At the InfoComm show last week it was good to see something that had been missing from industry events for a while – optimism. Having been away from the industry for the better part of a year, (the last show I attended was CEDIA in September) the mood was decidedly more positive and most of the people I spoke with mentioned that they were in fact busier than they have been in quite a while. While that in itself doesn’t exactly point to a full recovery, it is nonetheless a better position than we were in last year.
Like many companies in our industry we have focused our energies on profitability rather than growth for the better part of two years now. As part of that process we naturally looked at redundancies, trimming whatever fat we could, and then turned our attentions to our own internal processes – from sales and marketing to technical support, operations, and data.
Our founder Adam Stone built this company on automating the basic business processes associated with the estimation, design, and installation of low voltage systems. We have documented on this blog our automation around CRM, how we handle leads, and our communication processes. Having achieved a great amount of efficiencies in this area, Adam looked at how we could better help our customers get answers to their technical issues. So we looked at how we could better automate the technical support processes – creating a complete documentation Wiki, adding chat to the website, and generally making it much easier for our customers to get help without having to call us. This helped us accomplish two major objectives: 1) provide better service for our customers, and 2) reduce the drain on our tech support resources.
We now have a much more efficiently run support department, our customers are getting help much faster, and the morale of our team has improved because they are not facing a huge backlog of phone calls. Now Adam is applying his focus and efforts to our data gathering and management process. Data is what drives our software, and while we currently have what is one of the most comprehensive AV product databases available, (check out our online library) we are currently reviewing, improving, and re-tooling our entire data methodology. We will have some exciting things to announce in the coming weeks so stay tuned.
While we are most assuredly not alone in wanting to improve how we conduct our day-to-day business, one of the most important by-products of these efforts is that you come out a much stronger company – and well positioned for growth once circumstances start to turn. Which brings me back to my original point – optimism that we have turned the corner and that the business climate is improving.
As companies begin to emerge from internally focused customer retention efforts to new customer acquisition mode, it is more important than ever to become more efficient in order to create a sustainable, profitable business that can scale with new opportunities. At D-Tools we are looking forward to continuing to provide our customers with new and improved tools to manage their product lines, help them create repeatable, scalable processes that can enable them to manage projects that range from small residential theaters and lighting controls to the largest commercial A/V, automation and security systems.
We look forward to connecting with our customers at this week’s CE Pro Live online event. This virtual training and trade show will enable custom integrators to experience a full day of training and visit exhibitors in an engaging online environment. This is a first for our industry and we are proud to participate. We are continuing to invest in our people, software, and internal processes in order to better serve our current and future customers – with an eye to leveraging technologies and processes to help our customers get back to their future growth.