TFWM: Compared to the other markets Barco services, does the HOW market require a different approach?
Peter Taylor: I have been involved with the HOW market for several years, and I have had the opportunity to work closely with several prominent churches that have allowed me to gain insight into the requirements of these ministries.
The production typically goes live on Sunday morning; sometimes Saturday or mid week evenings. Manufacturer support is at its lowest during these times, and budgets do not always allow for back-up solutions.
Not only does a manufacturer have to produce high quality images in projection, they also have to provide extremely reliable equipment, as well as put a support structure in place that can address the unique requirements of the Church. Sundays are not an ideal time for a manufacturer to conduct on-site service.
With a video-only venue for example, if the projector(s) go down, it is as though the Pastor or Minister didn’t turn up for work!
The country’s leading ministries are on the bleeding edge of technology. They were among the first to adopt High Definition capability and the distribution of High Definition content, together with the infrastructures and other technologies that allow for realistic imagery and time-synced productions.
TFWM: How is customer service for the HOW market evolving and how is Barco responding to that?
PT: Barco has, and will continue to put in to place people, training, support structures, programs and leading HOW integration partners that understand the specifics of the market. Our newly created Partner Program now allows us to really focus on a select group of Channel Partners (Dealers, Integrators, VAD’s etc.) so company infrastructures are not stretched, and a high support level can be maintained. Our Channel Partners have to participate in several layers of training, including installation and service certifications.
We believe in the POWER OF 2; the manufacturer and Strategic Vertical Partner together, bringing in a working solution and a post installation service and support solution. As a preventative measure, we have Applications Engineering and Sales Support Engineering to support our partners with the customer’s design and ensure system interoperability and proper integration with Barco equipment. After the sale, Barco provides System Engineering functions to assist our partners in maintaining the highest quality visual system performance to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction.
TFWM: Does Barco plan on offering any ancillary education on unique HOW specific visual solutions?
PT: As the larger churches typically have their own Audio Visual staff, and these folks are responsible for the performance of the equipment, we feel that the best way to provide support is to train the church staff along with our partners. We train them on their equipment through off-site, scheduled classes that include in-depth information about tools such as recommended spares kits.
No manufacturer can provide on-site assistance on a Sunday morning at all locations. Self sufficiency is the best recourse. We offer the training, not on just the projectors, but the image processing equipment for switching, scaling, blending and special video effects. With this combined knowledge, any remedial work can be performed in an expedited manner. We also encourage basic help like Lamp Lease Programs that ensure a lamp is available without customer having to risk the investment for a spare that may go out of warranty before it is installed.
TFWM: Does Barco have any relationships with leasing companies to give a wider array of churches access to Barco’s products?
PT: Yes. Barco works with a few leasing companies and our partners to meet the specific HOW market needs. We have a specific lease that is designed especially for non-profit organizations of all kinds, and is further optimized for the HOW market. This program assists churches in obtaining the right technology for their solution using their existing budgetary guidelines. Sometimes budgetary limitations may cause a church to settle for equipment that may not meet all of the performance requirements for their application. This program also prevents a problem that can arise when it is time to upgrade; with this program they can upgrade with a lease option.