For the sixth 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 Monday, March 11, so fill yours out today!
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 our 2019 Spring Special Edition of Systems Contractor News.
Best Use Of An Afternoon (Best Online Training)
Technology is rapidly changing, and with more devices becoming network-enabled, Biamp is empowering integrators, system designers, and end users to keep their skills sharp. Biamp’s online training program digs into the trends, practices, products, and solutions needed. Training resources are available 24/7, in a self-paced and easy-to-consume format, available on their schedule. The company also added an industry-leading technology resource—Biamp Cornerstone—with helpful content for every possible need, from VoIP to networking.
Crestron is committed to educating and empowering industry professionals with its world-class online training program. Its training catalog is constantly evolving to match the ease of use of its growing product portfolio, ensuring technology professionals across the world are prepared for anything while out in the field. All of its online courses are available 24/7, in several different languages, allowing students to focus on targeted curriculums at their own pace.
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.
InFocus provides customized training services to support integrators as they install its collaboration, videoconferencing, and visualization technologies in their clients’ education, government agencies, enterprise, and other spaces. InFocus training can support integrators with end-user onboarding, as well as training for IT professionals to master successful network implementation. The trainings are virtual, with face-to-face support in any location, for a single integrator to an entire team, to help them discover the features they need.
Q-SYS Control 101 lowers the barrier of entry for learning control programming with curriculum that highlights the benefits of a software-based control paradigm that leverages modern scripting languages and easy visual coding tools. Q-SYS Control 101 proves you can learn programming in hours rather than weeks and months, making it ideal for programmers of all levels. And it’s free and delivered in the same interactive and hilarious style QSC is known for.
Today’s audio professionals require up-to-date technical insights and training in this rapidly evolving industry. It is Shure’s goal to share its expertise, know-how, and support, so you thrive in the work you do. Through the Shure Audio Institute—a global educational and training platform—you have access to deep knowledge and practical skills on general audio topics, technical, sales, and Shure product solutions that enable you to effectively manage every client situation encountered.
Best Excuse to Leave the Office (Best In-House Training Program)
Almo Professional A/V
Almo Professional A/V's 2019 E4 Experience is a rebranded, expanded version of the award-winning E4 AV Tour. Almo is continuing its education partnership with AVIXA by offering high-quality courses worth CTS Renewal Units (RUs), while bringing new certification opportunities with the SDVoE Alliance and the Digital Signage Federation. Other highlights include an all-star lineup of the industry’s most sought-after speakers, along with a new E4 Concierge service to plan a customized attendee experience.
Crestron Technical Institute has created a wide range of courses and learning tracks specific to its customers' areas of interest, including design, integration, networking, and programming. Its instructor-led courses provide students the foundation for earning a Crestron Certification, confirming their knowledge of Crestron software and solutions. For Crestron to succeed, it needs its dealers to succeed. Throughout each course track, each student's knowledge, skills, and performance will be put to the test.
Education and training are the cornerstones of Extron’s commitment to its customers. The 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.
Riedel Tuesdays provide a friendly environment where guests can learn the operational basics of Riedel products and ask questions about situations they’ve encountered. These day-long, free events are led by Riedel systems consultants, respected pros, and freelancers. Sessions are regularly held at the company’s Burbank office and at guest venues throughout North America. Riedel Tuesdays can focus on any of the company’s product families and are easily adaptable to the experience level of the participants.
Education is a top priority for Sound Productions, so it built a state-of-the-art demo facility to provide the space for people to knowledge-share and master their trade with industry experts. Attendees can get exclusive gear knowledge, pro tips from industry leaders, or boost their proficiency through one of its hands-on trainings. Sound Productions expanded its educational opportunities to more than 40 events in 2018—from beginner to master classes—and it doesn’t plan to slow down.
SYNNEX VISUALSolv offers comprehensive training through large conferences and smaller gatherings. The company’s Inspire and Varnex events bring together IT and AV professionals for a deep-dive on SYNNEX offerings. Focused trainings are available around cloud, IoT, and secure networking, and within vertical markets such as government and education. Immersive Exchange events have content geared toward sales, engineering, and executive attendees with a more focused approach, addressing professional AV, digital signage, security, and collaborative communications.
The Dealer Portal You Want to Keep Going Back to (Best Website Dealer Portal)
The new and improved Crestron.com allows dealers to create multiple project lists, save them in their personal library, and revisit them later. This new feature helps streamline the proposal process by allowing dealers to share their lists directly with Crestron’s sales team and prepare official proposals from one location. The website also features a support center available 24/7, which houses all of the documents associated with its products, contact information, and more.
Extron Insider provides customers with access to Extron software downloads, certification programs, and 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)
Biamp doesn’t just make great AV products; it creates extraordinary experiences—from inception to installation and beyond. For Biamp’s Global Sales Team, that means getting in the trenches to solve the challenges its distributors, consultants, integrators, and end users face. From recommending solutions, consulting on designs, to joining end-user conversations, it’s Biamp’s mission to perfect every level of support so our customers never have to struggle on a project.
Crestron’s Sales Support Services (SSS) Department is comprised of a team of experienced solution engineers and administrators, dedicated to delivering world-class service to its customers. The team provides assistance with all technical, pricing, system design, and quotation-related inquiries; performs comparative analysis for competitive projects and quotes; provides 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 its 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 them is a positive and professionally rewarding experience for you.
MSE Audio—parent company of Phase Technology, Induction Dynamics, dARTS, SoundTube Entertainment, SolidDrive, Rockustics, and Soundsphere—will work alongside dealers with design layouts to maximize audio integration. The same in-house engineers responsible for designing products prepare EASE reports at no additional charge for customers utilizing ST or SS products. In addition, 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 2:00pm CT and on-site pickup.
The priority of Peerless-AV’s sales team has always been to provide reliable, holistic solutions to clients. That’s why the team is heavily involved with industry publications, organizations, and tradeshows to remain up to date on relevant information while promoting technological solutions. Despite the complex nature of those products, sales materials are presented in an aesthetically pleasing and easily digestible manner. Clients can always count on comprehensive support from this sales team as they research their projects.
For more than 93 years, an outstanding sales experience has been at the forefront of Shure’s business. By offering exceptional pre- and post-sales support, the sales team receives real-time feedback from end users allowing Shure to better develop best-in-class products that meet and exceed the customer’s needs at a competitive price. If an issue does arise, Shure’s Service Department is available to provide high-quality technical support while resolving product repairs immediately.
Sound Productions is dedicated to exceeding customer expectations throughout the entire buying experience. It has the largest inventory in the Southwest, same-day shipping, and more than 350 product lines. You can attend a hands-on training or test out equipment before purchase at its cutting-edge demo facility. A streamlined buying process, full after-sale support, and its team’s knowledge and experience make its customers feel confident that they can achieve their AVL vision and meet their deadline.
With a singular focus on installed systems DSP, Symetrix delivers high-performance audio hardware and software, backed by the highest caliber of customer care and sales support. Symetrix is a customer-centric and nimble organization delivering responsiveness, ease of business, and consistently open communications. Customers worldwide turn to Symetrix again and again for reliable, high-performance audio DSP and accessories.
SYNNEX VISUALSolv has a dedicated, experienced sales organization with inside reps, field reps, and technical overlay support. Sales reps are highly trained on the latest offerings and how to apply them in various vertical markets. SYNNEX offers online ordering capabilities and a custom mobile app for checking stock and placing orders. Its extended team can even host and customize customers’ e-storefronts, all without sacrificing the dedicated sales rep relationships that differentiate SYNNEX.
The Number You Have on Autodial (Best Tech Support)
For more than 20 years, ANC’s dedicated technicians have been on call 24/7 to deliver flawless digital signage experiences. Last year, ANC operated display systems at 5,000 live events, scheduled more than 5 million pieces of content, and resolved 85 percent of technical questions in less than three hours. Whether onsite repairing displays hours before an event or dialing in remotely to troubleshoot content, ANC’s team is always there for high-profile sports venues and transit centers.
AVAD's in-house tech support team provides the highest levels of support for all dealers' needs. They can help with all products provided by AVAD, from networking to HDMI, and CCTV issues. They can provide step-by-step troubleshooting that is unrivaled.
Crestron is committed to all of its customers. Whether you're calling about your home, business, or school, Crestron specialists are always ready to assist. On Crestron.com, customers have access to the company’s live support teams, where they can chat with a member of the award-winning True Blue Support team and get the answers they need immediately. A variety of resources including technical guides, spec sheets, and manuals are also available 24/7.
Extron tech support is second to none in the industry. Customers will always hear a live voice on its 24-hour support hotline. It provides 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 its 100-percent satisfaction guarantee.
InFocus technical support helps to quickly resolve any issue, from network, program onboarding, conferencing equipment, etc. Whether online or by phone, its high-quality service is available for both integrators and end users to utilize their InFocus products to their fullest potential. InFocus also delivers advanced training and resources to its worldwide network of resellers and integrators, enabling the best expert support in the industry, so customers can have complete confidence in their product.
Lumens has a proactive global technical support team that is constantly trained and able to take calls, use live chat, email, and even make onsite visits when necessary. Its team follows up on each request, even when the matter may be beyond their scope. Lumens keeps up with the latest tech trends and realizes every customers time is valuable. Even if the product is past the warranty, they respond.
MSE Audio provides dealers with high-quality solutions for residential and commercial applications. MSE Audio offers knowledgeable customer service representatives to provide dealers with product support, technical services, system design, and more. Dealers can reach customer service through MSE Audio’s dedicated phone line or online chat. MSE Audio’s trained representatives are in-house, real people, without any robots or answering machines.
Peerless-AV Customer Care Representatives obtain comprehensive product and technical training so they have the information and resources needed to confidently address each customer’s concern. If any issue arises that they cannot resolve, a team of “PeerTech Pros” steps in to provide higher-level support. Customers can get in touch with these teams via live chat, phone, video chat, email, and fax. All issues are addressed promptly, courteously, and effectively to ensure consistently positive customer experiences.
Unlike most companies that have transitioned to automated systems, Shure believes excellent tech support derives from human-to-human interaction. Seasoned experts draw on a combined 190-plus years of audio industry experience to directly address customer inquiries. Shure’s application engineers have built and maintained an extensive FAQs database—featuring more than 5,000 entries—and published industry-specific educational publications. With application engineers in multiple countries, technical support is available to customers around the world via phone or email.
Symetrix Technical Support is a team of industry-leading, experienced, analytical problem solvers that go above and beyond to help customers. From local contacts in APAC and their counterparts in the EMEA and CALA regions, to the U.S. HQ team in Seattle, WA, Symetrix offers a friendly voice wherever you're located. Whether you need help with system troubleshooting, AEC programming, site file design, or just plain signal flow, they are there to assist.
Vanco International demonstrates its commitment to helping dealers and distributors ensure high-quality customer experiences by offering technical support by phone, live chat, and email—all of which are available Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. CST. Vanco hosts product training guides, presentations, videos, as well as flexible training webinars, publicly on its website to deliver industry knowledge and in-depth product demonstration for distributors and dealers across Vanco’s four unique brands: Vanco, Evolution, PulseAudio, and Beale Street Audio.
WolfVision earns loyalty by making sure its customers are completely satisfied with its products, enjoy great support, and experience an unusually high return on investment. Many of them depend daily on equipment they purchased from the company more than a decade ago, and they're delighted by its continual willingness to repair and return what it can. When promising to replace solutions as they fail, WolfVision’s customers often grin because they've been promising that for years.
Xilica has invested big in its customer experience, with one of the highest Net Promoter Scores in the industry at 92. Worldwide, 24/7, 365-day support is at its customers’ disposal—in English, Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese. Toll-free telephone, local numbers overseas, an on-demand FAQ, and a specially designed chatbot make support simple. Its Technical Services team members each has over 20 years' AV experience, and even make custom tutorials videos for each customer.
Your Design Co-pilot (Best Design Services)
AVAD’s Technical Services team is a group of industry experts dedicated to providing AVAD’s partners with the technical resources to tackle the most demanding and complex projects. With more than 30 industry certifications from the AV industry’s leading organizations and vendors and years of experience designing, programming, and installing AV systems, AVAD’s Technical Services team provides unrivaled levels of support to their valued partners.
Crestron has a variety of services that help streamline the design process for designers. Its 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 the delivery of assessments for adjacent technologies including wireless networks, storage, and cloud. The team holds certifications such as CTS, CTS-D, and BICSI, along with numerous vendor certifications including Cisco and Microsoft.
Your Best Defense Against Scope Creep (Best Project Management Platform)
D-Tools’ on-premises software, System Integrator (SI), caters to the unique and diverse needs of systems design and installation firms. SI helps manage key aspects of an integrator’s business—including sales, comprehensive system design, project documentation, and project management—helping streamline business processes for improved operational efficiencies and increased profitability. The latest release delivers critical new features: workflow management rules, project notifications, and calculated items, as well as additional productivity enhancements.
The Storyteller that Keeps You on the Edge of Your Seat (Best Content Creation)
Almo Professional A/V
In 2018 Almo acquired Insteo, a DS content and creative company that programs and designs content for DS, then provides tools to manage changes in cloud. Almo now offers expedited quote/project management and global accessibility. Cloud Templates: Pre-designed content for immediate use for menu boards, lobby directories, real estate listings, and project boards. Users can change prices, tenants, etc. from anywhere. Custom Content: Award-winning designers and programmers create DS content including data integration, touchscreens, video development, motion graphics, and custom programming.