system.

Cellular technology, on the other hand, is a huge step towards constant connectivity and mobility which are market megatrends. With cellular monitoring which is standard with every plan, a secure cellular link connects the alarm system to the monitoring station. Signals are sent to the station the same way that text messages are sent. Cellular also allows communications between the security system and smart devices (part of their tier 2 and 3 plans – Interactive and Ultimate).

(+) Frontpoint’s website and customer service reps are transparent and upfront with their pricing. There are no hidden fees.

(+) Frontpoint’s wireless systems are easy to self-install.

These can be DIY-installed with no special equipment required. Sensors are peel and stick.

(+) Wireless set up makes their systems portable.  

(+) Their systems are highly-expandable given menu of sensors and devices.  

(-) Offers only a 3-year warranty on their equipment while other security companies offer lifetime.

(-) No 2-way intercom capability which is critical especially for medical emergencies.

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#2 PROTECT AMERICA is in strong 2nd position with the following pros and cons:

(+) Protect America’s key competitive advantage is its low entry price point.

Under all of their standard plans, equipment is free and are backed by Lifetime Equipment Warranty.

The only fees are for their monitoring plans, with their basic Copper landline monitoring plan at an affordable $19.99/month. Under this, one gets for free 3 door/window sensors and a motion detector.

Price-lock Guarantee ensures monthly monitoring fees are unchanged for life.

(+) Protect America offers multiple monitoring options – landline, broadband and cellular – at varying price points.

This gives homeowners the freehand to choose the security system they need at a price they can afford.

Protect America more actively pushes their landline monitoring packages which cost less, aligning to their low price leader position in the industry and to the market trend of a more value-driven consumer base.

(+) Quality is not compromised with affordability. Cutting-edge, dependable technology fuels Protect America’s security systems.

Wireless GE Simon XT security control panels connect with up to 40 home security, life safety or home automation sensors to secure the entire home.

Smart Connect App is included for free in Protect America’s broadband and cellular monitoring plans, allowing interactive control, text notifications, home automation and video surveillance through smart devices.

(+) Wireless allows ease of relocation and gives the option of DIY install which saves on professional installation fees.

(+) Protect America has been able to rehabilitate its customer service to its current improved state.

Protect America slacked on customer service in its earlier years of operation. More recent consumer and industry reviews, though, point to improvements in this regard. From a B- BBB rating in 2012, they currently hold an A rating (www.bbb.org).

Home Security Geeks’ online chat with Protect America was informative and pleasant. Khadijah from Customer Support and Jackie from their Sales Team were knowledgeable of the company’s products and services and generous with their responses. There was no felt pressure to purchase.

(-) Landline monitoring, which Protect America aggressively markets, is less safe and secure. These can be easily disabled and are vulnerable to power outages.      

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#3 ADT takes 3rd spot in our rankings. Below are their pros and cons.

(+) ADT ‘s longevity and scale has earned it the trust of the market.

It has been in the business of providing home security systems for more than 100 years and is the largest security company in the US and Canada, with more than 6.5 million customers.

ADT is now a global player, with operations in more than 30 countries.

As of 2013, it had 25% market share of the residential market and 13% of the small business market in the US.

(+) ADT offers a comprehensive range of security devices and packages, from basic to complex.

(+) ADT has caught up in the areas of interactive monitoring and home automation via ADT Pulse and cellular monitoring with their CellGuard feature.

(-) Comparatively, ADT pricing is on the high side due to higher installation and activation fees.   There are added costs to upgrades which are otherwise standard features in the other companies’ plans.

Self-install is not an option; all of their systems are professionally installed.

Upgrade to cellular monitoring and of standard ADT packages to Pulse come at an extra cost each month plus installation/activation fees.

Extended equipment warranty comes with an additional cost.

(-) Outright relocation of an existing ADT system is not an option. Instead, they offer a Mover’s Guarantee.

(-) ADT’s customer service could be improved.

Ratio of negative to positive reviews is high.

Customer satisfaction continues to be eroded by inconsistencies in levels of service resulting from lack of training and quality control in their nationwide authorized dealers and re-sellers program.

Support for prospective and existing customers could be strengthened, particularly in providing transparent, upfront information on pricing, plans and equipment cost in their website (with the internet now a go-to for the more informed and engaged consumers).

Home Security Geeks called ADT Customer Service’s 1-800-Support number and we were disappointed that they avoided answering our phone queries on their basic packages. We were told that questions will be addressed only after an in-home assessment has been conducted by their technician.

         

 

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