A doctor can’t diagnose an illness when she doesn’t know anything about the symptoms; an architect can’t build your dream house if you never describe what your dream house looks like; and an audiovisual (AV) integrator can’t help troubleshoot your AV equipment without at least some idea of what’s going wrong.
As IT outsourcing declines, IT managers and teams have more and more to do. AV integrators can be a great support to these overburdened IT professionals and calling in an integrator to identify and resolve operational issues with your AV equipment can save you both time and money. But you also need to provide your qualified AV integrator with the right information to help them successfully service and maintain your AV system.
Here are 10 things you can do to get the most value out of your AV service call.
BEFORE YOU MAKE A SERVICE CALL
If you have the time and the manpower to spare, there are a few steps you can take before you even reach out to your integrator that will help them work faster and more effectively when they get on-site—or might save you a service call altogether.
- Assess the problem. In some cases, you might already know what the problem is, and describing it accurately can help your integrator solve it faster. Here are some questions to ask yourself. Is user error a factor? Are any indicator lights on? Is everything plugged in, and are the cable connections stable? If the problem occurred when a user connected to the system with a certain device, you could try to recreate the issue using that device, or a similar one.
- Determine the last time the system worked. Just like retracing your steps to find your lost keys, go back to the last time the system was functional and try to narrow down what went wrong from there. Was someone using the system when it stopped working? What parts of the system were they using and what did they notice?
- Find out when the system was last updated. System updates that happen without an IT manager in the loop—or system updates that should have been made and weren’t—can create glitches in your AV systems. In the best-case scenario, someone on your team will have a log of software, firmware, and network updates. If your system hasn’t been updated lately, let your integrator know.
- Articulate the problem. Just like a doctor needs to know where it hurts, an AV integrator can work faster and better if you can describe the issue you are encountering, even if it’s just in general terms. At the least, your integrator needs to know what feature or functionality is not working, and how those features and functionality usually work.
WHEN YOU SCHEDULE THE SERVICE CALL
- Determine if a phone call is enough. If you have a good sense of the issue and just need a little expert guidance, a phone consultation with your AV integrator might be enough. And it will most likely be cheaper than an on-site service call.
- Check the room and system availability. If you do need to schedule an on-site call, make sure the room and the AV equipment won’t be in use during your appointment. Ask the integrator how long they anticipate being on-site to help schedule the right window.
- Make the right resources available. An AV integrator can’t do the job efficiently or effectively if they spend half the scheduled service call tracking down the people and tools they need. When you schedule the service call, make sure it’s for a time when other relevant people—the person with access to the rack room, or the person who knows the most about the issue and how the system normally operates—are available, too. You should also track down a record or log of previous updates, service issues, and maintenance as well as the latest system drawings and system code to share during the call or before the integrator comes on-site.
- Define your desired outcome. Can you live with your system being offline for a lengthy repair? Or are you interested in any workaround solutions that could keep your system running while a more permanent fix is being worked out? Every integrator’s goal is a long-term solution, but your integrator should also be able to recommend temporary options that restore the functionality you need most without disrupting system usability.
DURING YOUR SERVICE CALL
- Be available. Your integrator will take care of just about everything during your scheduled service call, but it’s best to stick around in case they have any questions or need access to equipment.
- Communicate clearly. Make sure your technician knows what your repair deadlines are and what interim functionality you need. If the solution they propose doesn’t give you the outcome you want, ask about other options. A service call is also a good time to ask the integrator about whether the AV technology is due for any hardware upgrades or system refreshes.
Find an Integrator
Taking time to prepare for an on-site service call is the ideal scenario, but most IT teams are already too busy to take on another task. Be sure to ask you integrator about all the service options they offer. The right integrator will happily handle everything that’s required to prepare and execute a service call if you can’t. Many AV service providers also offer customized plans that can include on-site staffing, preventative maintenance, documentation, break-fix services, and more. Find a qualified integrator that best meets your needs.