Years ago, our company used to get lots of calls to do satellite system installations. The problem was, we never did enough volume to get on one of the “programs” where we could get a big kickback for signing up customers to lengthy contracts. And we didn’t really want to be in the “satellite contract” sales and management business. Plus, like many of your installers, our techs were used to doing a quality level of work and wire concealment that meant the installs took far longer than the $99 hang-and-bang systems we were competing against in the ads, and when people got a satellite installation at our normal labor rate, they, umm, weren’t happy.
So, we got out of the satellite installation business.
What we did was partner with a local installer named Mac who was happy just doing satellite installs. When we had an interested client, we’d call Mac, tell him what we were planning on doing, and then he’d go out, spec it in, deal with the entire satellite side of things, and just hand us the satellite boxes when it was time to integrate them into our rack. He was happy because we just sent him hot leads and he got to keep all the satellite moneys, and we were happy because we didn’t have to touch or be responsible for any of the satellite stuff.
This happy arrangement went on for many years, until Mac decided to retire.
Interestingly, this almost perfectly coincided with DISH developing its Custom Integration Program, which was launched at CEDIA 2016, and that we signed up for shortly after. If you aren’t familiar with this program, you should definitely read on as it might fill a perfect hole in your company’s offerings and could very well be considered one of the industry’s best value partnerships.
DISH created the CI program to address the unique needs of our channel, as well as almost all of the pain points that both installers and customers face during a typical interaction with the cable or satellite company.
First, show me someone that loves dealing with the cable company and I’ll show you a true sadist worthy of lengthy visit to Dr. Scrivello from Little Shop of Horrors. But most cable and satellite providers end up forcing the customer to be the point of contact; signing paperwork, picking up hardware, and dealing with any support issues. Our clients are often out of town, and just want to show up and enjoy their homes and entertainment systems, not be told they need to carve out an afternoon to go drive down to deal with the cable service provider and wait in line to get a new whatever.
DISH addresses this by giving integrators the ability to create accounts for clients, schedule appointments, and become a decision maker on the account, handling any problems or changes as if they were the homeowner.
Second, one of the major nightmares of dealing with the cable company is trying to get someone on the phone for any help or when trying to schedule a visit. I know that providers are trying to get better with servicing, but spending an hour on the phone and being given a four-plus-hour arrival window is not really the kind of service that makes you and the client want to high-five each other.
DISH has a concierge team dedicated to the CI channel that is available from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM MT, 365 days a year. Regular dealers or customers can’t call this line, so there are virtually no waits. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever had the phone ring more than twice when I’ve called. And when the phone is answered, it isn’t by a robot or someone learning English in a faraway land; it is by a real-live human tech right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. How good is this service? Well, it ranked highest in Customer Satisfaction among In-Home Service Technicians by J.D. Power and our customers. So, boosh.
This team can help with advanced system design, say for the 32-room mansion you’re spec’ing out. They will come up with schematics and proposals, letting you know exactly which parts and pieces you’ll need to have to ensure the design will work as promised. They will also schedule on-site visits, including pre-installation site surveys to confirm that the install will actually work and that the dish can be mounted in a location favorable to the client, and can even provide system design diagrams upon request. They are also trained in working with advanced control and integration solutions, the type of which are likely to be included on our projects.
The cost for this service? Nothing. You’re welcome.
And because DISH realizes that the kinds of clients that integrators are likely to send them aren’t going to be junk accounts that will sign up for service and then cancel or not pay, the CI accounts are all tagged as VIP, and don’t require a credit check, authorization agreement, or service contract.
When it comes time for installation, the DISH install team tasked to the CI accounts are the top DISH technicians in your area, and are knowledgeable in completing and troubleshooting large and complex installations. These top-tier installers understand DISH is essentially a guest on the CI dealer’s job, and they are trained to act accordingly.
The installers remain in constant contact with your designated point of contact, giving a guaranteed arrival on your day of choice within a two-hour window. When they arrive, they defer to your company, making sure that the installation is done to your standards. The DISH install team handles all DISH related wiring, including mounting and sighting-in the physical dish, setting LNBs, and running any necessary coax cabling. Satellite receivers are ordered ahead of time so they can be activated and commissioned and racked and wired into your system, cutting down any waiting around on the job.
And instead of dealing with the garbage STB hardware that is the bane of you and your customer’s existence, you’ll be working with state-of-the-art 4K capable gen 3 Hoppers and Joeys that are class leading in every regard. From an industry-leading Broadcom 7445 with a quad-core Arm processor running at 1.5 GHz that provides an ultra-zippy browsing experience, to the 2 Terabyte drive that can store hundreds of hours of HD programming, with 16 HD tuners capable of simultaneous recording, Multi-view “Sports Bar” mode to watch any four channels on screen simultaneously, and built-in Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube apps, the Hopper 3 provides the kind of TV watching experience your customers will expect.
On the integration front, DISH offers two-way integration with Control4, ELAN, URC, and Key Digital, with one-way integration for Crestron SIMPL Windows, Crestron Home, and RTI. DISH also supports voice-control integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Josh.ai, and can be a Play-Fi system audio endpoint. The company says that two-way Savant integration is coming soon.
To be eligible for the CI program, dealers must have been in business for at least two years, be certified on a professionally installed control system, be locally licensed and registered, carry liability, workers compensation, and commercial automobile insurance, and submit a background check.
Once approved, there is also a CI showroom program in place so dealers can become familiar with using DISH, test control system integration, and demonstrate DISH content to clients. To participate, dealers purchase DISH equipment at wholesale and schedule installation at their showroom with the concierge team, which costs $160 and includes all necessary LNBs, reflectors, switches, and hubs. A $60 annual fee includes every channel available on DISH, including premium movie channels.
And the final cherry on top? DISH just started a recurring monthly revenue program available to all CI dealers that pays $20 per month per qualified account. (Qualifying accounts must have at least three DISH set-top boxes, including the Hopper 3, and America’s Top 200 programming package or above.) ProSource members are eligible to receive an additional RMR incentive paid in a quarterly rebate. You sign up 100 accounts over a few years, and that adds up to some real money!
Dedicated top-tier service and support, industry leading hardware, low-cost content for your showroom, and an RMR program? The DISH CI program checks all the boxes, and is definitely something you should investigate!
For more information on the program, visit dish.com/customintegration.
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