The recipe for success from EMC Security: No Contracts, DIY, PERS and more

The recipe for success from EMC Security: No Contracts, DIY, PERS and more

Since 1998, EMC Security Georgia has flown high by providing excellent customer service without the safety net of long-term contracts. Leadership discusses the company’s unique model, formula for success, and expansion portfolio.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in this age of seemingly limitless entertainment and shopping options, it’s that consumers like to feel like they have a choice in merchants and service providers who part with their hard-earned cash — or more appropriately, electronic payments.

Nowadays, it can be difficult to wrangle in an industry like cybersecurity where companies have traditionally locked clients into term-based contracts. While some merchants and integrators have moved away from this model in recent years, one leading company has successfully embraced this approach for more than two decades.

“We’ve always operated with the premise that we’ll win our customers’ business every single day. Since our first customer in 1998, we’ve never required our customers to commit to a long-term contract for service,” says Vince Raya, EMC’s Chief Security Officer. “With no contract to ‘hold’ the customer, we have to intently focus on every single interaction, be it initial sales, technical support, response monitoring, or service response, after hours. Everything has to be close to flawless.” As possible, otherwise we risk losing our customers.

EMC Security is headquartered in Suwanee, Ga. , which is owned by member-owned electrical service providers Jackson EMC, Walton EMC, and Gray-Stone Power. Having grown 85% organically from a single customer to more than 60,000 observed customers, the 125-person company expects to reach $30 million in revenue in 2022 from a mix of approximately 63% residential accounts and 37% commercial accounts throughout. Georgia. In recent years, EMC Security’s broad portfolio has expanded to include integrated commercial services.

“This year is looking particularly good. Overall revenue is expected to grow by 8%, setting a new record for the company,” says Chief Revenue Officer Michael Morton. “The supply chain has slowed down some projects but seems to be improving. residential Customer growth is slower than previous levels, possibly due to the number of new service providers outpacing new customer growth. The business is expanding as EMC Security continues to be recognized as a quality service provider to the mid-market.

Security sales and integration I spoke with Raia and Morton to gain more insight into EMC Security’s intriguing operating structure and learn how it has weathered market volatility as it continues to evolve. They are joined by Director of Operations John Reeves, Director of Communications Jennifer Kimble, General Manager Jane Moscow, Supervisor of Services Support Lauren Dean, and Controller Chuck Davis. In the conversation it becomes clear why so many Georgians choose EMC security.

Can you explain EMC Security’s somewhat unusual architecture?

Vince Raya: Before electricity was really available in some of these areas, investor-owned utilities were not in a position to go out into small communities and provide services. With the help of federal government funding, these ESCWA member countries have been formed to serve members in a very unique way. We are built on the same kind of foundation where we are all focused on serving members and taking care of customers as a business owner. We are very unique in this way; He created our whole way of doing business.

That’s why we don’t have long-term contracts, for example. We decided we were going to have to earn our customers’ business every single day. We treat every customer as a member, even though not all of our customers are electric utility members. EMCs also provide us with a unique way of reaching customers insofar as being able to contact them when they move in or apply for services, and that was a real advantage.

Michael Morton: Another unique aspect is when Vince was working with the original founders of the Brain Trust who put EMC Security together, they wisely decided it wasn’t going to run within the four walls of the owners, created a completely separate company and turned Vince into a losing market to build it as he saw fit. Other cooperatives have added security services, but only to their membership, which is very restrictive. We didn’t have those restrictions when we were formed.

EMC Security’s 125 employees serve 60,000 monitored clients. Above (lr) data entry specialist Paula Lindner, monitoring specialist Joe Richard, and business IT solutions specialist Sameer Shah.

It would seem that the benefits that came with that might be lower acquisition costs, enhanced customer loyalty, those kinds of things. Can you talk to that?

Raya: You have made a very important part of our success. Some of these companies that we partner with or whose owners are close to 100 years old or more than that. They have a long history of service to their clients and their members, and we’ve been able to be a part of that. They also provide us with cost-effective ways to reach potential clients.

Jennifer Kimble: They’re allowing us to expand into their areas because we’re able to market and advertise through them, which is really nice. They give us opportunities to market to their base, and so it’s really helped us grow and become more popular in those areas. At the same time, nearly half of our 60,000 active monitored customers are independent from EMC countries.

Gene Moscow: One of the main things I found is, since we’re member-owned, we’re directly accountable, and I think it really conveyed our standards that everyone cares about, especially with no contract. This is very different from other companies I’ve worked for. We are really interested.

This structure has also enabled you to be debt free, right?

Raya: yes. This is something we have worked hard since the company was established. We knew that effectively increasing cost would pay off in the future. We had plenty of opportunities to acquire other companies or expand rapidly into other markets regionally and even nationally and made a conscious decision to grow cost-effectively. We made sure that we did not exceed our ability to serve customers at the highest level possible or have to borrow a lot of money to do so. As we have seen, unlimited borrowing capacity does not always lead to a good result.

Chuck Davis: Coming from a startup business background, EMC Security was a breath of fresh air. The lack of debt also gives us the flexibility to do things other companies can’t. For example, the radio replacement we just did where we deployed about 27,000 units. With the board’s blessing, we had the cash flow and capabilities to do this without having to borrow any money or having to charge our customers to do it. In the absence of debt, when new opportunities arise, we are able to quickly tackle those situations that make them available to us.

Although EMC Security’s revenue is still more than 60% of residential real estate, why was a decision made in 2018 to expand into the integrated commercial services market?

Raya: Yes, but we’ve always had a small to medium sized business offering for our clients. About five years later, we had the opportunity to start working on apartment complexes, wiring them for low voltage services, and doing security. We weren’t running a lot of fires at the time, it was mostly indoor wiring systems and some common area systems, some access control, video. We had great success with that and it quickly grew to be a huge part of our business.

In 2018 we decided to take a real step towards integration commercial Service business because we have opportunities to do very large projects and, frankly, I didn’t know we were in a position to do without that expertise. Deciding to get really serious about the commercial business, we hired Gene to put together a commercial team that was nothing like we had before.

Moscow: With my background in very large global integrators, I saw the opportunity to come into a mid-sized company and take all the good and leave the bad. One of the cultural things that I wanted to keep in place was standardization of operations and sales rather than always competing. By bringing in key project managers, lead engineers and certified technicians in both the NotIFIER and Avigilon Enterprise Solutions product lines, we can then serve customers with the right product and the right people at the right time – all while maintaining profits through organic growth without the investment. And back to being debt free, we’ve grown our business based on demand and just kept adding and adding. Things were going well.

For commercial functions, product lines such as Notifier and Avigilon have been added or expanded. Shown is Brandon Smith, Commercial Project Manager

Morton: We’ve seen what a lot of other companies of our size have seen, where the residential activity has been shrinking at just 2% growth over the last couple of years. Meanwhile, the business has been doing very well coming out of COVID. Of course, in 2018 we didn’t know Corona virus disease will hit soon. We’ve seen a really tough competitive path in residential spaces, with DIYs and other companies entering the market that don’t have a history in security. We have pest control companies that are into security, HVAC contractors getting in, electrical contractors in our market getting in, and of course, MSO was hot and heavy in the business at the time.

We saw that it was a bit overheated and we needed an outlet if we were going to continue growing. We didn’t think we could do this with our existing infrastructure, our existing staff, we needed dedicated people focused on the residential business to stay ahead of our competition. This is why Jane has been appointed, to keep the focus on, growing and developing this business. He did an amazing job. We are pleased with where this business is at the moment. Of course, the housing landscape continues to change, and we have an eye for that, too.

How does EMC Security handle service calls efficiently and cost-effectively, while still improving the customer experience?

John Reeves: We have a full staff of in-house technicians who answer phone calls from customers all day, troubleshooting everything from cameras to switches. These guys are all ex-technicians or guys in the trade who allow us to provide this service in-house. With those six to eight men available at any given time to assist customers, it helps in many cases to avoid having to roll trucks.

Raya: These technologies can reach a location far from the panels. When you look at the unique features of EMC security, this is one of the main things; We’ve always had a team that provides this support at no cost to the customer. In the historical model, they called in a service request, sent a truck and charged the customer an hourly rate. Sometimes this is a very simple fix and the customer is unhappy because they paid $100 for a service call, or whatever they charge, to clear the alarm panel problem status, or sometimes to close an opened window or door that they didn’t realize.

We’ve done this for many years, and have made huge profits in terms of customer satisfaction, and less attrition. It’s expensive to have six to eight technologies available to talk to 60,000+ customers, with demand growing because of the technology out there. Smart systems are great and everyone loves them, but they are all connected to WiFi, they all depend on each other and lead to a lot of service calls.

A lot of companies may not take this into account in their metrics as they continue to grow this segment of the residential and commercial business. You will have to support it and there will be a cost to that. I don’t know how many companies have the resources we have for our monitored clients.

Reeves: We carry that after hours too, with four technicians on call. I haven’t heard of many other companies that have the same after hours output as we do.

Raya: At no cost to the customer, for the most part, we do a lot of service calls also in the field. There is no doubt that we have this capability, but this is our first opportunity to take care of customers quickly, efficiently and at no cost to them, making them very happy.

Keep reading to learn how EMC techs are getting ready to work smarter and more efficiently, why they’ve added DIY and PERS demos, and more…

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