For the seventh year, we’re turning to you, our readers, to determine the winners of our SCN Stellar Service Awards. We encourage you to take a minute to reflect on the companies that have made the difficult task of running your business a little bit easier, and thank them with a vote on our ballot. The ballot will close on Friday, March 6 at 6 p.m. ET.
Below, we’ve listed all the candidates for each category. Please take a moment to read through the descriptions and vote here.
The winner will be announced in the April 2020 issue of Systems Contractor News.
Best Use of an Afternoon (Best Online Training)
Biamp understands that creating extraordinary AV experiences needs amazing AV solutions and great training. Biamp empowers AV professionals with free expert online training packed with information that digs into the trends, practices, products, and solutions. With this free comprehensive training, designing, integrating, and troubleshooting Biamp systems is a walk in the park. Available 24/7, in an easy-to-consume format, AV professionals can learn at their own pace and on their schedule while earning AVIXA renewal units.
Crestron Technical Institute
Looking for a great way to spend an afternoon or just a few minutes to free your mind and expand your knowledge? Crestron’s online training lets you take classes anytime, anywhere. We provide training in a multiple of languages via our translated subtitled videos. With Crestron, industry professionals can spend their afternoon learning about the AV industry and Crestron products right from their smartphone, laptop, or tablet!
Extron offers convenient online training in multiple languages on existing and emerging technologies, including 4K and beyond, digital video, network AV, fiber optics, twisted pair, streaming AV, audio DSP, and control configuration, including hands-on practice with DSP and Control software. The new and improved Extron training portal delivers an enhanced learning experience from anywhere on a computer or mobile device. Extron also offers a Publications Review program, which qualifies participants for industry certification renewal units.
Peerless-AV Certified Installer Training Program
With Peerless-AV’s Certified Installer Training Program, installers are able to receive customized, hands-on sessions to fit installation needs. Through both in-person or online webinar options, the Peerless-AV Certified Installer Training Program and courses demonstrate the importance of proper installation techniques and safety, and address efficient methods to reduce the risk of faulty installations. Peerless-AV’s five level program allow installers and integrators to learn new skills or refine their past learnings.
QSC Online Training
QSC’s online training program offers dozens of courses and over 900 videos that allow students to learn at their own pace. Skilled (and hilarious) presenters keep the content moving with short, engaging videos. QSC introduced several new courses in the last 12 months alone, including advanced courses for third-party control, video streaming, remote monitoring, business music, and K.2 Series loudspeakers. Classes are available in several languages and, the best part, they’re free!
The Shure Audio Institute
With increasing innovation, it’s essential for today’s audio professionals to be on top of technical insights and training. The Shure Audio Institute (SAI)—a global education and training program—provides professionals access to deep knowledge and practical skills on several topics including technical support, sales, and product solutions that will enable you to effectively manage any client situation. It’s Shure’s goal to share its know-how and expertise so you can succeed.
Best Excuse to Leave the Office (Best In-House Training Program)
Biamp’s AV Lab Certification (AVLC)
Biamp’s AV Lab Certification (AVLC) is recognized throughout the industry as the apex of AV training. AVLC provides AV professionals with superior aptitude for designing, implementing, and troubleshooting Biamp systems. Instruction takes place in a hands-on laboratory environment at headquarters where participants are presented with a real-world scenario of commissioning a system from networking and audio, to video and control. Our hands-on training also extends internationally with multi-day sessions offered worldwide throughout the year.
Crestron Technical Institute
The best way to learn is by having fun! Crestron offers a phenomenal range of courses that meet the students' demand for hands-on, exercise-based training where learning is re-enforced through fun and challenging exercises, not just listening. Our updated Introduction to Crestron Programming and new Crestron Flex for IT-Professionals courses are two examples where we successfully designed a course track that speaks to our students.
Education and training are the cornerstones of Extron’s commitment to our customers. Our Extron Institute training and certification programs cover existing and emerging technologies, including 4K and beyond, digital video, network AV, fiber optics, twisted pair, audio DSP, streaming AV, and control configuration. Courses are offered at 30 Extron training centers worldwide. In addition to AV technology training, participants will learn best practices for system design, installation, and troubleshooting through hands-on experiences in real-world scenarios.
Premier Mounts Direct Video LED Video Wall Installation Training
Premier Mounts understands the importance of staying up to speed with the latest AV technology and effective ways to install mounts. Installers should pay attention to detail and have immense knowledge of mounting hardware and the installation process. We offer a one-day installation training course at our Corona, CA headquarters where installers are properly trained for various mounting solutions including those used for LCD and LED video walls. Participants earn 4 CTS RU credits for the course.
Shure RF Certification Program
With the spectrum landscape becoming increasingly crowded, RF coordinators are asked to do more with less. To better prepare audio professionals in today’s evolving wireless marketplace, The Shure Audio Institute (SAI) launched the RF Certification Program. This certification provides RF coordinators and audio professionals with hands-on training conducted by Shure’s team of dedicated RF engineers and expert facilitators. The program arms participants with the skills needed to navigate and troubleshoot complex RF situations.
Sound Productions offers a broad scope of educational opportunities in its state-of-the-art Experience Center. SoundPro puts on approximately two to four events per month, with topics ranging from classroom style application courses (AV 101, RF frequency coordination, AVoIP) to in-depth, hands-on mixing workshops with industry experts. There is truly something for everyone. You can also visit their Experience Center Monday through Friday to demo product or enjoy free lunch and giveaways at one of their Customer Appreciation events.
SYNNEX VISUALSolv provides training, certification, enablement, and professional development for sales, engineering and executives. As an authorized AVIXA training center, SYNNEX offers CTS Prep. Inspire, Varnex and Red, White & You conferences include cloud, IoT, and secure networking and needs for vertical markets like public sector, healthcare, and regulated industries. Immersive Exchange, Stellr, and Secret Sauce provide regional trainings. The annual Strategic Partner Summit and Executive Conference give insight into market, technology, and development trends.
The Dealer Portal You Want to Keep Going Back to (Best Website Dealer Portal)
BlackWire’s website offers a clean, simple tool that allows customers to find their solution quickly and easily. With its built-in chat system, the BlackWire team is there to assist in finding the perfect product. If dealers need technical support, the website features a built-in ticketing system as well. A convenient driver marketplace offers an extensive range of software for Control4 and URC platforms, and BlackWire maintains a database packed with informative articles and guides.
Backed by a team of highly talented web designers, Crestron.com is a one-stop shop offering 24/7 access to the latest configuration tools, manuals, and more. Constantly updated with new functionalities, our website is designed to provide dealers with a sophisticated user-experience. When logging into Crestron.com, guests instantly see tailored content relevant to their business, making it simple to find what they need and to stay up to date with the latest Crestron news.
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 in just a few clicks. Users can also access product configuration tools, videos, training enrollment forms, and valuable technical articles, white papers, and design guides. Extron has taken extra care to provide each Extron Insider with access to the precise information they need for their specific job.
Sales Support You Can Believe In (Best Sales Operation)
Crestron Sales Support Services
Our Sales Support Services (SSS) Team is comprised of experienced solution engineers and administrators, dedicated to delivering world class service to our customers worldwide. Our team provides assistance with all technical, pricing, system design, and quotation related inquiries; perform comparative analysis for competitive projects and quotes; sales tools, information, application drawings, Design/Best-Practices Guides, CAD/Visio-Blocks, Revit/BIM Files, Architectural and CSI format Specifications.
Extron was founded on the core value of professional integrity with the ultimate goal of complete customer satisfaction. This commitment is reflected in our three ongoing guiding principles: Service, Support, and Solutions. Extron employees are prepared to do whatever it takes to make certain that the entire process of doing business with us is a positive and professionally rewarding experience for you.
MSE Audio: Free EASE Design to Maximize Audio Integration
MSE Audio works alongside dealers with design layouts to maximize audio integration. The same in-house engineers that are responsible for designing our products will prepare EASE reports at no cost and are available to help customers utilizing them. Also, MSE Audio has implemented a new website to ensure customers a fast, safe and informative experience. MSE Audio’s shipping policy provides dealers with same day shipping for orders placed before 12:00pm CT and on-site pickup.
An excellent sales experience has been at the forefront of Shure’s business for over 94 years. Shure’s Product Technical Support Team offers incomparable pre and post-sales support by receiving real-time feedback from end-users enabling Shure to produce the company’s superior products that surpass their customer’s expectations—all at a competitive price. If issues do emerge, Shure’s Service Department is standing by to deliver advanced technical support while resolving product repairs immediately.
Symetrix Sales Team
From pre-sales to smooth order entry and fulfillment, the Symetrix Sales team is fast, knowledgeable, and fun! Whether you call one of our regional managers, our special projects consultant, or inside sales we connect you to product answers fast. When you call or e-mail, we personally answer, and we do everything in our power to get gear in your hands quickly and reliably. We’re obsessed with delivering a phenomenal customer experience through flawless execution!
SYNNEX VISUALSolv has dedicated and specialized inside and field-based sales and engineering teams that provide next-level and personalized support. The teams are highly trained and certified on leading brands and the technologies required to deliver best-in-class solutions. SYNNEX offers online ordering, a mobile app for checking stock and placing orders, and regional warehousing for immediate and long-term projects. VISUALSolv also provides customized spiff, SPL and registration reporting, e-storefronts, financial programs, and professional development and training.
The Number You Have on Autodial (Best Tech Support)
BlackWire’s technical support is simply unmatched in the industry. Not only does the company reply to phone calls and support tickets, but it also offers a built-in chat system on its website—a feature unique to the distributors. And while other distributors limit their support to normal business hours, BlackWire is available after hours as needed to accommodate customers that may be working on projects late at night or on the weekends.
Crestron True Blue Support Services
Crestron has built a world-renowned support team, providing the most complete & dedicated technical assistance in the industry. The name, "True Blue Support" clearly states our mission of putting our customers first while assuring their continued success deploying Crestron products for their clients. For problems that can’t be resolved remotely, our Advanced Technical Support Group is prepared to catch the next flight out and will not leave the customer’s side until they are 100 percent happy.
Extron tech support is second-to-none in the industry. Customers will always hear a live voice on our 24-hour support hotline. We provide after-hours technical support, including weekends and holidays. Whether you need help commissioning or designing small to large systems or have a last-minute troubleshooting question in the middle of the night, a trained and knowledgeable engineer will be there to help. Extron stands by our 100 percent satisfaction guarantee!
At Matrox, our team of dedicated technical support specialists and application engineers not only stand behind our products, but also our clients. OEMs, system integrators, and end users rely on Matrox to provide efficient over-the-phone support and remote sessions when needed. Our world-class teams do the work of providing seamless customer service—including pre- and post-sales care, developer support, and integration assistance—so our clients can quickly return to doing what they do best.
Shure has believed that the best tech support is derived from human-to-human interaction and it still does today. Unlike most companies that have transitioned to automated systems, Shure’s application engineers have developed an extensive FAQ database—featuring 5,000-plus entries—and published industry-specific educational publications. Technical support is available to customers worldwide via phone or email from application engineers who draw on almost 200 years of audio industry experience to directly address customer questions.
Symetrix Technical Support Team
The Symetrix Technical Support team is comprised of industry veterans with 30 years combined Symetrix experience, over 100 years combined audio experience, and decades of experience in customer service and networking. We are analytical problem solvers who provide the highest caliber of technical support and go above and beyond the call of duty to assist our customers. We are passionate about all things audio and love the opportunity to share that with our customers.
Vanco Technical Support
Vanco International is committed to being a helpful resource for the AV dealer and distributor communities. To ensure high-quality customer experiences, Vanco offers stellar technical support, from knowledgeable experts, via phone, a live chat feature, and 24/7 email support. Vanco also hosts product training guides, presentations, videos, and flexible training webinars publicly on their website to deliver robust industry knowledge and in-depth product demonstrations, across Vanco’s four popular brands, to distributors and dealers digitally.
Xilica - Technical Services Group
Xilica's world-class Technical Services Group (TSG) provides round-the-clock, 24-hour support to AV integrators, installers, and consultants globally from offices in Toronto, Sacramento, Amsterdam, Dubai, and Hong Kong via email, local language telephone, live chat, on-demand FAQ, webinar, and on-site commissioning. TSG staff are CTS-certified, former integrators boasting over 30 years average experience in the field with Xilica and competitor products, and understand AV systems from input to output.
Your Design Co-Pilot (Best Design Services)
Crestron Color Match
Crestron has a variety of services that help streamline the design process for designers. Our exclusive Color Match service allows Crestron roller shades to tie in flawlessly with any customer’s design scheme. All you have to do is provide a Pantone color code or a physical color sample and a Crestron expert will do the rest. No other manufacturer offers this level of customization and flexibility.
SYNNEX VISUALSolv has a highly trained and certified team of design engineers available to assist with everything from pre-sales support, peer review, and design collaboration to full solution design with detailed BOMs. Engineers provide complimentary assessments across AV technologies and manage assessment delivery for adjacent technologies including wireless networks, storage and cloud. The team holds certifications including DSCE, CTS, CTS-D, and BICSI. CTS Prep classes are also offered to SYNNEX partners.
Your Best Defense Against Scope Creep (Best Project Management Platform)
D-Tools System Integrator (SI) Software
D-Tools System Integrator (SI) is a robust business software that helps manage all aspects of an integrator’s business, including sales, comprehensive system design, project documentation, procurement, installation, back office management, and service, through a data-driven process that leverages an extensive and integrated product library. D-Tools software helps streamline the entire project workflow for integrators, leading to improved operational efficiencies and increased profitability.
The Storyteller that Keeps You on the Edge of Your Seat (Best Content Creation)
Crestron Electronics, Inc.
At Crestron, we value our customers and take a special interest in helping AV and IT teams tell their story. With a gallery full of awesome customer success stories that highlight projects across all industries, we strive to create a space for inspiration and tribute. In addition to case studies and video testimonials, Crestron develops some of the most engaging and creative brochures, manuals, editorial ads, and social content in the industry!
*All descriptions are provided by contest entrants and SCN does not guarantee the validity of these statements.