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Tuesday, October 31st, 2023 6:12 AM

A False Alarm with Great Dispatch Reaction and Low Quality Technical Support

I am an existing customer; there was a situation yesterday when I've received a call about the master alarm when no one was in the building. The sequence of the alarms looked like this:

At first sight, it looks like someone ingresses the basement and then egresses through the front door, right? At this point, I want to appreciate the professionalism of the SimpliSafe monitoring team -- very assuring and fast reaction. After assessing the cameras, I decided to cancel the LE dispatch, for there were no moving objects at all the cameras.  
Now, the good part is ended and the bad one begins. I went to the website chat to talk to the support and see what can be done to prevent the accidents like this in the future. The conversation ID is #972297, chat started : Mon, 30 Oct 2023 20:50:46, time zone : America/Chicago.
Well, false alarms do happen, it's unavoidable. Any reasonable support could do the following:
1) Review the accident timeline
2) Run a remote test (we did it)
3) Confirm that the issue cannot be determined
4) Offer a replacement sensor at the SimpliSafe's expense, if needed.
5) Close the case, next in line.
I was expecting a 20-30-minute session, no more. At the end of Monday, I did not intend to chat with anyone, especially with the SimpliSafe support. Instead, the chat #972297 spanned from 20:50:46 till 23:55:53. Key points to the SS support supervisors:
  • Train your agents to actually read the conversation and keep the current chat in focus of their attention.
  • Do not train them to shift the responsibility to the customer, citing the "environmental factors:"
  • A sudden burst  of sunlight through a window heating an object or reflecting on to the sensor (there's no sunlight at 8 PM in Illinois and the light does not affect the magnetic sensors)
  • A bolt of lighting in a thunderstorm creating a sudden burst of light/heat (a bolt of lightning able to create enough heat to heat the internal sensor will destroy the whole damn building)
  • A very small animal, such as an insect, crawling right in front of it (insects aren't magnetic and cannot affect the magnetic entry sensors)
  • The sensor being vibrated or moved (how on Earth a heavy metal door, locked by 3 locks, can be "vibrated" or "moved" if there are two doors, no wind, and no one was around?)

And, of course, do not offer "explanations" like this:

(Mon, 30 Oct 2023 22:43:34) SimpliSafe Assistant : In this case, the Entry Sensor tripped at random. 
.......

(Mon, 30 Oct 2023 22:51:24) SimpliSafe Assistant : We mean that if the Motion Sensor is triggered it is normal that the Entry Sensor will alarm as well.

It can't be so. Since when one sensor's alarm triggers another sensor if there's no event on that another sensor? By that logic, you could trigger a CO2 detector if there's a water leak, because why not? 

Why not just admit that the reason of the false alarm cannot be determined, offer a replacement or ensure the customer that it will be offered if the accident happens again and move to the next chat?

Oh, and about the replacement: do you expect the customer to make a trip to the post office to ship you back a $19 sensor? Or do you suppose that the customer wants a "free lunch" so badly that he falsified an alarm event to receive a replacement and own -- hell yeah -- TWO $19 sensors by the price of one? Come on, you'll dispose that piece of plastic upon arrival. 

Bottom line: the dispatching unit is excellent, and so is the equipment. But you are cutting corners with the first-line support department. 

Captain

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5.7K Messages

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120 Points

4 months ago

@PanCraft Thank you for doing a detailed posting on your experiences with SS (both good and bad) here in the community. From experience of 13+ years I can attest to the range of support from world class, beyond the call of duty to absolutely incompentent.  When brought to the attention of SS, I have found they follow up on both types and should be commended for it.

As far as having agents just read the help desk script, proper training, and testing, can, if not eliminate it, reduce it signficantly.

Finally, one point I would disagree with you on.  Over the years managing customer facing call centers, I can assure you there are people out there that will go to great lengths to weasel $1 out of a company or individual, let alone a $19 sensor. I have no issue prinitng a label and mailing a faulty sensor back. Appreciate SS covering the hardware in the first place.

(edited)

4 Messages

Finally, one point I would disagree with you on.  Over the years managing customer facing call centers, I can assure you there are people out there that will go to great lengths to weasel $1 out of a company or individual, let alone a $19 sensor.

My good sir, managing the customer-facing IT business for decades, I agree with you completely. However, customer convenience must be a priority. In this particular case, an utterly incompetent support agent already took a few hours of my time. On top of that, I will spend 40 minutes more to mail the cheap faulted sensor back. If that wouldn't be the case, I don't mind sending anything back -- I did the same with the internal camera once, asking no questions. 

Appreciate SS covering the hardware in the first place.

I respectfully disagree. There's no point in appreciation as long as we're talking about the paid customers with active subscription plans. Any manufacturer provides a hardware warranty; SS is not an exclusion. As an operating business, SS has its profit margins, and any procedure in place is well-calculated, or at least it should be. 

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