Virtual Service Appointments Boost Subscriber Satisfaction

ADT, home security, virtual service

Offering virtual service appointments as an alternative to in-person service calls at customers’ homes is boosting subscriber retention, ADT executives said Thursday (May 5) during the company’s quarterly earnings call. 

By cutting down on the number of times technicians drive to customers’ homes, virtual service appointments also reduce the company’s operating expenses and carbon footprint. 

ADT rolled out virtual service appointments last summer, giving customers the option to schedule a video appointment with a technician. 

“Based on favorable customer feedback, we are also expanding our ADT virtual service platform,” ADT President and CEO Jim DeVries said during the call. “Today, almost half of our service visits are now being successfully conducted virtually.” 

Remote Service Provides Immediate Results, Education 

Customers’ use of virtual service appointments quickly ramped up from 1,000 appointments per day early on to 4,000 appointments per day at present, Chief Operating Officer Don Young reported during the call. 

“The reality is that the customers have a large appetite to go in and get immediate satisfaction — which is obvious — but also education on how they can go and enhance the value of the solutions that we give them,” Young said. 

Most of the problems the virtual service appointments resolve involve door and window sensors or broadband issues, both of which can be easily solved by a customer who’s being guided by a tech during a virtual call. 

“All we need is access to the customer’s eyes and hands to resolve their problem remotely,” Young said. “They don’t particularly want us in their home to resolve the problem if it could be done satisfactorily a lot more quickly without us entering the home.” 

Executives noted that the virtual service initiative is being rolled out at a time companies are navigating inflationary pressures in parts, labor and fuel, and it has enabled strong cost performance. 

A key driver of this cost performance during the first quarter was the virtual service initiative, “which allowed us to service our growing and increasingly interactive customer base, while keeping our service costs relatively flat,” Jeffrey Likosar, chief financial officer and president of corporate development, said during the call. 

Boosting Sales, Retention, Share-of-Wallet 

During the first quarter, ADT also continued its rollout of products from its partnership with Google. ADT added the Google Nest Doorbell and Mesh Wi-Fi during the quarter, and plans to add indoor and outdoor cameras in the third quarter. These joined the Hub and Hub Max already offered as part of ADT’s home automation lineup. 

“Offering the branded Google product is driving higher attachment rates, higher pull-through of other devices and higher installation revenue than we were seeing with our previous, white-label doorbell,” DeVries said. 

ADT also recently updated its smartphone-based virtual companion and expects to launch a vehicle security offering in partnership with Ford during the first half of 2023. 

With these, the company expects to grow its subscriber base, expand the share-of-wallet from each customer and strengthen customer retention. 

“Simply stated, we are giving customers even more reasons to choose ADT, stay with ADT and spend more with ADT,” DeVries said.