There's nothing like a completed home theater or smart-home job, when the last installer has left the site, and every audio, video and home-automation device works perfectly. But one of these days, a connection is going to come loose, or a surge will disrupt the system, or a TV will die.
The true test of a great installer is how quickly they can make a customer whole when something goes awry. In a short, meaningful post on Linkedin, Kyle Griffith of KG Theaters in Austin, Texas, explains how important it is to “prepare for failure.”
The post is printed below with Griffith's kind permission.
As a part time Property Manager my job is to prevent disasters. When the plumber comes over we protect the floors, lay out a fire extinguisher and pretty much anything it takes to prevent a problem.
As a full time Audio Video Designer and Installer I try to apply those lessons. I plan for failure.
I put in good surge units with plugs I can reset from afar. I label everything and leave slack for service. I try to talk to the client about buying backups of key parts that in the electronic world won't be around for long. I teach them how to reset things and when to call or text me.
Too often we get too excited about all the cool whiz bang features and design systems that give the client the best of breed system while forgetting about having a second remote on hand in a drawer or keeping it simple when an upgrade has to happen.
At the end of the day the client just wants it to work and when it breaks they want it fixed quickly.
I like to be the hero. I put on my cape and swoop in when there is a problem but I also plan for the problems and try to prevent them. Trouble will happen. Have a plan to prevent as much as possible and when it does happen show your client how good you really are.