My wife and I went to Disney World this past weekend, and I couldn’t believe the level of quality in everything we experienced, from the AV to the service in general. Not once was I let down. And it struck me that we simply can’t let our clients down when it comes to customer service. We have to over-deliver every single time. Disney has the benefit of a great brand, strong word of mouth, and repeat customers. Every client for us is new business, even if it originates from a referral or word of mouth.
Disney is in a constant state of change and growth. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them projecting images into the sky during the nightly fireworks display. They used the sky and Cinderella’s castle as projection screens. Those had to be some mega-projectors. People were blown away. All I could think about was how much they invested to surprise and delight their guests.
OK, so we can’t ramp up 50,000 lumens for our clients, but we can do the little things. I never saw a speck of trash the whole time I was in the park. Every single person working there was happy and had a smile on their face. Nothing was broken, everything worked and worked flawlessly. Every item had a place and every person had a purpose.
We need to do the same things:
1.Invest in delighting your clients. Make sure you know the products and brands that you recommend inside and out so you can make the system sing when you integrate everything. Spend time in trainings, spend time playing with product in your own home and in the office and invest in your people in the same way.
2.Don’t ignore the little things.a. I usually use “scoops” or bulk wall plates for cables. I always thought it was too much time, effort, and cost to do ported plates with inserts. I’m rethinking that after this week. Install HDMI wall plates, speaker binding posts, Cat-6 inserts, RCA and F connector inserts. Point it out to your client; take credit for it! While they may not be impressed at first, next time they are at friend’s house and see a bulk wallplate, they’ll appreciate the extra effort you went to and it will make them think more highly of you and your business.
b.Use better quality speaker cable or a higher gauge wires. Use better banana plugs, better HDMI cables with stronger connectors that won’t break as easily. Explain why you use these products (more reliable, fewer service calls, better performance) and why they may cost a little more.
c.Don’t go with something just because it costs less and “the client will never see it.” Your reputation is on the line. Do you want to be just another AV company in the middle of the pack or do you want to stand out?
3.Keep things running. How does Disney keep everything running, when they’re open to visitors from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.? They work tirelessly at night to maintain and service everything. Translate that to our business. Sell service contracts so that you can catch frayed wires, clean dusty equipment, install firmware updates, use network diagnostic tools (Pakedge BackPack or ihiji or Bluebolt) and keep clients’ systems up and running so they don’t experience downtime.
This weekend inspired me to step up my game. I’m going to double down on my service. I’m going to invest in my business with more training, more demo product, and better product lines for the black boxes and bits-and-pieces. Clients may not see it themselves, but I will be sure to point it out to them, both in the estimating and selling process as well as in the install and training we do.
+Todd Anthony Pumais president of The Source Home Theater Installation in New York City.