Excerpted from an article in SDM, August 2016
Rapid Response Monitoring Services Inc. (Rapid) was founded in 1992 by two industry veterans, Russell R. MacDonnell and Jeffrey Atkins, who combined their more than 50 years of industry experience in the growth, management and operation of alarm and security companies. Since then, the 100 percent wholesale monitoring company has grown to 2,000 dealers, more than one million subscribers and 525 full-time staff, with no acquisitions.
This 2016 Central Station of the Year recipient is a company with foresight that adapts to the ever-changing industry. The company is constantly monitoring its performance, its progress, its customer service, and its technologies and offerings. Rapid tracks hundreds of business metrics called Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of which it measures hourly, weekly, monthly or yearly to make sure the company is delivering, as well as to identify and remedy problems or issues as quickly as possible. Many call center KPIs, such as speed to access alarms and average event duration are measured hourly and given to management three times a day.
The company has an entire recruiting team working full time to hire only the most qualified employees. College degrees or military experience is required to work at Rapid, and the company also uses several different tests to evaluate applicants, including tests for predictive analysis, cognitive skills, typing skills and others.
“This kind of work, handling emergencies all day long, is not for everybody. Not everybody can do it,” Hertel describes. “A lot of our hiring process is built around making sure potential employees can do the job, but more importantly will like doing the job.”
Counting more than five million signals per week between their two locations (New York and California), extensive training is a must. In addition to several weeks of formal classroom training and floor training with trainers and supervisory staff, advanced skill-set training continues throughout the employee’s tenure. Rapid has 25 full-time corporate and floor trainers to help ensure success. Many of the trainers have master’s degrees in education.
The company invests millions of dollars annually into its own software development and new hardware, resulting in dozens of new features and services each year.
In 2013, the company was one of the early adopters of the ASAP to PSAP program, which allows verified alarm signals to automatically be dispatched to participating 911 centers. Rapid also offers two-way voice monitoring, video services, remote monitoring and mobile services, and email and text message alerts.
A “First Call” platform was introduced about six years ago by the company for a number of applications, including to help deal with false alarms. The natural language IVR (interactive voice response) can call a home alarm in less than 10 seconds to get a password from a subscriber. Because of its scalability, it was also used during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 to call subscribers on issues that it otherwise wouldn’t have been able to handle, Hertel explains.
“[What sets us apart] is the constant, unrelenting drive to be the best at whatever it is we want to do, whether training or putting together a brochure. It’s our attention to detail and desire not to just be OK. We have a drive and we are going to build [the business] the old-fashioned way. We will continue to work hard and earn that business and not buy our way through,” Hertel says.
The CSAA Central Station Excellence Awards have been formally recognizing top-notch professionals in the industry for more than a decade.
“The companies and individuals nominated and chosen as finalists and winners are shining examples of how seriously the monitoring industry takes its responsibility to protect life and property,” Lasko adds.
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