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Crestron hostile to DIYers - Page 2  

post #31 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by AI Limited
The customer is ALWAYS right.
OT, but I've been reading that silly statement for years. What the heck does it mean??? The customer is NOT always right and knowing that is probably one of the biggest keys to being successful and staying in business - specifically knowing when to say no to certain requests or turn down working with people that aren't "right" and are nightmare customers.
post #32 of 115
Thread Starter 
I looked at the first post again too - and too me it reads more like frustrated, which I in fact was. But keep in mind, I was speaking with a customer service rep, someone who is a professional that is supposed to be able to handle a range of issues calmly. I definately did not call her up screaming and fuming. I agree that as the call progressed I become more frustrated, but it was nothing extreem, and in any case, a customer service rep should be able to handle far far worse calmly. That is their job. In any case, this is a silly debate. I really have no issue with her. This thread is not about their customer service. It is about a company policy that I don't think is reasonable.
post #33 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by siegeld
This thread is not about their customer service. It is about a company policy that I don't think is reasonable.
Please reread the Post Topic. Are you sure?
post #34 of 115
Thread Starter 
I did. The topic is fair. Creston has a policy to not accomodate the DIY crowd. That is what hostile is in reference too. From a dictionary, a meaning of hostile is very unfriendly; "a hostile attitude". They don't want to deal with the DIY folks, so that means they are unfriendly to them. I actually was not, though I see your point, referring to the fact that the customer service rep was somewhat hostile to me too.

By the way, David, I take it you professionally install Crestron, and that you really enjoy what you do, that you find it fun. I can understand that - though I don't do this professionally, I too find working on automation fun. Crestron provides great hardware, and really I was hoping that I could have fun, as you do, using their equipment to do neat things. Again, let me state this for the record, I have no problem hiring someone like you to do work on a system, but I also wanted the ability to have some fun too, tinkering and learning.
post #35 of 115
Please check with the dealer that programmed the system. That dealer 'may' let you have the software and current progam. MAY. Having a friendly relationship with them is key. So toss your cards on the table. Be humble. See what happens.
post #36 of 115
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
Please check with the dealer that programmed the system. That dealer 'may' let you have the software and current progam. MAY. Having a friendly relationship with them is key. So toss your cards on the table. Be humble. See what happens.
OK, that will be the plan. I appreciate your suggestions and that you took the time to state your views.
post #37 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
I think lots of these reactions are a bit knee jerk...on both sides. Crestron actually did have their software publicly downloadable for years and I was disappointed when they discontinued that. I've never had any problem with the DIY that want to give it a shot...99.9% of the population will open the software and after attempting to grasp it their brain will explode anyhow :D. I am told the reason Crestron changed the policy was that they had too many people picking up used equipment and such off of Ebay (or otherwise) and then attempting to program it themselves unsuccessfully as well as trying to get free support. Also lots of unqualified uncertified people posing as "programmers". It was part of Crestron's effort along with CAIP to increase the quality of programmers and reduce the number of improperly set up systems. Of course it may have also partially been to make dealers happy.

siegeld, did you purchase Crestron equipment? If so, I assume it was used?

IF you were treated rudely there is no excuse for that but I must tell you I have never encountered any company as polite and proactive as a whole as the folks at Crestron. As for their policy they have every legal right to set it....whether it is "the best" policy is another matter. I have mixed feelings as I see both sides of the issue. The easier the software is to obtain the more people you end up thinking they can program it themselves and the FACT is most will fail and then Crestron ends up with unhappy screaming customers. Heck, the truth of the matter is that even many of the Crestron dealers out there with programmers certified to one level or another aren't as good as they should be. Most who have passed advanced training are pretty good I think. At last count I think there are only 200 or so in the entire US that are certified advanced...or something along those lines. Don't quote me on that. It's the number one of the trainers gave me.
I like that brain exploding thing. I know someone who can relate to that.

Chip
post #38 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
OT, but I've been reading that silly statement for years. What the heck does it mean??? The customer is NOT always right and knowing that is probably one of the biggest keys to being successful and staying in business - specifically knowing when to say no to certain requests or turn down working with people that aren't "right" and are nightmare customers.
True enough, but it goes both ways. Sales people have a saying, "buyers are liars." Consumers rightfully don't trust most salespeople. Those of us in the custom installation and service business realize however, that even when a client is 'wrong," they still deserve to be treated with respect. Typically, if you just explain things and make them make sense, most clients will understand even if they don't get exactly what they want, as long as they realize that you are trying to be fair and reasonable. If they don't, then you either have to suck it up or perhaps forfeit the business. Not every potential sale is good for business.
post #39 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by lcaillo
True enough, but it goes both ways. Sales people have a saying, "buyers are liars." Consumers rightfully don't trust most salespeople. Those of us in the custom installation and service business realize however, that even when a client is 'wrong," they still deserve to be treated with respect. Typically, if you just explain things and make them make sense, most clients will understand even if they don't get exactly what they want, as long as they realize that you are trying to be fair and reasonable. If they don't, then you either have to suck it up or perhaps forfeit the business. Not every potential sale is good for business.
Agree 100%.

I think the better statement than "the customer is always right" would be "the customer should always be treated with respect".
post #40 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by siegeld
OK, that will be the plan.
Good luck with that. Asking the company that did the original programming to provide it to you and the programming software is probably like asking your neighbor if he'd mind terribly if you'd sleep with his 17 year old daughter....I would not expect a friendly "no problem" :D.
post #41 of 115
Quote:
Even if you got the software you wouldnt be able to open the programming from the processor. You would need the original program as the processor stores a compiled file. so you would actually need the software and file before you could do anything
Quote:
Good luck with that. Asking the company that did the original programming to provide it to you and the programming software is probably like asking your neighbor if he'd mind terribly if you'd sleep with his 17 year old daughter....I would not expect a friendly "no problem
I'm curious, if I were to buy a house that had Crestron equipment installed, and the original programmer is either out of business or I don't particularly like the guy and want to use another CI, What do I do? Start over from scratch?
post #42 of 115
mbrew

Trying to tell me something? :D
post #43 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbrew
I'm curious, if I were to buy a house that had Crestron equipment installed, and the original programmer is either out of business or I don't particularly like the guy and want to use another CI, What do I do? Start over from scratch?
The following answer applies to Crestron as well as many other systems:

1. The key is whether the Client is provided the programming (ALL of it, NOT just the compiled code). Usually they are not, and unfortunately they do not know that it is something they should ask for and/or negotiate for as part of the purchase. I consider this one of the dirty little secrets of my industry. In other words, the Client is up the creek if they decide they want to work with someone else and don't possess a copy of the programming. And it would appear that plenty of people in my industry consider it perfectly acceptable to keep clients by having them over this barrel, rather than having the client work with them because they want to.

2. If the client receives the programming as part of the package, then they can give that programming to another programmer without having to start from scratch.

An example of a worst case scenario is when companies go out of business. This happened in the last couple of years with several larges A/V companies, one worth perhaps 100 million dollars (large commercial establishment with multiple locations all over the country). And if a company that purchased a system from them wanted to do something as simple as add a DVD player to a system, they had to redo the entire system once that company went out of business because they as the Client weren't in posession of the software.

There have been a lot of long debates about this subject here and again there are legitimate points to all sides. I think it is legitimate for an integrator to keep the Code AS LONG as the Client understands the situation AND has recourse to obtain the code if the company goes out of business. (just as it is legitimate for the Client to get the code - i.e. there's no right or wrong as long as people are able to make an informed decision and aren't "screwed" for lack of a beter word).
post #44 of 115
Na... You're a charming kinda guy.
post #45 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
The following answer applies to Crestron as well as many other systems:

1. The key is whether the Client is provided the programming (ALL of it, NOT just the compiled code). Usually they are not, and unfortunately they do not know that it is something they should ask for and/or negotiate for as part of the purchase. I consider this one of the dirty little secrets of my industry. In other words, the Client is up the creek if they decide they want to work with someone else and don't possess a copy of the programming. And it would appear that plenty of people in my industry consider it perfectly acceptable to keep clients by having them over this barrel, rather than having the client work with them because they want to.

2. If the client receives the programming as part of the package, then they can give that programming to another programmer without having to start from scratch.

An example of a worst case scenario is when companies go out of business. This happened in the last couple of years with several larges A/V companies, one worth perhaps 100 million dollars (large commercial establishment with multiple locations all over the country). And if a company that purchased a system from them wanted to do something as simple as add a DVD player to a system, they had to redo the entire system once that company went out of business because they as the Client weren't in posession of the software.

There have been a lot of long debates about this subject here and again there are legitimate points to all sides. I think it is legitimate for an integrator to keep the Code AS LONG as the Client understands the situation AND has recourse to obtain the code if the company goes out of business. (just as it is legitimate for the Client to get the code - i.e. there's no right or wrong as long as people are able to make an informed decision and aren't "screwed" for lack of a beter word).
Nice post. It should probably be required reading for anyone that is considering Crestron
post #46 of 115
mbrew

Many others as well. Unless you can download the graphics and program from the unit this issue stands with many control systems, Crestron being one.

Edit --I'm in need of a typing class........
post #47 of 115
Quote:
Crestron being one
AMX operates the same way?
post #48 of 115
Yes, but it's not really a matter of how AMX or Crestron operate per se. It's a matter of whether it's possible to extract the programming from a system. It’s really no different than a PC. The fact that someone sells you a PC doesn’t mean you can use it or back it up if its password protected.

No one ever password protects a Crestron or AMX systems from use (except in rare circumstances such as a college classroom etc.) but the programming files are rarely kept on the systems and when they are, they are usually password protected. Usually all that gets loaded onto a Crestron or AMX system is the code that runs the system. So even if Crestron themselves had possession of the system they can’t change the programming UNLESS they possess the original program (which is MORE than just the code) that the system is based on.

In the case of Crestron or AMX this could be provided on a CD ROM or even loaded onto a “mailbox” on the system for easy download. The only think that really makes Crestron or AMX get any press on this issue is that Joe 6 Pack can’t program them himself even if he does have the software and therefore has to start over paying someone else, which naturally doesn't make people happy! If it's a learning remote that has to be programmed for an IR system it's no big deal and its cheao to begin with so you don't hear about it.

There are some systems that have processors that allow extraction of ALL programming (Lutron or Vantage to name two) BUT the programmer can still password protect them to prevent that.

Again, there are two very legitimate interests IMO to be protected here, the Clients AND the programmers. That program may contain hundreds or even thousands of hours of work as well as custom modules that have been created by the programmer. I think the Client deserves to have protection. But so does the programmer. For instance that programmer quite rightly does not want another programmer coming along and "stealing" and/or reusing parts of code that he spent large amounts of time writing...and that DOES happen.

Both interests can be protected though a "healthy" agreement...what that agreement might consist of goes a bit beyond the scope of this discussion.
post #49 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
OT, but I've been reading that silly statement for years. What the heck does it mean??? The customer is NOT always right and knowing that is probably one of the biggest keys to being successful and staying in business - specifically knowing when to say no to certain requests or turn down working with people that aren't "right" and are nightmare customers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Agree 100%.

I think the better statement than "the customer is always right" would be "the customer should always be treated with respect".
Well you're close. "The customer is always right" is far from a "silly statement". It's a statement more businesses could live by. Obviously if I say the sky is brown not blue because I'm color blind, I'm not right. There is a difference between the strict interpretation of what is being said, and the liberal interpretation which would lead to the real meaning of the phrase. I have this debate with my wife over theological issues all the time, as do attorneys over the law - strict vs liberal interpretations.

The real meaning of the phrase, to me, translates to "provide good customer service". How do you do that? Don't argue with your customers over whether the sky is brown or blue. Don't argue with your customers. What point does that serve? It's just bad business. "Treat them with respect" is a form of providing good customer service.

The bottom line is, if the person at Crestron remained calm, polite, and professional, no matter how frustrated or angry the customer got, there would be no debate as it would clearly be a case of sour grapes. By providing poor customer service, it legitimizes the OP's frustration and sense of hostility if in fact the OP is accurate in his description of what happened.

Edit - now there's a silly phrase to pick on, don't you hate it when people give you "the bottom line"?
post #50 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
AI Limited

After rereading the original post I wonder how much I would take. I mean do you really believe the original post is an ture word for word transcript. If that original post is pushy and slams Crestron to a Crestron employee do I think there is more to that conversation we are not reading.


I'm not reading that 'I nicely asked about the software and their rules' and they hung up on me.......
I suppose this is open for debate, there are two sides to every story.
post #51 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by siegeld
David,

For the record, I actually was very, very nice. I explained the situation, and she quickly told me it was out of the question to get the software. I then politely - and this is really the case, I was very polite, told her I felt this was not fair, and that all I wanted to do was to use equipment that I already had. She said there was nothing to do, and then she said something like 'look, I don't set the policies here, and in any case, I think the policies are fine. I've worked at Crestron for four years and the company is doing really well, so why should we make acceptions for you.' I then asked her if she could give me the name of someone who could possibly make an exception, and she said that was pointless, no one would make an exception. Eventually she told me to send them email. This really was what happened. I was not agressive, but I was persistant. After all, I would like the software and I saw no reason to not probe at her a bit.

Frankly, I wonder why you are being so agressive with me and assuming the worst? I really don't think my request is unreasonable. Just as a sanity check, by the way, I contacted AMX to see if they would make their software available to me, and the person who took the call quickly said yes. No problems at all. Moments later I was in their download section of their web site. Really, if Creston was more accomodating I would easily generate substantial business for them and more business for the dealers/independent installation folks. I'm actually in the process of building a vacation home which I was planning on getting someone to design and install a full Crestron system, but before I did that I wanted to make sure Crestron would allow me to tinker with the system in the future if I wanted to.

David

Oh my god, how many Dave/David's are there in this thread?!?
post #52 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by AI Limited
Well you're close. "The customer is always right" is far from a "silly statement". It's a statement more businesses could live by. Obviously if I say the sky is brown not blue because I'm color blind, I'm not right. There is a difference between the strict interpretation of what is being said, and the liberal interpretation which would lead to the real meaning of the phrase. I have this debate with my wife over theological issues all the time, as do attorneys over the law - strict vs liberal interpretations.

The real meaning of the phrase, to me, translates to "provide good customer service". How do you do that? Don't argue with your customers over whether the sky is brown or blue. Don't argue with your customers. What point does that serve? It's just bad business. "Treat them with respect" is a form of providing good customer service.

The bottom line is, if the person at Crestron remained calm, polite, and professional, no matter how frustrated or angry the customer got, there would be no debate as it would clearly be a case of sour grapes. By providing poor customer service, it legitimizes the OP's frustration and sense of hostility if in fact the OP is accurate in his description of what happened.
Agree with all points and knew we were arguing semantics. I posted only because I think the term is often mindlessly repeated (NOT in your case) AND because I think a more semantically accurate euphemism is better BECAUSE it's actually more likely to result in employees listening and actually practicing good service.

The problem is that if you tell everyone “the customer is always right" people instinctively say to themselves "that sounds like bullsh*t". I think employees are more likelt to respond to being told "the customer should always be treated with respect" and that it's probably more likely to actually result in the desired outcome.

But I digress :)...
post #53 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Richardson
AI Limited

After rereading the original post I wonder how much I would take. I mean do you really believe the original post is an ture word for word transcript. If that original post is pushy and slams Crestron to a Crestron employee do I think there is more to that conversation we are not reading.


I'm not reading that 'I nicely asked about the software and their rules' and they hung up on me.......
Seems a non-issue at this point but since AI commented just now I will also. My *initial* impression was that the scenario Dave paints above was likely, just from the tone of the first post. BUT I think the OP represented himself well here and his subsequent statements helped me to understand exactly where he was coming from and he also appeared truthful, even in stating exactly why he wanted the software...and I believe him :).
post #54 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Agree with all points and knew we were arguing semantics. I posted only because I think the term is often mindlessly repeated (NOT in your case) AND because I think a more semantically accurate euphemism is better BECAUSE it's actually more likely to result in employees listening and actually practicing good service.

The problem is that if you tell everyone “the customer is always right" people instinctively say to themselves "that sounds like bullsh*t". I think employees are more likelt to respond to being told "the customer should always be treated with respect" and that it's probably more likely to actually result in the desired outcome.

But I digress :)...
Wow you're fast. Don't miss my edit above!
post #55 of 115
There is a million different ways to look at it. The programmer, as QQQ pointed out, has put hundreds perhaps thousands of hours into a particular system. But, the client has paid in full for that time and should be entitled to what he paid for. If the programmer had to design a custom module for said client, he paid for it. The programmer gets to keep that custom module for future use and could/will charge for it again. Win win.

Chip
post #56 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by AI Limited
...don't you hate it when people give you "the bottom line"?
I just tell them "how the cow eats the cabbage."
post #57 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Agree with all points and knew we were arguing semantics. I posted only because I think the term is often mindlessly repeated (NOT in your case) AND because I think a more semantically accurate euphemism is better BECAUSE it's actually more likely to result in employees listening and actually practicing good service.

The problem is that if you tell everyone “the customer is always right" people instinctively say to themselves "that sounds like bullsh*t". I think employees are more likelt to respond to being told "the customer should always be treated with respect" and that it's probably more likely to actually result in the desired outcome.

But I digress :)...
The "customer is always right" term is really used on a case by case basis. It is a matter of how much of a hard stance (and how stubborn) you the seller want to take. The bottom line is money. If the seller wants to collect his money bad enough , the customer is right! I know alot more succesful companies that will really go out of thier way to please the customer than sellers that fight with thier customers and stand strong.
post #58 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by stefuel
The programmer, as QQQ pointed out, has put hundreds perhaps thousands of hours into a particular system. But, the client has paid in full for that time and should be entitled to what he paid for. If the programmer had to design a custom module for said client, he paid for it. The programmer gets to keep that custom module for future use and could/will charge for it again. Win win.
Not necessarily, there is more to it than that. The purchase agreement defines what "the client paid for it"...you are just stating an opinion. When you buy software it varies tremendously based on the product. I may only get to use the software. I even might only get to use it for a period of time (common in commercial purchases). I probably don't get the source code unless its open source. And so on.

Also, what the client gets may be based on thousands of hours of development and was NOT just work for that client.
post #59 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ
Not necessarily, there is more to it than that. The purchase agreement defines what "the client paid for it"...you are just stating an opinion. When you buy software it varies tremendously based on the product. I may only get to use the software. I even might only get to use it for a period of time (common in commercial purchases). I probably don't get the source code unless its open source. And so on.

Also, what the client gets may be based on thousands of hours of development and was NOT just work for that client.
Correct as usual Q. My problem is I seem to see both sides to this story. Everyone is entitled to protect their custom work. But , where does that leave the paying customer. I know you've been doing this for a very long time and as hard as you try sometimes to convince people otherwise ;) , I think you are a man of high moral integrity. Don't tell the boys in the CRT forum I said that or I'll be banned for sure :D . I'm not sure about your area (don't even know where that is) but here in the NE, High end home theater companies seem to come and go with the tides.
Where does that leave the poor slob who has thousands tied up in hardware and thousands tied up in programming fees. He's just up-graded his DVD player and needs it adjusted. He calls the company who sold him the system only to get a recorded message stating "The number you've reached is no longer in service".
Now what??? I think there should be a system in place that provides the programming to the customer on a encripted disk that any certified dealer can access. Just a thought.

Chip
post #60 of 115
Chip,

Not sure if you read my earlier posts in this thread but I share your concerns. I want to see the Client protected.

Let me clarify. If I were a Client I would absolutely negotiate to receive the programming. And generally speaking I *personally* believe in giving the Client the programming.

BUT I do not consider that view "right" or "wrong" because there is no "right" or "wrong" to it. Any more than there is a "right" or "wrong" way to purchase or sell software. One company may provide the source code, one may not. And a hundred other variables. As a customer I have the right to choose and vote with my pocketbook.

My concern for my own industry is that it's horribly unfair and counter-productive in the long run to take advantage of the customers ignorance on this issue. If I'm a corporate IT guy and know my stuff I'm going to at least have a basic knowledge about things I should negotiate or make sure I am getting as part of a purchase. But a person buying a control system for their home does not have nor should they be expected to know how to protect themselves or make an informed purchase.

So I believe our industry owes it to people to educate them. As an example, if I provide someone a Crestron system, do not give them a copy of the programming and then go out of business OR refuse to give it to them if the want it, it seems to me I have "screwed" them. If on the other hand prior to the purchase I have at least educated and informed them that they have the following options...

1. Be completely dependent on who ever they purchase their system from to stay in business forever and be the only one to service their system

2. Provide them with a full copy of all their programming.

3. Something more than 1 but less than 2 (i.e. software escrow, if I go under they get the software etc.)

...then they can make an informed decision even if it's to go with 1. The problem I have is that plenty of companies have NO problem with #1 AND keeping it a secret from the customer (i.e. the customer doesn't know they've "chosen" #1 until it's too late). I think it's safe to say if the customer knew their options they'd push quite hard for 2 or 3 and probably wouldn't accept 1. And my position is that every time #1 ends up causing an ugly situation because a company goes under or because a customer isn't able to switch to a different company from one they are unhappy with, it reflects poorly not only on the industry as a whole but on companies such as AMX and Crestron. Because what you end up with is NOT people telling their friends "if you buy one of those systems make sure to negotiate for the program", but instead "don't ever buy one of those systems".
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