Originally Posted by touch33
An interesting part of these posts have been the numerous suggestions about how to best get Savant to support and stand behind their product ( i.e. work with a different rep, push your issues up through then chain of command and the like) as if this is a skill set to be acquired and shared. As a consultant working in both commercial and custom resi, the manufacturers we support and specify all have great products and innovative solutions - yet each and every one of them also literally bends over backwards to stay in touch, hear our feedback, respond appropriately (even if they don't necessarily agree with us) and reach out to us to see what THEY can do for US.
If you are referring to my post then this interpretation is incorrect. There were not numerous suggestions. But rather a simple observation that if you have an issue with your local company representatives, call the people above them and explain the situation. Posting in a consumer forum not monitored by the company will not generate any results.
My judgement is that until Savant chooses to embrace that concept willingly they will remain a second-tier solution, regardless of how innovative their products may appear to be to residential end users. Call me "old-fashioned", but also call me "still profitably in business for more than 25 years".
If you have been in business for that long then you know that the people that support you locally change from time to time. Sometimes this is for the better, sometimes for the worse. Bad hires exist and no company can guarantee they don't put the wrong person/rep in your region. You need to be the feedback loop for them telling them if the service level has gone down so that they can fix it. The company itself far away from your location is not going to see issues like that as clearly.
We currently carry four major control systems and have had exactly those ups and downs with all of them. With Savant, we initially did not use them a few years back because they had a very sour regional sales manager. So we passed. If we can't create a strong partnership with a company with such a critical component, we simply won't use the product. We need an escalation path for issues that come up (and they *will* come up with any control system) and a critical component of that is such a good relationship. Pls see more below.
Great gear and exceptional support is a timeless combination - let's hope Savant is listening.
With respect to our experience as I posted, they are already there. As I said, if it is not for others, they need to escalate. If nothing changes then they should look at other options. Note that in my book this is a two-way relationship. You have to show competence. You have to bring them sales. You have to help them market the product in your region. You have to have a positive and supportive attitude towards them. Once you do these, it is my experience that almost all companies return the favor with exceptional and above and beyond service which will help you differentiate against your competitors and serve your customers better. I would not pick any manufacturer for core components of the business without being able to create such true partnerships. Treat them as your "vendors" or "suppliers" and you are going to get lackluster support and your customers will suffer as a result.
Not saying that is your situation at all
. Just that you have to play a role in this too. There is going to be a time where you need to reach an engineer who designed something to get an answer and you won't get there if it is an arm's length relationship. Take a look at this article for example that I wrote recently on computer optimization of acoustics: http://www.madronadigital.com/Library/Computer%20Optimization%20of%20Acoustics.html
. Look at the credits at the end and you see that Harman designers and researchers worked directly with me on putting this article together. We use Harman (JBL, Revel, Mark Levinson) in a range of products and are a critical part of our business. per above, we have worked over the years to earn their respect and partnership and as such, get such deep access to people behind the technology. It allows us to know the products way better than others and get a level of support that goes above and beyond. For my part, I had to make the investment to learn their technology, and write these articles highlighting the excellent work they do. Our customers (or even non-customers in the case of this article) win. We win. And so does Harman.
Here is another example article, this time written for a non-technical publication that I wrote with a proper mention of Savant: Intorduction to Home Automation http://www.madronadigital.com/Library/PremBuilder%20Mar-Apr%202012%20Article.pdf
. Hopefully you see another example of a partnership working. And at the same time generating useful information for our joint customers (in this case, the designers and builders who specify them).
Would it be good to get great support if you didn't do any of this? Sure. But best practices should be followed to maximize the relationship.