CEPro is a trade magazine that recognizes top companies in the residential AV industry nationwide. SoundVision has consistently rated in the top 100 for 17 consecutive years and has been in the top 50 for over half a decade. We think the key to being an industry leader is picking reliable and easy-to-use solutions. We don’t stop there. SoundVision internally tests all our solutions before recommending them to our customers. When we’re done with our installations, we hold onto all the software, schematics, network information and more! That way, if our customers call us years later with an issue, we can quickly resolve it over the phone or with our dedicated service department.
Not all home integration companies are designed for the same level of success. The average lifespan of a company in this industry is about six years. In our 24 years in business, we havge witnessed numerous companies come and go, but only a handful have remained in business as long as we have.
The Cycle For Most AV Startups: The Issue Starts At Inception
For those joining the industry, the first year is generally easy because they are exclusively focused on sales. What we do is super cool. Who doesn’t want music throughout their home, automatic UV protection from motorized window shades and dedicated custom theater systems? The cusp of the issue is that most new companies fall in love with the gear, not the solution, so they want to sell the latest, the flashiest and the most bleeding-edge.
A Focus on Technology Instead of Solutions
The problem with bleeding-edge technology is that it’s new and untested. That’s basically what makes it so cutting edge: because no one has it. They are untested platforms. Both the integrator and manufacturer have not done long-term testing for dependability. Few people know how to work on them, and the manufacturer’s support is limited. Time goes by and these systems develop issues here and there. The manufacturers stop actively supporting the products because they already made a new flashy item and they leave the burden of the repair on the installer.
Unprepared For Customer Support
That leaves these new companies with a tough decision: Do they ignore the previous customer issues and focus on sales since it makes money, or do they service their old installs to save their reputation? In the end, it becomes a lose-lose situation. When they double down on sales without changing their sales process, they’re only increasing their future service requests. In this situation, the customers who can vouch for their services only remember how painful the downtime is.
The issues don’t stop, even when integrators do service their installs. Their reputation is saved a little, but servicing the systems either eats into profits or upsets the customers with continuous service charges. Since the core issue that leads to these service calls isn’t addressed, the necessity for service will only continue to grow as they install more systems.
These scenarios create massive issues for new integrators. The reliability issues cause these AV companies slowly develop a reputation too poor to get new sales. On top of dwindling sales, they also become flooded with so many service calls that it takes away too many technicians from new installs. It’s issues like these that lead to such a high failure rate in this industry. Manufacturers are partially to blame for selling these untested systems and encouraging integrators to install them anyway under the promise of groundbreaking features and high margins. Successful home integrators see past these tactics and think about the customer instead of the sales.
How SoundVision Overcomes These Issues
The core of our business structure is designed to ensure SoundVision will overcome these industry issues. Our company mission statement says we design and install intuitive systems with trouble-free performance. That means we rarely install the absolute latest and greatest. Instead, we let these new products get installed by others to see if customers like using them and if they are reliable. Then, we will test these products internally. We don’t just see if it works; we see if we can make it NOT work. That’s the true acid test. After it passes our internal checks, only then will we begin recommending that product to our customers.
Of course, all electrics are prone to some level of failure. By choosing technology and products we have independently vetted for reliability, we don’t see that many issues with our installs. However, when a client calls with a hardware issue, we have created a warranty reserve fund just for such occasions. Our dedicated service department ensures our customers are up and running in no time.
Sticking With Proven Solutions
This intense vetting process means we only offer a small number of solutions.
Do you want music throughout your home? We’re going to recommend a Sonos audio control system. Sure, there are other players in the game like Control4 and Bluesound. However, we know that if we install Sonos then you can use your own speakers, you’ll likely find it easy to use, and it’ll be unlikely to need service for years on end.
Do you want a lighting control system? We’re going to recommend and spec a Lutron home control system. We know the Lutron system will work flawlessly. It has the broadest range of LED compatibility, has a flexible feature set, and is super easy to use. It also looks great.
With all our solutions, our goal is to offer systems and experiences that are robust, intuitive and will exceed expectations! Our intense vetting process limits the solutions we’re willing to install, but our customers love it. See what SoundVision can do for your home by calling us at 415-456-7000.