Building on AV Certifications
In addition to traditional AV certs, more factors to weigh about your AV partner.
From our 4-Word Thinking Series: Small doses (four, to be exact) of AV tips, trends, terms, and tech.
On January 1, 2023, AVIXA officially retired its Audio Visual Provider of Excellence (APEx) Program. An organizational-level designation for the ProAV industry, ‘APEx’ aimed to be synonymous with quality standards: a mark of distinction for AV consultants and integrators aligned with training, certifications, and client satisfaction. Which brings us to our point: as a plus to traditional AV certifications, what factors can an end-user organization weigh to determine if an AV integrator is their right partner? Our 4:
#1 Roles, the well-rounded kind. For example, a Project Manager with an AV CTS badge, PMI (Project Management Institute) cert, OSHA safety training, and a financial management course, can be a significant asset. We can (and should) take this a step further, into post-project support: A service desk agent with AV, IT, and customer service training. Prioritize role responsibilities first, then prioritize the types and levels of training and certification needed to meet those responsibilities. And then ask for them.
#2 Infrastructure. We’re talking about certifications such as BICSI RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer). Having the proper education to not only design the AV system but the network it runs on, is indispensable- literally laying the groundwork for success.
#3 Real World. Not just a certificate, but hands on experience with integrating a specific solution for a specific application. Theoretical doesn’t provide the same success metrics as real-world integration does. The “will it work” vs. “does it work”. And while we’re predominately focused on success, hands-on knowledge of components that don’t work together, solutions that don’t fit a particular application, or known failures, is just as crucial.
#4 Client Effort. There are several published models for client feedback: NPS (the ‘would you recommend’ score), CSAT (the ‘on a scale of 1 through 5 how satisfied’ score), and, what we believe to be the most important, CES. Client Effort Scoring asks clients to rate the amount of effort required to work with a company: for example, to have their project delivered, accessing the service desk, or getting as-builts. Ratings range from extremely positive to extremely negative, all focused on the experience. As it should be.
Without a doubt, integrators should have the proper AV certifications to effectively deploy solutions. Like USIS AV, the best integrators have invested in their people with ongoing training, education, and testing. The ideas above are simply additional considerations to round out (and up) an assessment.