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May 29, 2020

What’s Your 3G Upgrade Strategy?

By Mark Hillenburg, vice president of Marketing

AT&T and Verizon’s switch to LTE is happening. No doubt you’re thinking about all of your customers’ communicators that have to be changed out — we know you’re wondering who’s going to pay for all this? One thing is for sure, you don’t want AT&T or Verizon taking away the features your customers have come to enjoy that make them a more engaged and stickier customer!

Over the last few months, we’ve heard from many of our dealers who’ve shared how they are structuring their 3G upgrade business model. Below, we’ve collected some best practices you may find helpful.

1. Technology Upgrade Program - Include the communicator as part of an up-sell campaign

Some savvy dealers are using the 3G upgrade service calls as a chance to encourage customers to add other services, such as video verification, cameras, Z-Wave devices, or perhaps an upgrade to the graphic touchscreen technology. The new solutions benefit customers and make their systems more valuable to them. Meanwhile, you can profit off of the sale of the new equipment, and any increase in RMR helps to defray the costs of the communicator and service call.

Upfront, you’re funding the upgrade, but many customers are already thinking about adding cameras or a doorbell or more automated lighting or thermostats to their homes. They may want to automate their garage doors or other parts of their homes or businesses.

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with the carriers’ new networks. This upgrade is required to maintain your current level of security, and we are offering you this upgrade at no cost. However, there will be a $5 increase in your monthly bill. Contact us for a quote and schedule a service call to resolve this issue right away.”

2. Renew your customer's contract in exchange for a free upgrade or discounted upgrade

For customers who are approaching the end of their contract cycles, give them this option if they’ll renew their contracts.

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with the carriers’ new networks. This upgrade
is required to maintain your current level of security, and we are offering you this upgrade at no cost when you extend your contract with us. By extending your contract, you lock in your monthly rate and will see no potential cost increases for the term of your agreement. Contact us to schedule a service call to upgrade your equipment and we’ll also bring a new contact by." 


3. Offer “Sunset Insurance” or some form of evergreen technology guarantee or a service contract

Extend the life of a customer by offering future cellular upgrades at no cost or discounted costs beyond the service fees. This can be a tiered approach. Your options include:
  ·   Customer pays full price for the new LTE communicator but gets all future upgrades free if they pay a nominal amount added to their fee each month.
  ·   Customer gets new communicator at no cost but pays a nominal amount each month forever. This would likely companion with a contract renew.

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with the carriers’ new networks. This upgrade is not the first or last time that carriers have required this type of hardware sunset. Because of this, we are offering a special program that will allow your system to always remain on the current technology and you will never have to pay for an upgrade again. By adding our “Sunset Insurance” (or Service Contract or whatever you want to call it) to your monthly plan and extending your contract, you will lock in your monthly rate and see no potential cost increases for technology upgrades for the term of your agreement. Contact us to schedule your equipment upgrade and lock in your monthly rate by joining this new program.”

4. Offer customers free upgrade in exchange for referrals

Satisfied customers are happy to tell their friends and families about exceptional products and services. Let your customers know, when their referrals turn into new business, you’ll gladly upgrade their communicators for free.

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with the carriers’ new networks. This upgrade is required to maintain your current level of security; however, we are offering a unique way for you to have this required upgrade credited to your account. The initial update will cost about a $100, but you can get that credited back to you by referring us to your friends. Every time you introduce us or make a referral to one of your friends, we will give you a $10 credit toward this upgrade. If any of your referrals buys a system from us, you will get and additional $40 credit. So, you can easily have this upgrade for FREE just by telling your friends about us. See the “Refer-a-Friend” tab in your Virtual Keypad™ app for more details. Contact us to schedule a service call to get your new equipment right away.”

5. Turn your current security system into the latest and safest technology

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks, which you currently have. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with your carriers’ new networks. We are excited to offer you and a group of select customers a chance to update your systems with our Graphic Touchscreen Keypad. This lets you arm or disarm your system without touching the screen or the buttons to enter your code. We are offering a free software upgrade to adapt this touch-less keypad to your existing system. This update, which can be bundled together with your LTE upgrade, will also give you the latest features available in the Virtual Keypad app.

The LTE upgrade is required to maintain your current level of security. However, we are offering a unique way for you to have this required upgrade credited to your account.

6. Offer the communicator at full price as part of the required upgrade

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with the carriers’ new networks. This upgrade is required to maintain your current level of security and will cost around a $XXX.XX. Please contact us to schedule your service call to resolve this issue right away. This special offer is available until 00/00/00, so please contact us soon.”

You’ll need to be prepared to help your customers understand why it’s necessary and what benefits LTE
will provide. If you’re looking for resources, these are available on Marketing Central:
· Video Resource: (Residential) (Commercial)
· Invoice Stuffers
· Sales Sheet LT-1992 LTE Flyer
· Social Media Post (Commercial) (Residential)
· Email (Commercial) (Residential)

7. Don’t charge for the communicator but include your standard charge for the service call

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with the carriers’ new networks. This upgrade is required to maintain your current level of security, and we are offering you this service at no cost. However, there will be a charge for the service call to replace your outdated hardware. You can choose to pay that at the time of service or over the next three months on your standard bill. Contact us for a quote and schedule a service call to resolve this issue right away.”

8. Include the communicator as part of a moderate increase in your customers’ monthly bills

Message to Customers:
“AT&T and Verizon are migrating to LTE, meaning they soon will no longer support their 3G cellular networks. Your security systems must be upgraded with LTE communicators in order to work properly with the carriers’ new networks. This upgrade is required to maintain your current level of security, and we are offering you this upgrade at no cost. However, there will be a $5 increase in your monthly bill. Contact us to take advantage of this offer and schedule a service call to resolve this issue right away.”

So, how can you turn the lemons of this change into lemonade? By finding ways to turn the need to upgrade equipment into a profitable visit, if not right now, then in the long run. Perhaps these can help you determine your plan. If your upgrade plan involves something other than what we’ve shared here, please let us know — we would love to include them here.



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