It’s time for medical alert system providers to pay attention to consumers
The market for Medical Alert Systems is changing before our eyes. The move to mobile alert systems has just started, and it is the wave of the future. There’s still a place for tethered (traditional land-line based) medical alert systems, but in the next few years we will see a tipping point when all of the pendants, belt clips and wrist watch like alert systems are cellular/mobile based.
The Senior List is trying to change the mindset of medical alert system manufacturers, by asking them to pay more attention to the needs of consumers. Many of these manufacturers/dealers have forgotten about the consumer the minute the device is shipped out the door. When the medical alert company sells you an alert device, you instantly become a valuable annuity to the seller. A typical consumer pays a nominal fee for the equipment, and then pays a monthly annuity in the form of a “monitoring fee” for the alert’s monitoring services (code for access to a call center). These monthly monitoring fees range between $15 per month to over $60 per month (per device). Over the course of a 3 year period (at an average of around $39 per month) consumers are shelling out $ 1,404 for call-center-services. This isn’t chump-change, and consumers should expect good value/good service for their hard earned money!
For this kind of money; 1. You ought to be able to speak to someone (live) regarding service issues when you want… 2. You ought to be able to exchange faulty equipment for operational equipment (at no charge)… And 3. You should expect that if you aren’t satisfied with your current provider, you can walk away with no penalty for doing so. 10 years ago there weren’t many options to choose from, but we’ve come a long way since “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”… Now there are newer players entering this arena (like GreatCall, Verizon Wireless and SecuraTrac), and traditional players with new products (like MobileHelp, teasing the upcoming myHalo fall detection device).
“When the medical device company sells you an alert device, you become a valuable annuity to the seller.”
If you look around The Senior List, it doesn’t take long to see frustrated consumers complaining about the service (or lack thereof) they are receiving from medical alert system providers out there. A prime example of this can be seen in the comments following our product review of the new Verizon Wireless alert system called SureResponse. Early reviews of the SureResponse alert system are far from stellar… Check out the recent comments section to see what current users are saying about this device. What’s more surprising is the lack of “response” from the makers of the “SureResponse”. A bit ironic eh?
Here at The Senior List we’ve also been frustrated at the lack of response from Verizon. Check out our recent tweets to Verizon… We had hoped to get their attention so we could help you out… AND ultimately help them out! A satisfied consumer is a long-term annuity for them, a dissatisfied consumer leaves Verizon for GreatCall, SecuraTrac, MobileHelp or someone else… Why wouldn’t they want to instill confidence in their new alert device and the associated service? Frankly, it’s simply because they aren’t paying attention.
“Successful companies selling to boomers and seniors will be the companies that are paying attention.”
Note to Verizon… We’d still like to help you… Heck, if you’re not paying attention to us… We’re not sure what (or who) you’re paying attention to. Successful companies selling to boomers and seniors will be the companies that are paying attention. This includes the medical alert system providers/dealers, the hearing aid providers, and the market for vision correction.
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