Wayne Alarm Systems: Monitoring Other Markets
Recurring revenues are appealing to CE pros. High-margin installs are appealing to security pros. Can either have their cake and eat it, too?
Todd Gaito, sales and marketing manager, left; and Ralph Sevinor, owner and president, right.
The noise doesn't seem to faze the owner of the Lynn, Mass.-based company. He simply rattles off the names of employees as he passes them. They're too busy to respond because they are answering the phones.
"We always want a real person answering the phones," Sevinor says. "From a cost-standpoint, it's not economical. From a customer service standpoint, it's far superior."
Customer service is, by far, the No. 1 priority for Wayne Alarm Systems. It has to be, Sevinor explains, since it makes most of its money off of security and fire monitoring contracts.
"Recurring revenue is our heart," he says.
Quick StatsThe "recurring" part, though, isn't something that Sevinor thinks he can take for granted. He says it's important to show value to clients who are paying for a 24/7 service.
- Company: Wayne Alarm Systems
- Location: Lynn, Mass.
- Principal: Ralph Sevinor, owner and president
- Web site: www.waynealarm.com
- Years in Business: 38
- Revenue: N/A
- Number of Employees: 84
- Commercial/Residential Split: Started out primarily residential, but now doing a majority of commercial
- Specialty: Whole-house control and dedicated home theaters
- Top Brands: First Alert and Honeywell
- FYI: Follow up, follow up, follow up. Touch the customer regularly.
One way he shows value, he says, is by overstaffing his company. He scoffs at the idea of outsourcing and says voicemail is never a good option.
He's such a stickler for his brand of customer service that Wayne Alarm Systems has its own central station monitoring facility in its 20,000-square-foot headquarters.
"When people call us, especially our central station, they're not calling to say 'have a nice day.' They're calling because they have an issue. The quicker you can take care of that issue, the better it is."
That point rings especially true when clients are essentially paying a company to be at their beck and call. That's why being in the recurring revenues business isn't always easy, Sevinor says.
Meanwhile, many traditional CE pros that primarily offer audio, video and control systems are intrigued by the concept of selling service contracts. Integrators that offer IT, in particular, are apt to offer computer network maintenance contracts.
Some dealers offer system maintenance contracts that include periodic calibrations and other updates. All are motivated by the recurring monthly income that can complement sales or even provide a backbone to the business.
Those integrators won't get an argument from Sevinor. He agrees that companies should seek recurring revenue opportunities. He just thinks that many are at risk of underestimating the manpower and infrastructure it takes to provide a service worthy of those payments.