A colleague of mine just had an embarrassing experience that could have been easily prevented had one of his vendors been on top of things.
The management company for a client’s building rejected the integrator’s insurance (for those not doing much work in condos and apartments, the buildings all require proof of insurance before they will let you in to do any work.) Being an integrator in New York City, all of his work is in large buildings. It turns out that his insurance carrier has had some bad press recently because in the very fine print of its policies the company excludes some very common coverages, such as for injury to employees.
After some checking around, it turns out that many buildings are now rejecting insurance from Utica First. So right now he is scrambling to find another insurance company to work with for a reasonable price so he doesn’t lose the project. Had his insurance broker been proactive, they would have added two plus two and realized that with all the bad press Utica First might not be the right fit for someone doing work in full-service NYC buildings, and they could have reached out to the integrator to solve the issue before it became a problem and he looked bad in front of his client.
That got me to thinking about all that we can do to proactively make ourselves look great in front of the client.
Needless to say many of things that we all do on a regular basis are extremely important. Dressing the part, presenting professional proposals, conducting yourself with a professional demeanor, installing reliable products, maintaining strong manufacturer relationships, and a host of other criteria go into this. But one thing that we need to be sure we incorporate is proactively monitoring client systems to make sure we know of any problems before the client does. That is where remote monitoring platforms come into play.
My favorites remote monitoring platforms right now are mycrestron.com; Bakpak by Pakedge; OvrC by SnapAV, and Bluebolt from Panamax/Furman. There are definitely others, but these are the ones we are currently using and with which we have found success.
It is a great feeling to call a client and tell them that you received an alert that their network was down and that you have already rebooted it to get it back up and running. Often, a client will say, “Wow, I was just going to call you. That is amazing that you were able to fix it before I had to call!” That is the moment when positive word-of-mouth starts to really kick in for your company. An amazing experience like that gets clients talking about your company is a positive light, instead of them complaining that their network is down and they had to call to schedule an appointment, and that it took a day for someone to come to their house and get them back up and running. When you call to either tell them it is fixed or to tell them that something isn’t working properly and that you want to schedule a service call to get it up and running again, you now have a client for life.
It definitely does take more time and is more expensive to put remote monitoring equipment in during the install. Many dealers have found success bundling service contracts with remote monitoring equipment to ensure that clients are well taken care of that the integrator’s bottom line is improved. However you decide to manage and bill for the remote monitoring and service in your business, it is always better to proactively have a solution than to wait for the client to call with a problem that blindsides you.
In the case of my colleague with the insurance problem, had his broker reached out proactively, that company and the integrator would not be scrambling now for a solution, and the client never would have known there was a problem.