In 2018, Snap Install’s Vice President of Operations, John Sormer, published the article 5 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing a Nationwide Service Provider. The Commercial Integrator article represented a neutral approach to analyzing the service needs of your business and what to consider in a service partner. While the importance of the factors shared still stand true, there has been significant disruption in the AV industry over the last few years, so we’ve decided to add context to support you when making a decision in today’s world.

To paint the picture of the disruption since 2018, let’s summarize using a continuous layer of innovative solutions provided by the AV industry. When faced with a pandemic in 2020, we supported safe interactions through thermo readers and telehealth products. As product shortages and shipping delays threatened the consumer experience in 2021, maintenance was heightened to extend the life of digital equipment. Leading us into today, challenged by a volatile market of labor shortage and inflation that’s trending toward AI and virtual workforces for stability.

1)  Do you want to augment or replace your professional onsite services?

As stated in the article, there is no wrong answer here. Direct labor shortage may cause you to augment your services with a third party provider, and business growth from introducing a new digital solution may require a nationwide overhaul with limited lead time. Innovation within the industry will continue despite the slowly recovering global supply chains; creating more opportunity with consumers and within uncharted markets.

2)  Are you looking for a transaction-based vendor or a solution-based partner?

It’s important to consider the consumer experience when determining your ideal service partner. Regardless of transaction vs solution-based, the customer should not recognize the difference. The right partner is one that can anticipate your needs based on the level of expertise with your brand and product expectations. In this post-pandemic frame of job hopping, you may recognize significant bottom line savings when your service partner is apart of your service lifecycle at the onset of the sale.

3)  What success criteria will be used to gauge your AV service providers?

Are you launching a new digital solution with a level of uncertainty in the steps for successful implementation? Pilot services may be the right approach for reaching that desired outcome without the upfront commitment. The service extension of any business should be one that knows what’s expected of them and have the ability to deliver to that standard, and in the midst of disruption should be one that can adapt as your expectations do.

4)  What’s your timeline for identifying, vetting and selecting your ideal partner?

In most consumer-based industries, the best time for a service to take place was yesterday. As the industry continues to expand into new markets, taking time to the find the right partner will pay dividends when you are in the thick of your company’s growth.

5)  Do potential AV service providers have solid referrals?

Just as you look at with direct employees, it’s important to understand the background of a service partner before they have the opportunity to represent your brand. Ask how they adapted to changing business needs, how they navigated a nationwide threat to onsite physical presence, and their ability to safeguard consumer retention.

Having the right service partner is comparable to having the right wide receiver for your football team. Regardless of the play, success is defined by how well a receiver can position themself to advance toward the goal line. How can a service partner help position you to achieve your goals?

Commercial Integrator is a publication dedicated to addressing the business needs of professional integrators who serve the small and midsize business (SMB) market.