When we offer our clients products or packages, we refer to them as “Good”, “Better”, and “Best”. Other companies may offer different scales and you may hear names like “entry level” or “advanced” or even “audiophile” or “videophile”. We feel these scales just make clients feel bad about their purchases. We don’t like to herd all the great products and put them in a category that would make a client feel like they were wanting more. Rather, we take into account several factors when we separate our products, programs and packages.
First, it is important to know that we do not sell everything. We only take on products that meet certain criteria as it relates to our business model. While not all products have to hit a bulls-eye in every category, it is important that they can be considered. Here are some of our criteria:
Some companies take on products that carry the most margin and make them as profitable as possible. While that may be fine for some, we like to look at value and bang for the buck. For example, we feel that there are many products and lines that tend to have a better reputation than what they deserve. That is not to say they are not god products, but the valuation on these products can sometimes be artificially inflated. Rather, we are constantly searching for products that have excellent value vs. what they offer acoustically. Our goal is to give our clients the very best for their money.
Quality is essential and some products that exist have specific issues or problems that could be specific to the product line or model. It is our job to weed out these products and have an ear for the issues that arise. Providing our clients with components that are well-made are essential to our business. If quality is not a concern the end result is a poor client experience.
We understand the features and benefits that our clients are looking for. It is important that we take on products that not only have these features, but utilize them in a reliable and enjoyable way. A feature that is not presented properly should not be considered if a client has a hard time using it, or if it does not present well.
The bottom line is that the product must perform well to be considered. If we feel there is no “wow factor” we will not consider taking on a product line. The product must be able to exceed our client’s expectations, whether that means audio, video, control, networking, or all of the above. We want to offer you an experience you can’t buy in a store, and we expect our products to perform.
Many times our clients do not recognize the importance of this factor, but it is actually extremely important. We need to take on products that integrate well with other products. This means the manufacturer has to go out of the way to form relationships with other companies. For example, an AVR manufacturer makes its API (or instructions on how to control it) available to control system companies. In turn, we can provide our clients with the best possible control experience. That is a simple example, and integration can take on a lot of meanings, but it is important that the manufacturers recognize that consumers want products that “play nice” with other products.
Another factor that is essential to our product selection is how good the product customer service support is. That does not mean simply fielding phone calls and helping people through problems, it also means being proactive. Listening to the issues that are being encountered, feature requests, and other customer complaints are vital. Being able to address the issues that arise on the field allow us to do our job and get our issues addressed without it infringing on your time or expense are important factors to consider. We will never take on a product line that is not thoroughly supported.
WARRANTY AND REPAIR
Let’s face it, components can sometimes break or become defective over time. It is our mind-set that the longer and more inclusive warranty period a manufacturer offers the more value that is tied to the product. We want clients to purchase products that last beyond a reasonable time of usage. In the least, we want them to know that if the product should fail over a reasonable amount of time that there are warranty and repair provisions that are there for them. Not only does the manufacturer have to provide a term that is fair, but also needs to make the return and/or repair process as easy as possible.
AUTHORIZED DIRECT DEALERS
We try to take on products that we can sell through an authorized channel. It is unfair for us to sell you a product that does not give you all the benefits and warranty originally designed for you. Many internet sales boast cheaper pricing and major discounts. Beware of these products as there is no warranty provision or support attached to it. These shops claim they are authorized to sell a particular product or service, but in the end you are left holding the bag. They will not help you should you require a repair, return, or some level of support. We stay clear from products that are mass sold on the internet by dealers claiming they are authorized.
In this day and age, appearance is really important to many of our clients. Sure it has to pass the other tests, but in the least, it has to be able to blend in with the design and décor of the home or office. Manufacturers are in tune to this philosophy and are now making products that are sleeker and designed for appearance. We realize that some of our clientele prefers the natural and “old school” type of design, but many also prefer the aesthetic value that is becoming more popular. We try and take on a balance of the two.
There are many other smaller type of criteria that is less important but nonetheless considered as well. Things like shipping policies, ease of ordering, sales support, parts and accessories, general availability, price fluctuations, internet sales, reputation and a variety of other smaller considerations. We try and evaluate all of the less important aspects of a product because they can tie in to experience as well.
Okay, now that we have provided our multiple quality checks that go into each and every product we carry, you know that we are not selling anything low grade, low quality, and low value. That means that the products and components we use in installation and that we sell direct to our clients have touched and passed on every single point mentioned above. We have rounded these products in a “Good”, “Better” and “Best” category to make it easier for clients to choose their experience. Usually as you move up from Good to Better to Best, the performance, quality, features and possibly some of the other attributes improve.
Total Control Remotes offers many packages and products sorted in “Good”, “Better”, and “Best” categories. Stay tuned for a future article on some of our G, B & B picks by product category.