Check out the Infocomm Today: Day 2 podcast from #Infocomm13

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While at Infocomm 2013 AV Helpdesk Inc. , the company I work for,  was asked to appear on the  The Infocomm Today Podcast , the official podcast of Infocomm 2013.  Steve Grace, Principal at AV Helpdesk Inc.,  and I where both interviewed on the show.

Thank you for having us on.

Chris

Check out the show by Clicking the image above or the link below…

http://www.infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/37129.htm

REDBAND: My Magical Twitter Wish By Mark Coxon

infocomm13

My Magical Twitter Wish By Mark Coxon

It was awesome to be able to go to the AVNation TweetUp, and finally put some faces to the Twitter handles I see every day on my feed.  I met quite a few of the people that I follow, and was amazed that not one disappointed in person.  In fact, the personalities were amazing, and I found myself thinking that I wish Twitter could magically relate some of their qualities in more than text.  Based on that thought, I thought I’d list some AVTweeps I met, and what unique qualities they showed that I wished could come through in a written 140 words.

1)      @chris_neto- Chris Neto- Demeanor.  Reading Chris’s blogs and tweets you know he was a subversive streak, and a no nonsense style.  You also know he has an affinity for some aggressive an dark music, and used to work the night club scene.  All this combined to create an image of Chris that was much like a lovable but rowdy insomniac.  Not even close.  Chris is the epitome of Bruce Lee’s method of staying relaxed all the way until the point of impact.  He is low key and collected.  He blogs first, drinks later and goes to bed at a reasonable hour.  Beware however, because he could clinch his literary fist at any time with a pinpoint devastating RedBand blow to the solar plexus that leaves you breathless.

2)      @tuckertues- George Tucker- Contrast.  Reading George’s Tweets, you KNOW he has been around the AV Block.  His commentary can be very technical, or he can boil his analysis down using analogies that are easy to understand but not oversimplified.  This comes through in all of his online conduits, from Twitter, to AVNation podcasts, to his Tucker Tuesday and Tech Decisions blogs.  What I found out about meeting George in person though, is that he is an artist.  We have all seen those black and white pictures where the black forms an obvious image, but if you shift your eyes slightly, you notice that the white space makes a completely different image as well.  George does this with words.  If you speak to him in person, listen closely, as he will tell you just as much in his pauses and white spaces as he does in his spoken commentary.  It is genius, as it allows him to say whatever he wants, without ever speaking it, and without ever being guilty of it if accused.  He is a prime student of Polonius’ advice in Hamlet- “By indirections we find directions out.”

3)      @WomeninAV- Jennifer Willard- Accent.  You may have seen Jennifer’s stand on booth babes at electronics shows or her back and forth taunting of me about kicking my butt in #TheGame4 at InfoComm on Twitter.  To survive and prosper as a woman in the Y chromosome saturated world of AV takes guts and tenacity, so that has always come through in her online persona.  However, when I first heard Jennifer speak at the WAVE reception Wednesday night, I heard he Boston accent, and it all came rushing in.  Being cheeky and voracious is one thing, but hearing it come from a northeasterner breaks you down in a whole new way.  I read a few of her taunts again on Twitter, and suddenly realized I could not hold my own with this lady.  I was running fairly even in our exchange in my head, but the accent closed the deal.  Anyone who already knew Jennifer knew I had NO chance.  I love it!

4)      @TheAVPro- Phil Cordell- Southern Charm.  HiPhi didn’t actually come to the TweetUp that I saw, but I did see him on the floor, and met him last year as well.  If you’ve heard his album or seen his infamous “AV Professional” YouTube video you might get the impression that Phil could become funny to a fault, and may even be a little too much for some in person.  Nothing is farther from the truth.  Phil’s Tennessee charm, (I’m very familiar as my mom is from there) is the first thing you will notice when you meet him.  He is very warm and gracious.  He is extremely polite and humble, and dresses in a way that makes you want to put on some matching jeans, loafers, and a button down shirt and grab a sweet tea and some chicken and dumplings for Supper after church.  Phil is too classy to rock a mullet haircut, but I think he embodies that attitude of “Business in the front, and party in the back.”  Great balance!

5)      @mikebrandesAV- Mike Brandes- Wisdom.  OK, so that may first be thought of as a slam on Mike but it is not.  His tweets are always funny and smart, and you can tell that he is a real “connector”.   His subjects range from AV to jokes to politics and he a very active supporter of many on this list already.  In meeting Mike though, I found him to have a professorial quality that gives him a dignified presence.  Maybe it’s his dress or the manly beard, (a good beard like his can always evoke some of these impressions), but when he talks, you want to listen, because you feel like you are going to learn something new.  It is fitting that he is in the higher education space professionally.  His personality is a great bridge between the quirky and sometimes ragtag world of AV professionals and the collegiate Deans of the world.  I really enjoyed meeting you Mike!

I wish I had time enough to have had conversations with every single one of the over 100 #AVTweeps that made the #TweetUp.  I know that I would have been equally impressed with unique qualities of each of them.  Oh well, there is always next year!  See you then AVTweeps!

Mark C

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Mark has been in the IT & AV field for over 12 years. He currently works as an Account manager with  Horizon Display and is a contributor with various AV industry publications. You can follow Mark on Twitter @AVPhenom.  The expressed opinions are his own…You have been warned!

Check out My #infocomm13 Day 1 Show Report

Infocomm 2013 Day 1

I’m at Infocomm this week running around looking at all the great products our industry has to offer. Here is my Show report that I provided for CorporateTD. Click the image above or the Link below:

http://www.corporatetechdecisions.com/article/one_ctss_perspective_infocomm_2013_day_one

Thoughts? Feedback?

 

Chris

 

#Infocomm13: I’ll be there

Just wanted to get this info out to those of you who are attending the Infocomm show in Orlando. Here is a quick run down of what i have going on over the next few days…

  • I will be heading to Orlando this Tuesday with the AV Helpdesk team in search of the latest and greatest that our industry has to offer. I will be there from Tuesday to Friday Evening. I fully expect to be on the show floor all 3 days. Like many of you I too have Infocomm meetings and scheduled booth visits to attend to throughout the day.
  • As I did last year I will be sporting a Press badge while at the show. I will be providing daily show reports for Corporate TechDecisions.  Aside from my press duties I will also be active in various social media channels while at the event. You can find my profiles Here:
  • AV Helpdesk is one of the co-sponsors of the Infocomm 2013 #AVtweeps #AVtweetup on Thursday June 13th at 5pm. The event will be hosted at the AV Nation Booth (Located adjacent to Hall E)  in room 232A. You can RSVP for the event  Here. Stop by for some refreshments and prizes provided by the event sponsors. The following day I will be back at the AV Nation Booth as a guest on their AV Week podcast.

Please do not hesitate to give me a call or email me while at the show even if it’s a quick meet to  say Hi.  I’m easily reached on email or through the social media channels above…trust me my phone will keep zapping me. I look forward catching up with fellow AV professionals and to see all the new technology.

Travel Safe and I’ll See You in Orlando!

Chris

 

 

 

 

Check out the Latest @AVNationtv podcast as they get ready for #InfoComm13 with an AV first.

REDBAND blogger Joshua Stackhouse checks in with AV Nation this week and drops an annoucement that a may be  a first  for both AV podcasting and for AV Nation. Listen in at the 22 minute mark.

Chris

From the AV Nation site:

Join us as we get ready for InfoComm 2013 in Orlando. We talk about all the new InfoComm Pavillions, a couple of products to look out for, and some suggestions for new areas. We cover customer service in AV, and signal transports. Plus, an AV Week first (it may even be a Podcasting first). Very exciting.”  

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Click the image above or the this link to listen in: http://avnation.tv/shows/avweek/avw-094/

REDBAND: Five Tips to Delivering Outstanding Customer Service By Mike Brandes

Whether you’re in the rental/staging markets, home theater, enterprise level integrator or and IT Manager; offering superior customer service is imperative to the success of your organization. Customer Service is more than just responding to negative feedback, following up on customers’ needs and satisfying requests. Consistently excellent customer service is creating experiences for clients that cause them to become cheerleaders and advertisers for your business. There are five easy ways to create excellent customer service experiences, position your company to have repeat high dollar transactions and leave your organization well poised to be recommended by your clients.

1. Do What the Customer Doesn’t Expect

It’s common sense, and simple business etiquette to completely satisfy customers’ requests. Exceeding Customer expectations is what makes the difference. Having worked in higher-ed I’ve worked with multiple integrators and resellers, what stood out for me, are the little things. I hired an integrator to implement an AV design for an 11-classroom building, I created a detailed scope of work with highly specific requirements, I expected it to be filled. This integrator fulfilled each requirement and they also provided me with substantial information I didn’t request such as all pieces of equipment’s serial numbers, warranty date and estimated end of life date in a convenient, easy-to-read spreadsheet, and applied the asset tags I was going to have to add to each piece of equipment. This small, unrequested, task saved me a good number (20+) of hours in recording and inventory management. Though I didn’t specifically ask for this information the provision of it was incredibly valuable to me as a customer.

2. Be Honest with Your Customer, But Respectful

Joshua Stackhouse wrote an article recently with this as the first point; but it bears repeating. Customers and clients often have a vague or broad idea of what they want in their project. Clients may want the latest and greatest, while not knowing exactly how that will impact their environment. While I love to give my clients everything they ask for, especially if they have the budget to afford it; I can’t, in good conscience, recommend they move forward with anything that doesn’t fit in their existing environment. Exceeding customer expectations can mean considering the whole of the existing environment.

It’s also imperative to be honest with your clients when communicating expectations regarding timeframe. A few years ago, I designed a system, sent it out to bid and asked the integrators to provide a detailed timeframe for completion. The vendor I selected timeframe was XX days. Imagine my surprise when two weeks after XX days had passed and we were still going back on forth on systems not functioning as they were described in the scope of work. It is imperative, in order to deliver exceptional customer service, to complete projects on time, and to be honest about timeframes…

Continue reading this article by clicking the link Below:

http://mikebrandesav.com/2013/06/06/five-tips-to-delivering-outstanding-customer-service/

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Mike is an experienced audio video and information technology specialist, with 5 years experience in AV/IT, and previous experience in Pro Audio including full time touring experience. Mike is active in InfoComm, the Audiovisual Industry Association, and serves on the Technology Managers Council. Check out Mike’s website http://mikebrandesav.com/ and Follow him on Twitter.

The Social Media Event of #Infocomm13: The #AVtweeps #AVtweetup hosted by AV Nation

AVTweetUP2013

AV Nation hosts The Social Media Event of  Infocomm 2013!

Click the Banner to register or follow the Link Below:

http://infocomm13tweetup.eventbrite.com/

A Huge Thanks goes out to the Event Sponsors:

Vaddio

www.vaddio.com

Sennheiser

www.sennheiserusa.com

Premier Mounts

www.mounts.com

Listen Technologies

www.listentech.com

AV Helpdesk Inc.

www.avhelpdesk.com

LifeSize

www.lifesize.com

Draper

www.draperinc.com

Marketing Matters

www.marketingmatters.net

Chauvet

www.chauvetlighting.com

Chief

www.chiefmfg.com

The Source Home Theater

www.thesourcehometheater.com

REDBAND Welcomes new Blogger Mike Brandes

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Honored to have Mike Brandes join the “Band”. I’m looking forward to his unique perspective on Business, Leadership and AV Technology. If you don’t know Mike you will soon.

Welcome to REDBAND!

Chris

 

 

REDBAND: Paying It Forward to Other Service Providers by Todd Anthony Puma

Several times in this space I’ve mentioned the Home Theater Rebuild. This is an organization I started a couple of years ago to give back to the industry that gave so much to me. It also has helped develop new service providers in the industry and assisted those who need a little guidance or advice on taking their business to the next level. It’s been a labor of love, and I’ve been rewarded several-fold in with new friendships, business relationships, and just knowing I’m doing the right thing by my AV community.

Just this week, the best thing happened. One of the members of the Rebuild “paid it forward” and took on another service provider to help them out.

Home Theater Advisors (HTA) has been in the Rebuild for about a year, and has grown from a brand-new company operating “nights and weekends” to a full-time business that is set to exceed its annual revenue target in the next two to three months.

Another provider reached out to HTA because they were asked to re-install an unfamiliar remote control brand for a new client that was moving into a new residence. The owner of HTA was more than happy to help out and lend a hand to get a fellow company out of a jam and to delight a client. While HTA did get a little bit of revenue, the owner, Mark, told me that wasn’t why he did it. He said he had gotten so much from the networking opportunities and help from other providers in the Rebuild, that he “owed” it to the community to help out someone else in need….

To continue reading click the link below:

http://www.residentialsystems.com/default.aspx?tabid=90&EntryId=598

ToddRedband

Todd Anthony Puma is the CEO & Founder of The Source Home Theater. Check out his  website at The Source Home Theater and follow him on twitter at  @ToddAnthonyPuma .

 

REDBAND: 3 Things I Learned About A/V from Watching Restaurant Stakeout By Stackhouse

I absolutely love food. It is truly one of my great passions. For a long time when I was younger I wanted to become a chef, which lead to me working as a server, a line cook and a manager before I became a technology professional. A few nights ago I was sitting in my home watching an episode of Restaurant Stakeout. It’s one of my favorite TV shows and even though I have seen the show many times, something in this episode made me sit up and pay attention to the uncanny parallels between our world and the food service industry. The world of A/V professionals is usually considered to be a part of the technology sector but we are actually a part of the hospitality business as well. This may not be obvious so grab a seat and get comfortable. I’ll be your server today and show you with these three tasty appetizers what some of those parallels are.

Flank Steak
Good training is absolutely critical to executing at 110% with every client. Imagine you’re out to dinner with your friends at the hottest new restaurant in town. Though you haven’t had it before you’ve heard that this place has amazing flank steak. The waiter asks you how you would like that cooked and you say “well done” while the waiter just says “OK” and puts your order in with the kitchen. The only problem is that flank steak is a different kind of steak that is best served medium well at most or it’s going to taste leathery and overly chewy. This experience is going leave a bad taste in the customers mouth and could have been prevented if the waiter had educated their guest. The problem here is that the waiter didn’t know, which is the restaurant managers fault.

Customers are three times more likely to talk about a bad experience than a good one and in this situation the waiter should have helped their guest to find the memorable dining experience they were seeking. Our roles as A/V professionals aren’t any different. Our clients trust us to be experts and know all of the subtleties of our trade. For A/V business owners execution is key to success and this means understanding that your front line people have to be sharp. Remember, the best staff are well trained staff and your company is only as good as the least educated and trained member of it’s team, so make sure you invest time, energy and money into keeping your installers, technicians and customer assistance people well trained and well informed….

Tonight’s Our Anniversary
Imagine that you’re out on the town on a Friday night looking for a special way to celebrate your love for your partner. You go to a restaurant that is supposed to have great food and amazing drink specials. When you arrive it’s particularly busy and once you get a table (after waiting 25 minutes) things start to go downhill. Your waiter isn’t around when you need him, he put your order in wrong completely ignoring your request for the chicken parmigiana to be unbreaded, and he didn’t even offer you a complimentary drink for your anniversary or comp your check for messing up your order. You feel like your special night was ruined and you won’t be coming back again or recommending this place to your friends and family.

If you approach A/V with an understanding that we are really hospitality driven, since our product is a luxury in many instances, you quickly see how this restaurant experience isn’t really any different from what we do on a daily basis. Whether you’re a commercial or residential company your clients are really looking for someone to make them feel special just as a good restaurant would. They want to feel as if you really care about them. Successful restaurateurs understand and help their people to understand that they are serving love on a plate. Why should a luxury product like A/V be any different? Remember that simple things make a big difference for your clients. Accommodate special requests, focus on the guest experience. Blow your customers away and you’ll not only make them feel obligated to come back to your company again and again, but you’ll also make them want to refer people to you.

Who’s In Charge?
Restaurant owners often mistakenly think that their staff performs up to their expectations when they aren’t around . Often this isn’t true but it’s not because people don’t want to work hard. In fact it’s usually the opposite and has more to do with absentee owners and managers who don’t practice solid leadership skills.

Imagine that you’re the manager of a busy restaurant but your often hiding away back in the office. It’s likely that without constant communication and feedback from you that your people wouldn’t meet your expectations of them. Worse yet you won’t understand what they need from you to succeed.

The world of A/V isn’t any different. Project managers need to be present and remember to lead their people. Remember they not only need to be directed they WANT you to do so, and when you do you help your bottom line and your people to stay happy.

 

 

Check out Joshua Stackhouse’s profile on LinkedIn and follow him on his Blog: Massive Stack . Oh yeah he’s on  Twitter too: @StackhouseAV