Last month, Tommy Kissell experienced a mishap dreaded by integrators everywhere: a router had crashed in a house with a large multizone network with a sophisticated control automation system.
Kissell immediately contacted the router’s manufacturer, Pakedge. Within 24 hours, the California-based manufacturing company sent out an advanced replacement at no additional charge. The system was quickly restored, the crisis averted.
Kissell was grateful for the quick response. “Most companies make us go through a tedious protocol that procrastinates the issue at hand.” He says. “Pakedge’s main concern is the dealer and client satisfaction. They focus on the solution, then the paperwork.”
Kissell has been using Pakedge networking equipment exclusively as the backbone for his Elan g! systems since 2014. As owner and president of Eco High Fidelity in Richardson, Texas, he has projects all over the country, including a branch in Maui. His systems are dependent on the solid networks for maintenance and troubleshooting. Kissell’s opinion of the Pakedge tech support team is overwhelmingly positive, “We couldn’t do it without them.”
Most companies treat tech support as a hassle and outsource it overseas to minimize expenses. The Pakedge tech support team is based in Huntington Beach, California. Seven tech support specialists man the phones from 6 in the morning to 6 at night. Installers calling in often know the staff on a first name basis.
In high-tech companies like Pakedge, support and services play an integral role in the relationships the company has with its customers. Benson Chan, Vice President of Business Development at Pakedge, says that excellent support and services come in two parts.
Being Proactive About Service
“Everyone understands what tech support’s role is in a traditional sense,” says Chan. “You buy a product, you have an issue, and then you contact the business for guidance. But when you really think about it, good tech support comes before you even buy the product. So good tech support isn’t just reactive, it’s proactive. It’s in minimizing the need to even call tech support. It’s in the product planning, the simplification of setup and configuration, and making sure dealers are properly trained.”
One of the proactive services offered by the company is its monthly webinars, in which a sales or tech support specialist coaches integrators on the best practices of the latest products launched. Pakedge makes its collection of training videos and PDFs available on the company’s official website, under its Dealer Portal. Pakedge also offers in-person trainings by sending reps all across the U.S. to give live hands-on trainings in a classroom setting. One of the company’s most innovative training methods involves guiding integrators through a virtual training rack – this training rack lets a new integrator test out the features of multiple devices and turn their ports on and off through a web browser. The company even offers one-on-one trainings upon request.
The drive to train installers diminishes the number of tech support calls over common issues. Mike Colapietro of Bridged Concepts often turns to Pakedge when learning a new feature for the first time. “[Pakedge]is great at showing us how to do it, and documenting it, so that we can make sure we can just repeat it the next 25 times,” says Colapietro. “When cases have presented it, we have gone as far as to have them remote into the system and just get it done. But even in these cases, the great thing is that they still show us everything they did (with documentation) so that we don’t have to keep relying on them every time the same situation comes up.”
Recently, Pakedge put together a 90-day “Fast-Track” program to train new dealers to develop basic networking expertise in Pakedge products and services, to develop a business success plan, and to build personal relationships with their representatives.
This proactive tech support philosophy extends to the product design and development, as one of the company mottos is “making the complex simple.” An example of this is seen in the Pakedge C36 Wireless Controller: it employs a custom designed graphical user interface to facilitate the setup, deployment, and maintenance of the network. An automated software wizard guides the installer through the setup process, eliminating guesswork. Software visualization tools in the site survey process mimic the surrounding radio frequency environment and eliminate errors. A graphical WAP map lets the integrator upload a floor plan and then drag and drop wireless access points onto it to determine how many access points are needed in an installation and where they should go.
The full spectrum of support and services developed by Pakedge is meant to help integrators accelerate their business, both before and after their purchases. “We couldn’t really ask for a better level of service,” says Colapietro.