I know everyone has been writing about the SnapAV acquisition of Control4, but one perspective I have not seen is from the view of a blue-bleeding Crestron dealer, who happens to be a big SnapAV supporter as well. I guess this could be from the perspective of really anyone but a Control4 dealer — URC, Savant, ELAN, RTI, and so on.
We have not always been SnapAV dealers. In fact, I used to equate them with Monoprice. I admit I didn’t do my homework — I thought they were cheap, direct-to-consumer products that a reputable dealer wouldn’t touch. But a colleague of mine kept raving about them — two-day shipping, great customer service, reliable product, no hassle returns, knowledgeable tech support, protected product, and an overall CI-friendly business philosophy. Several years later, we are now well into the SnapAV product mix — everything from mounts, cables, and bulk wire to HDMI extenders and networking. An added bonus is that we were always big believers in Autonomics, so when Snap bought them, it just grew our portfolio with Snap. And as an added benefit, our customer service and tech support improved dramatically. We went from waiting 10, 20, 30 minutes on hold to getting through to tech support within minutes. We went from having to return defective product before getting a replacement to having advanced replacements sent out via next-day delivery.
This can only bode well for Control4. When Control4 first purchased Pakedge, I saw customer service deteriorate — tech support wait times ballooned and support techs didn’t know the Pakedge product well. We ended up moving all of our networking business to Araknis. I would expect that, as the acquirer, SnapAV will maintain their focus on customer service, great tech support, putting the dealer first, and maintaining a dealer-only model. This means that the sometimes long tech support waits that Control4 dealers have experienced will hopefully be a thing of the past. Not to mention that there will now be two-day delivery to most of the country, meaning that dealers have to stock less and can turn around jobs faster.
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In fact, if I was not so deeply connected to Crestron to the point that it feels like family, I would be inclined to give Control4 a shot in our product mix. There can only be good things in Control4’s future. However, I bleed blue so will not be taking on a new control line. But I do have new-found respect for Control4 and feel more confident than ever that they will maintain their dealer-only model and continue to grow and improve our industry.