Comcast is clearly not having such an easy time mastering the complexities of home security – or even the simpler aspects, for that matter. While protecting homes and families may not be rocket science, homeowners do expect reliable service and technology that works, along with company representatives that understand what they are selling and servicing.
For those of us who spend all day, every day providing peace of mind, the issues are pretty straightforward: make the system work, and if it stops working, then fix it right away. But that level of service involves a number of elements that it’s tempting to take for granted – and that established alarm companies do very well. A few of these are:
- Provide reliable equipment that really works.
- Employ technicians that can install and service the equipment, with the right training, and the right inventory on the truck. Of course companies like FrontPoint with easy setup systems do not face this challenge. We can remotely diagnose an issue and send a replacement part , overnight if needed.
- Employ phone representatives that understand the urgency of a home security problem for the homeowner, and who are well trained on the equipment.
- Institute a service response window that is not only short, but also convenient for the customer. This is not just cable – it’s what lets people sleep well at night.
There are more factors, but a quick read of this list reinforces the question of whether some of the “new entrants” into home security really have what it takes to compete. For those of us who are dedicated, long-time security industry professionals, it’s a bit of déjà vu all over again – we have seen cable and telecom companies enter (and leave) our sector of the economy before. What these companies don’t seem to grasp is that peace of mind really is a different proposition: just because you have an Internet “pipe” into a consumer’s home, that doesn’t mean they will rush to sign up for your latest offering… especially when you are not doing a terribly good job with your current services. And now the stakes are much higher: protecting people’s homes and families.
Does it Actually Work?
The issue is not just poor service: after all, the biggest name in the alarm business is known for providing less than stellar service to its customers, and you can see it in their cancellation rates. ADT loses about one out of every six customers every year. But with the cable and telco providers the challenges run deeper, all the way to technology that simply does not work or is not well supported. Here’s a great example – a comment posted this past December on a previous entry of the FrontPoint blog.
“I had Xfinity Home installed about a month ago……two weeks into it, we had a power outage, and the router reset. I called the tech, as he asked me to at the time of installation, twice, and got no response. I spent 3 hours on the phone with Comcast getting passed from office to office, before I was given the home security department. There is no option from the main menu to go there, which seems surprising. They set up a time for a technician…..and he showed up, never rang the bell, scared my kids, and spouted some stupid rule when my 6’0”, 240lb. son could not come up with identification – and left. I called and spent another 2+ hours on the phone trying to get the tech back….but the dispatch center was “non-responsive.”
As a reminder, most of these new entrants (including Comcast) use the Internet for transmitting a majority of their signals from the home, which is why they are referred to as “IP-enabled.” And as regular readers of this blog know, the best home security systems rely on a safer and more robust cellular connection – not just for alarm monitoring, but for interactive services as well.
But wait – there’s more! All you need to do is log onto the Comcast user forum to find more revealing stories about the XFINITY Home offering – and how it’s not meeting customer expectations. Here are some comments straight from Comcast home alarm customers posting on their forum.
“I recently realized that every time we think we are arming our system from the wireless keypad that we are NOT. After entering the 4 digit code and pressing “arm away” it has been flashing orange, which I initially thought meant it was arming after a delay. Only after arming the system from the cell phone app and from the touchscreen remote did I realize that when you enter the house it makes beeping sounds when properly armed before you disarm it. The manual says this can happen if any doors are open, however our keypad is located inside the house, so you have to have the door open to arm it or you won’t be able to leave. Is there any way to fix this? Or will we have to arm from our cellphones EVERY time we leave the house OR leave out a different door (not ideal!)?”
“I have been having issues ever since i got my home security installed. My latest issue is my internet connection keeps dropping multiple times a night for between 2 to 30 minutes. When the connection drops i am still able to access my router via its web interface. has anyone had this and or knows how to fix it?”
“This Xfinity Home Security Service is a Nightmare. First of all, I had the service installed about a month ago. The customer service rep told me I could pay by check or cash; however, when the technician arrived he would only take a prepaid Visa Card. I had to run out and purchase a card for $166.00. I got my 1st bill for $389.00 four weeks later, it appears Comcast is double charging me for the installation: after nearly an hour on the phone with a customer service agent, I was told I would be credited the $166.00. Not only has that not been removed, but I discovered my regular cable bill increased without notification and I was being charged a different rate for the home security service then what I was originally quoted when I called to set up service. And to make matters worse, this morning I got an alert that my back door was open and the alarm was going off. I was also told that a Police Officer was being dispatched to my house – I got off the freeway, drove all the way home, there was no alarm, the back door was closed, and the police never showed up to my house. I called customer service and was told I would have to wait 4 days before someone could come out to my home. However, when I hung up, someone left a message telling me to call back for an appointment, and when I called back it took forever to reach someone. When I did, I was told the problem could be fixed over the phone instead of sending someone out, but I needed to be at home in order for them to troubleshoot the problem. Comcast had already made me miss an hour worth of wages when they called me with a false alarm, now they wanted me to either leave work or leave my home, kids and pets vulnerable to intruders.”
As a “real” alarm company that is focused on protecting homes and families, FrontPoint welcomes the increased consumer awareness of interactive monitoring services and home automation that new entrants like Comcast bring to the general public – exactly the advanced features that FrontPoint has offered since our inception in 2007. We also expect that the more people research their options, the more they’ll choose FrontPoint. As the leader in wireless home security, we specialize in the best protection: that’s why we’re the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. FrontPoint systems are safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. And, unlike the case with some of our wannabe competitors, you’ll be thrilled with our service.