Yet another technology shift is coming to the cellular industry and that, of course, will affect the security industry. However, with effective planning, you can help your customers navigate this change—and even add value to current contracts. Whether you are looking at takeovers, upgrades or new installs, LTE is the way to go.
Just like the 2G in 2016, 3G is on its way out. So, too is CDMA technology. Telguard’s official negotiated CDMA sunset date with Verizon is scheduled on December 31, 2022. This is an extension from the original date and provides our customers ample time to work on a replacement strategy. AT&T 3G sunset is scheduled for February 22, 2022. Service and support will continue for all CDMA and 3G units until 2022, as long as they remain active. Telguard has a complete line of Verizon and AT&T LTE communicators available which makes the transition easier.
A common misconception is that the sunset will happen on the announced date—like a metaphorical off switch. The reality is that those dates are when the sunset will be complete, so signal quality and allocated bandwidth will likely be affected in the months leading up to those dates.
That’s why early planning is so important. Starting now allows plenty of time to contact reluctant clients multiple times. This also ensures the extra labor can be spread out to avoid exceeding capabilities. Early adopters can take advantage of sales and discounts offered by vendors. Telguard has implemented an aggressive sunset strategy including hardware discounts and more economical replacement boards.
This blog will outline the steps to planning and implementing a successful 3G sunset strategy that will prepare for a successful transition with your clients.
The first step to creating a strategy is to gather information about the cellular carrier technology your customers use (3G, CDMA, LTE) as well as the activation dates and services rendered. Having this information will allow you to prioritize. This real-time information is available in your Telguard dealer portal.
The next step is to take an inventory of your 3G and CDMA stock. It’s important to understand if there is value in products that will become obsolete due to the sunset. While CDMA units can no longer be activated, 3G units that were previously activated with Telguard can be reused for new installations, so their value is not necessarily lost yet. Telguard created a tool that assists with the technology identification process by simply inputting the Telguard Serial Number.
Now that you’ve taken stock of your customers and your inventory, you need to take stock of your capabilities. For each customer, you’ll need to replace a physical device, which means an expense on hardware and labor. You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions: Do you know how to handle same-brand replacements from a physical installation perspective in the most efficient way? From a programming perspective? Telguard’s Serial Number swap option is a two-click process to swap Telguard units. The new unit inherits all the previous settings. Telguard also offers ready-to-print Quick Installation guides, wiring diagrams, and walk-through support over the phone.
At this point, it’s also helpful to think about how you generally communicate with your customers so you can plan for communication around the sunset as well as your services.
Create a Strategy
Considering that a technician will have to be on-site to swap out the old technology, you should look for ways to add value for your customer during the visit.
Something as simple as providing a full system check or anything that doesn’t add much time to the replacement can add value for your customer. You can also think of ways to increase your recurring monthly revenue while reducing the initial cost for the customer. An easy way to do this in the residential space would be to offer a reduced installation fee for an interactive feature. Telguard’s HomeControl Flex service is a universal approach to remote arming and disarming that is compatible with the most commonly used conventional panels. It does not require any extra hardware and adds just a few minutes to a standard installation or swap.
Since you gathered information about your customers earlier, you can now prioritize. The easiest way to do this is by activation time. Ideally, you should prioritize customers who have had their current unit in place for the longest, instead of all subscribers at once. Following this prioritization strategy ensures that you maximize the perceived value of the old unit in your customers’ minds. For example, if you have 1000 subscribers with 3G devices, 500 of which have an activation date in 2016, and 500 in 2015, you would want to start in 2019 with the 2015 activations and the remaining 500 afterward (likely into 2020).
As with everything, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, if you have a key account with multiple locations, it’s easiest to advise the customer of all locations at the same time. Also, if there have been any recent issues with customers, it’s likely better to get to a manageable level of comfort before presenting a new change. Telguard’s subscriber reports allow you to quickly sort by activation or registration date to more easily prioritize.
It’s human nature to put off decisions that seem far away. That’s why it’s important to develop a communications strategy that involves at least two forms of media (email, invoice stuffers and physical mail) and several attempts. It’s also important to develop a unified message so the customer is hearing the same information from the customer service representative to the installer.
Here are some talking points that can help streamline your message:
- The sunset is an inevitable carrier event that is part of the natural evolution of technology. Equipment manufacturers and dealers are affected as well.
- Current devices will stop working by a specific date at the latest, and we want to address it before any issues appear.
- By installing an LTE radio, we are providing you with the most up-to-date technology available and will serve you for a long time.
In the internet era, it’s too easy to search and find contradicting information. That’s why it’s important to provide your customers with detailed, but easy-to-digest information from a reliable source.
Telguard provides templates to communicate this information in a way that is accurate but not overly complicated. Telguard also hosts a webpage that targets end-users and explains the upcoming sunsets in terms that are easy to comprehend.
While the sunsets are a big change that will touch many of your customers, starting to plan a detailed implementation strategy now will ensure you that and your customers are not caught off-guard.