Saving Customers at Vigil Home Security

5 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2017

See all articles by Phillip E. Pfeifer

Phillip E. Pfeifer

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


Mike Thomas, director of customer relationships at the second-leading provider of residential security systems in the United States, set out to examine data from 61,235 customer "saves" in order to determine if the offer used to persuade a customer not to discontinue service affected the subsequent longevity of the saved relationship. If some offers led to longer subsequent relationships, Thomas's next step would be to reward customer service representatives for these higher-quality saves.



Rev. Jun. 10, 2013


One of Mike Thomas's first accomplishments after taking over as director of customer relationships at Vigil Home Security (VHS) was to arrange for customers calling in to cancel their home security service to be routed quickly to the “save desk.” The save desk was the informal name given to the handful of customer service representatives trained to work with customers to try to salvage their business. “It seemed so damned obvious to try to save these folks,” remarked Thomas, “that it was amazing it wasn't already happening. Before I got here, we would just let folks cancel. Because they were about to leave anyway, I argued that anything we can do to save the relationship should be done. Any save is a good save.”

“It is just one example,” he continued, “of the easy wins I think are here for us to grab quickly. I helped this company for over 10 years from the outside as a consultant. Now that I'm inside, I'm hoping to move quickly to get things done and make a difference.”

VHS was the second-leading provider of residential home security systems in the United States. Customers paid an up-front fee (often heavily discounted) for the installation of the system and then a low monthly fee for 24-7 monitoring by VHS fast responders. Once the system recognized a breach, an on-site alarm would sound, and the VHS fast responders would immediately attempt to contact the homeowner. Although in many cases the breech was caused by the homeowners themselves, on the rare occasions when the responders could not reach the homeowner (or the homeowner confirmed an actual emergency) the fast responders sent local authorities to the home.

. . .

Keywords: customer relations

Suggested Citation

Pfeifer, Phillip E., Saving Customers at Vigil Home Security. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0804. Available at SSRN:

Phillip E. Pfeifer (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4803 (Phone)


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