Presenting the Winners of the Second Annual SCN Stellar Service Awards

Presenting the Winners of the Second Annual SCN Stellar Service Awards

  • A first reference to customer service might be met with headaches and complaints—it’s the lifeline we rely on when something goes wrong. But service is so much more than just coming to the customer’s rescue—it’s the training sessions, shipping, sales, product demos, every piece of the company that makes the service great.

Through our constant communication with the manufacturers and distributors of the industry, we’ve heard stories of some amazing customer service—no matter how small or outlandish, each request is met with enthusiasm and dedication to assure the job gets done right.

Customers have become accustomed to this quality in service, and that’s why AV companies strive to meet and exceed these expectations. From the minute the company starts a relationship with a client, they work to make sure everything runs smoothly.

The editors here at SCN wanted to create a program that recognizes the manufacturers and distributors that go above and beyond with their customer programs. That’s how the Stellar Service Awards were born—as a way to recognize and thank these outstanding service programs.

In its second year, winners for the SCN Stellar Service Awards were selected based on readers’ votes, and further vetted by a panel of integrator and consultant judges. We broke our winners into two categories—one for manufacturers and another for distributors, and, where applicable, honored the top two winners for each category with Platinum and Gold accolades.

And the winners of this year’s SCN Stellar Service Awards are:


Best Use of An Afternoon (Best Online Training)

PLATINUM: Crestron

Online courses from Crestron offer a convenient alternative for busy AV professionals that want to begin their learning experience or increase their knowledge of Crestron products. First, there are full-length, introductory self-paced courses that are prerequisite to attending specified classroom training. These courses provide a great way to get essential information that will benefit any system designer, installer, or programmer, whether they attend classroom training or not. Also available are Crestron Quick Courses, individual short movies that cover a variety of specific topics and tips.

GOLD: Symetrix

Symetrix offers award-winning online training to help partners and integrators build competency across the range of solutions offered. From live, one-hour webinars on specific product functions to self-paced video tutorials on the whole product range, Symetrix provides educational resources to consistently keep the industry up to speed. By understanding how to use the products effectively with real-world applications, partner employees can select the training courses to build competencies that complement their overall partner strategy and application focus. From time to time, Symetrix also teams up with Audinate—creator of the industry-leading Dante networked media technology—to deliver a range of online trainings focused on audio transport.


Best Excuse To Leave The Office (Best In-House Training Program)

PLATINUM: Extron Electronics

Education and training are the cornerstones of Extron’s commitment to its customers. Extron Institute and certification programs enable AV professionals to build upon their understanding of existing technologies and to learn about emerging technologies such as 4K, streaming AV, and control configuration. Courses are designed to encourage explorations of a wide range of digital and hybrid system designs and to experiment with various implementation methods for effective AV resource management.

GOLD: Biamp

Part of the Biamp Education Experience, Biamp’s hands-on product certification training provides customers with a comprehensive face-to-face learning program. Designed to empower integrators and consultants with information, exercises, and tips for Biamp’s products, the multi-day sessions offered in the U.S., Hong Kong, UAE, and India have become an industry standard for the global delivery of comprehensive AV education. Led by Biamp application engineers, sessions also include an interactive bonus: a copious lunch!


The Dealer Portal You Want To Keep Going Back To (Best Website Dealer Portal)

PLATINUM: Extron Electronics

Extron Insider provides customers with access to Extron software downloads, certification programs, system builders that allow users to quickly and easily build a system and order online, product configuration tools, informational product and training videos, and access to valuable technical articles, white papers, and design guides. Extron has taken care to provide each Extron Insider with access to the exact information he or she needs for his or her specific job.

GOLD: Middle Atlantic Products

Middle Atlantic’s website makes it easy for dealers to find the right products they need, along with helpful videos, product drawings, white papers, and A&E specifications. In addition to accessing dealer information, including recent orders, stock availability, and account-specific pricing, the site includes the new web-based configurator that enables customers to easily select, configure, quote and purchase the precise infrastructure system to fit their project needs.


Sales Support You Can Believe In (Best Sales Operation)

PLATINUM: Yamaha Commercial Audio

Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. has 24/7 technical and service support at no charge for their customers. When asked, most customers agree that Yamaha Commercial Audio is extremely loyal to their customer base and always available for after-sales support. Product reliability, field and on site training of products through Yamaha Commercial Audio Training Seminars (YCATS) has raised the bar for the commercial audio industry.

GOLD: Draper, Inc.

Draper offers comprehensive screen selection tools and provides continuous training to keep dealers up to date. It works through social media to keep in touch with dealers, distributors, and end users, and provides content for dealers to use on their own social media outreach platforms. It offers literature both in printed form and as a PDF on the Draper website for quick and easy access.

The Rep You Would Hire If You Could (Best Manufacturer’s Rep)

PLATINUM: NEC Display Solutions

The attention that NEC Display Solutions’ outside sales representatives give to their resellers and customers is above and beyond. You can count on a high-quality, experienced account manager to offer you the one-on-one business relationship that you deserve. The account managers are focused on meeting each and every need of their accounts. Many of NEC Displays’ sales representatives have a long tenure with the company, offering continuity of working relationships and support.

The Number You Have On Autodial (Best Tech Support)

PLATINUM: Da-Lite

The Da-Lite technical support team of four has the combined experience of 43 years. They are always a phone call away, and are experts at visualizing whatever problem the person on the other end of the phone is describing, whether it’s calls ranging in topics from new installs to screens from 1962. The Da-Lite tech team prides itself in taking care of the customer as efficiently and thoroughly as possible.

GOLD: Symetrix

Symetrix offers industry-leading technical support worldwide. From local Singapore-based contacts in Asia-Pacific, and their counterparts in the EMEA and CALA regions, to the US HQ team in Seattle, WA, Symetrix offers a friendly voice wherever in the world you're located. The company has a live chat function on its website, giving integrators who are querying product features and system designs the opportunity to connect quickly, while also offering regular multilingual phone support during office hours around the world. The company offers system design proofing, product selection assistance, site file programming and a whole host of other solutions. It also has a technical team widely praised in a range of installation case studies submitted by installers.



The Ultimate Reputation Saver (Best Warranty Program)

PLATINUM: Atlona

Atlona supports its partners and end users with the industry’s most comprehensive protection package, enabling them to specify, purchase and install Atlona products with complete confidence. It begins with Atlona’s 30-day customer satisfaction warranty and next-day advance replacement service, which is backed up with 24/7 tech support and the industry’s only 10-year limited warranty. It all adds up to Atlona’s commitment to product reliability and performance being the ultimate reputation saver.

The Closest Thing To Teleportation (Best Shipping/ Freight Policy)

PLATINUM: Crestron

The Express 48 repair program provides a 48-hour expedited repair service option to Crestron dealers. For a pre-determined fixed rate, Express 48 provides an added layer of support, ensuring rapid turnaround on repairs during time-sensitive projects. Express 48 applies to both warranty and non-warranty Crestron repairs. The procedure is simple. Crestron support representatives ask the customer up front whether they would like to expedite repair services or use the standard repair service option.

Frequent Buyer Smiles (Best Dealer Rewards: Spiff, Co-Op Dollars, Dealer Trips, etc.)

PLATINUM: Crestron

The Crestron Partner Rewards Program (PRP) rewards dealers with more cash awards than ever before. The more you grow the more cash you’ll get back. You can earn awards in two ways, purchase rebate and annual growth rebate, making the Crestron PRP the industry’s most generous incentive program. In addition to cash rewards, dealers can earn credits to be used for paid advertising and other direct marketing initiatives of their choice, with no out-of-pocket costs.

The Most Shareable Online Sales Collateral (Best Online Product Demos/Sales Collateral)

PLATINUM: Da-Lite

Da-Lite provides a plethora of product collateral and images, as well as video content and install videos on da-lite.com, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook for customers to use in training, promotion, and sales. Videos demoing products receive thousands of hits, as do promotional videos, such as the Truth About Sizing, which helps customers right size a screen to the size of the room.

GOLD: Extron Electronics

For most products, Extron provides several forms of collateral to communicate essential information in an easy-to-understand format, including pricing, specs, diagrams, and informative product videos, which highlight essential features. For select products, Extron has created the Out of the Box video series, which illustrates just how easy Extron products are to set up and integrated into any AV system. In addition, Extron offers a mobile version of the web site.


The Distributor’s View

Best Excuse To Leave The Office (Best In-House Training Program)

PLATINUM: Sound Productions, Inc.

Sound Productions has created a fully functional training and demonstration room that provides two to three topic-based training sessions each month. It has a working sound stage, contractor products, recording studio, DJ setup and over a dozen consoles that can control the house mix. The company also boasts the ability to seat over 100 guests in this state-of-the-art room. The best part of its new offering: it provides all of the training for free.

GOLD: Stampede

Stampede is teaming up with InfoComm’s Roundtable Events to bring the bigger, broader Stampede Big Book of AV Tour & Conference, featuring an enhanced ProAV conference-style format comprised of leading industry executives, subject matter, and expert keynote speakers, as well as leading industry manufacturers from every product category. Each daylong conference provides industry insights, technology updates, and training forums for total business needs. Similarly, Stampede University provides 24/7 online training programs for residential integrators anytime, anywhere.

The Dealer Portal You Want To Keep Going Back To (Best Website Dealer Portal)

PLATINUM: AVAD

AVAD added to their convenient online ordering system in 2014 by launching Quote Builder, a customizable dealer sales tool. The value-added website resource quickly generates professional estimates in real time and helps dealers organize sales efforts, track invoices and place orders easily. AVAD customers can save, email, search, or print quotes directly from their dealer account with 24/7 access.

GOLD: C.E.D. Inc.

C.E.D. offers an easy-to-navigate website with a complementary online store available to authorized dealer customers for fast, convenient online ordering. With a personalized account login, C.E.D. delivers a clean, streamlined platform in which dealers can view their completed order entry, browse all product offerings, access accurate pricing details and inventory as well as view in-depth product spec sheets and manuals, empowering dealers with a one-stop shop and resource for all of their consumer electronics needs.

Sales Support You Can Believe In (Best Sales Operation)

PLATINUM: BTX Technologies, Inc.

BTX is a unique and valuable support partner throughout all phases of a project. Its experienced team of CTS-certified professionals can recommend and support solutions from a carefully handpicked pool of high-value, high-tech products that were selected for how well they work and how well they work together. BTX reaches into all diverse corners of the AV industry, and after nearly 50 years of sharing solutions, it has accumulated an arsenal of creative designs that give its customers a true competitive advantage.

GOLD: Stampede

Stampede’s Big Book of AV (BBOAV) offers more than 1,000 pages of AV solutions, providing industry-leading marketing assistance to resellers nationwide. The BBOAV can be custom printed with any company’s logo and information on the cover, so resellers can showcase more than 5,000 SKUs to their own customers without mentioning Stampede. Coupled with the free BBOAV website, Stampede is dedicated to helping resellers look, feel, and act like pros.

The Number You Have On Autodial (Best Tech Support)

PLATINUM: AVAD

AVAD tech support offers integrators extensive product knowledge from an in-house team of experts, aimed at helping dealers hone their competitive edge and troubleshoot system integration. First-class support is available at each of its branches in addition to dedicated phone and email support access. AVAD’s valuable support includes assistance from the AVAD System Design Group, a team of technology experts who provide residential and commercial design services including needs analysis, AutoCAD presentations, and product selection.

GOLD: Stampede

Stampede connects representatives throughout the United States with a powerful, seamless IT infrastructure and responsive customer care team. Through this, integrators can leverage Stampede’s national strength while dealing with contacts that understand their local business. In addition, Stampede’s consistent marketing communications set the standard for market-based industry news and announcements. Field sales offices expand reach, increasing knowledge and intimacy. Stampede hears regularly that its people are the “best in AV.”

The Closest Thing To Teleportation (Best Shipping/ Freight Policy)

PLATINUM: AVAD

AVAD's National Freight Program enables integrators to conveniently pick up or ship orders to streamline their operations and timelines. AVAD's infrastructure, including a network of 23 branches throughout North America, meets the needs and project demands of many different business models. Unique to the industry, AVAD’s vendor relationships allow more flexibility to control a dealer’s inventory and allow AVAD to offer a 30-day hassle-free exchange policy and a 90-day “good as new” return program.

GOLD: Synnex Corporation

With 10 US distribution centers strategically located, Synnex is able to deliver to 95 percent of locations in one day, while offering regionally based customers same-day pickup or delivery. In addition to its reach, Synnex has negotiated rates with the top parcel and LTL carriers, providing customers with options that fit their business. Synnex has the product where and when you need it, with the most competitive rates in the industry.