CategoryTony's Testimonials Archives - Audio Visual Bend Blog
When cleaning out spaces and redesigning spaces how to decided what AV systems to reuse and what ones need new life.
Written By: Kate Couch and Tony Sprando
With spring just around the corner and the days becoming more consistently in the 50s it’s time for most people to do their annual spring cleaning. Whether for your home and personal use or for commercial and business use a good spring cleaning is always a good idea. Getting rid of old things and deciding to get new things and redesign them brings up some questions about AV. Many people will frequently come across a decision to reuse the AV or electrical systems that they have in place or whether they need to get a new one.
The idea to reuse an AV system is normally the client’s idea, however, the AV installer and the AV designer will all have their own input and ideas about this. When working with a budget it’s always a good idea to try to pinch pennies when you can. But pretending something is in good working condition when it’s not it’s just going to cost you more money down the road. The designer and the installer both have this in the back of their mind ( though the designer is going to try to reuse as much as possible where the installer will not spend as much time on that typically) and the nice thing about AV systems is unlike, say, an air conditioning unit, you don’t have to get rid of the entire thing essentially, you can reuse bits and pieces if they’re still good. You might need new screens or new monitors, but your projector is just fine. You might need new sound equipment, but the soundproofing solution is just fine. It’s important that the AV designer and the AV installer work together to reuse as much as possible while not being overly hopeful about the equipment which could cause problems later on.
Our approach at AV Bend is that every job has one thing in common… power. You need power and it needs to be clean. This means clean, with no buzz and a dedicated ground must be established for the AV system. I was asked to do a quote for a church and everything looked straightforward until I ask to look at the electrical panel. They told me “ oh this caught fire once” and it sure looked that way, though it had been repaired. The repair did not include any upgrades or accommodations for audiovisual. On top of that everything shared a common ground. This once easy fix is no longer acceptable. I had to tell them, then I sourced an electrician to get the panel and wiring done the way I needed before I could prepare an AV design and bill of materials list. This cost the customer thousands of dollars before any AV gear was purchased, but in this case, we had to rip out the old so we could build onto a brand new electrical foundation. This luckily doesn’t happen all that often but If I had just put in the system with what they had before it could have been a fire danger or broken the equipment I put in; which would have cost them more in the long run.
The bottom line is that when working with an AV designer, installer, and possibly an electrician deciding what AV system to reuse make sure you have clean power. In addition to clean power a system that’s up-to-date and going to be working with your needs over at least the next couple of years. This way you will avoid the dangers of an outdated or not up to code system.
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Things to keep in mind when establishing the reputation of your company.
Written By: Tony Sprando and Kate Couch
Most people fall under the assumption that reputation can only be built over time. The mom-and-pop shop that’s been around since the 50s doing things the good old-fashioned way. Or the tried-and-true Google ratings. Though these things can be important for a business to have they are not everything. It seems like everyone is so focused on the “eye candy.” What can they do to instantly catch people’s attention? A flashy website, cool photos, merchandise, or a 5-star review on Google. But the problem is with the focus placed on the things that may satisfy the instant gratification, the hard-working, job well-done, reputation can fall through the cracks. When browsing the internet the internet, cool, stock images may catch the eye but don’t really replace or represent a good reputation
This idea of judging a book by its cover has been around for eons. When looking for a place to eat, when looking for a new book to read, even when looking for a spouse we tend to go with things that we notice first, things that catch our eye. The problem with these things is that they tend to not last or properly represent their value. I have read plenty of books with gorgeous covers and even better pages, I have also chosen based of the flashy cover and they ended up being awful. There is precedent importance on the little things, though not as shiny they hold a much deeper hidden weight.
What makes a good company good?
When thinking about what makes good company things like excellent customer service, quality products, timely delivery and installation, and pleasant employees all come to mind. These things often drive the inspiration for a five-star rating on Google. Novice business owners frequently focus on getting the rating rather than building the foundation for these grounds. If you want good reviews on the internet look at where your customers are most frequently involved with your company. How is your customer service? If you’re providing a service like AV are you executing their ideas and solving their problems? These things will build an excellent reputation for your brand.
What is AV Bend’s formula?
Every job comes down to the person leaving it from start to finish. Did the customer have a good experience on the phone? Did the customer’s ideas get executed properly? Did the customer understand what was happening and what technology or systems were being integrated into their business or home? These are the questions that AV Bend asks themselves while on the job to make sure that the job, start to finish is done properly and the customer feels satisfied. These are the grounds for a good reputation, that any business AV or not can follow.
An AV Bend Story
Most of our AV jobs are start to finish but every once in a while we’ll have particularly more involvement with the customer involving higher-level AV techs. In one case, a customer needed more training (learning how to operate the things being installed) on their project than what was in our normal scope of work, so they felt frustrated. This is understandable and luckily doesn’t happen too frequently. There’s always a way to make things right. We made a point to take the customer out to lunch and listen. Listening is the best tool we have. This made them feel important and we then proceeded to buy the entire onsite team dinner and provide an in-depth training session. This wrapped up the job nicely, informed all of our employees, and made a customer feel listened to. All these things were important to making the project properly executed.
Listening in any area of life is extraordinarily important and gives me the difference between a good reputation and a bad one.
Upon researching definitions for the “wow factor,” I came across the following descriptions:
- A set of properties belonging to an object or service that pleasantly surprises a consumer. From commercials to cool electronics, the wow factor is an important aspect to consider.
- A striking or impressive feature
- We create entertaining and interactive experiences that result in positive consumer engagement with your brand… that is The WOW factor!
And while these definitions and descriptions definitely have their place in marketing and promotions, I believe that for the AV industry, the wow factor is totally overrated. I have found that at the end of every project I have completed, my customers weren’t looking for the wow factor. They just wanted a system that was easy to operate.
For example, I’ve had a couple project “take-overs,” which means I took a project over from another AV company. While this other AV company had the project for a few years, the customer chose to use my services instead for two key reasons:
- The system was over-engineered and therefore, costly to support
- The system was poorly installed and consequently required a service contract to keep it running.
As I initially looked at the project site and its technology, it was obvious the initial AV company sold the customers the most expensive solution. This trapped them into a never-ending spiral of being dependent on the AV company to keep the system running. The customer was 60% pleased with the system and merely tolerated what they believed to be the only option. They felt stuck.
The Issue with the Wow Factor
Herein lies the issue of the wow factor — get the customer to just nod and trust whatever the AV consultant says, without really understanding what they are getting. This is also called being steam rolled. Most AV salespersons are pretty prideful and will tell you want you need and they know best. Beware of this. If you can discern some humility in your initial meeting with them, proceed. Otherwise be cautions.
Speaking of reasons to be cautious, remember the proverbial saying, “All that glitters is not gold.” Shakespeare is the best-known writer to have expressed this idea and it has many meanings:
- The shining outer look of something is not a consistent sign of its real character,
- Not everyone that appears good, turns out to be good,
- Not everything that is apparently glittery is precious, and
- Something that looks to be perfect but not in real life.
Watch Out for These Sales Traits
While I couldn’t find any clear and focused resources on helping you identify poor sales techniques from a customer’s perspective, the Sales Hacker had an insightful list of poor sales traits including:
- A salesperson who is as clueless about the product as the customer.
- A salesperson who loves talking so much that they forgot to listen.
- A salesperson who is unable to ask the right questions.
- A salesperson who has a sense of entitlement for being so good at what they do.
- A salesperson who views everyone as a prospect.
- A salesperson who is more focused on products that on people.
Again, beware of the wow factor in either the company, the salesperson or the technology. Choose a company and consultant with a proven track record of service and customer referrals. And get out of the way of those steam rollers.
The Wow Factor – Los Angeles and New York
The Sales Hacker
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