Three veteran custom integration business owners have formed a new company, called Parasol, to serve as an “always on” remote support service for the industry. Through the service, homeowners can call, email, text or chat with an expert anytime, day or night about system problems with most issues resolved immediately.
In addition, Parasol’s expert technical staff can monitor installations proactively, keeping small issues from turning into big problems while reducing the need for costly service calls and driving up client satisfaction.
Parasol is the culmination of a multi-year effort by Greg Simmons, of Eagle Sentry in Las Vegas, NV; Henry Clifford of Livewire, Richmond, VA; and Ted Bremekamp of ETC, West Palm Beach, FL.
“We’re blown away by the difference Parasol is making with our clients and employees,” Clifford said. “Homeowners love the peace of mind that comes with 24/7 support while our technicians are able to enjoy their personal time knowing Parasol agents are taking care of our clients around the clock.”
Parasol is powered by OvrC, SnapAV’s remote managed services platform. “The industry is clamoring for solutions to make the vision of RMR a reality,” said John Heyman, CEO of SnapAV. “Building an RMR business is complex, yet we believe Parasol is making it simple for integrators to adopt this service. By standardizing technology and serving hundreds of homeowners, the Parasol founders have developed a profitable offering for integrators, making their businesses more valuable and providing a much needed service to homeowners. We are committed to making ongoing investments to the OvrC platform enabling Parasol’s vision.”
The three co-founders got together last January to begin the process of building Parasol and monitoring each other’s clients to learn how best to implement proactive 24/7 support. After one year of hard work, onboarding hundreds of their own customers, honing their processes and technology, Parasol is ready to scale nationally. In the face of surging demand, Parasol’s focus is to deliver quality service and support above all else.
“We’re doing things the right way,” Simmons said. “We experience any issues within Parasol immediately in our own companies, ensuring problems are addressed quickly and we innovate at a rapid pace. There’s no better way to learn than through your own customer base.”
Parasol is interviewing industry veterans to fill key roles with planned announcements coming early Spring. In the meantime, day-to-day operations are being run by co-founders Clifford, Bremekamp, and Simmons, with the team poised for growth in 2018.
Parasol wants to make it easy for integrators to sign up, market to homeowners, and create profitable recurring revenue streams. Parasol’s dealers sell subscriptions to their new and current customers based on two simple plans. Starting at $27.99 to the subscriber, the two options cater to different levels of service:
“Essential” includes a self-service app; 24/7/365 remote support via text, email or chat; for a monthly price of $27.99 MSRP.
“Enhanced” includes a self-service app; 24/7/365 remote support via phone, text, email, or chat; Parasol experts monitoring your system(s) proactively 24/7, fixing problems remotely without dealer or homeowner involvement; for a monthly priced of $49.99 MSRP.
Parasol caters to integrator and homeowner pain points on many levels, according to the company. Integrators, the company’s founders say, often overlook support as a critical part of their businesses, resulting in a model where getting text messages from angry homeowners during dinner is commonplace. Homeowners are equally frustrated, often finding their integrator closed when they’re home using the home technology systems they’ve invested heavily in. That’s where Parasol comes in.
“I’ve been in this business since I was 19 years old, and I’m 49 now,” Simmons pointed out. “Personally, 65 or 75 percent of my customer service calls come after 6 p.m. during the week and come somewhere between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. A majority of my phone calls in my professional life come during those hours. We need to change that. Our employees work just like our customers do. They go to work in the morning, then they come home and want to be with their families, they want to eat dinner without being interrupted, and they want to turn that movie on together at 8:30. We don’t do that. Integrators are run absolutely, flat-out ragged. We think we can fundamentally change that.”
Adding a new Parasol account takes one click through the integrator’s OvrC dashboard. Homeowners sign up for Parasol during the system sales process or during service calls, oftentimes citing remote monitoring as the reason they chose their integrator in the first place. Automated billing ensures both integrators and homeowners are free from the hassle of dealing with more business complexity. Integrators can choose to bill their clients directly or have Parasol collect on their behalf.
The first wave of integrators are coming on board via an invitation-only expanded pilot running through mid-2018. Interested integrators should visit getparasol.com to sign up for their next phase beginning late 2018.