Why did Krika move to a Concierge Service?

Yes, it's a legitimate question you might ask yourself: Why the heck would Krika - a successful world - class, multi-award-winning manufacturer of remote supervision - suddenly stop its production, embrace the technology of its biggest competitor (Domotz), and totally pivot into a “service” company? Before we start, we would like you to focus on the word “service” because in the next month it's going to be the most important word in our residential industry, and particularly in the CEDIA channel.

Take a deep breath and hold on tight: this is a fun story that should inspire lots of you.

As you might have read in all our previous Krika blog postings, selling remote supervision devices to a Home Technology Professional is quite challenging. Professionals love remote supervision, quickly grasping how it works, and clearly comprehending the incredible benefits this cheap little box can offer. But professionals have their own two big challenges: The first is to sell this concept of remote supervision/service/maintenance to the end-user, the second is to honor this “service” agreement.

This second point in particular makes Home Technology Professionals feel like they are trapped and at the mercy of their clients. As clients use their system almost exclusively in the evening and the weekend, Home Technology Professionals that would like to offer service & support when their clients really needs it are sentenced to having a complicated personal life. On top of that, there is no culture of service and maintenance in the residential channel, therefore, the equation for Krika is simple: If [{No service} and/or {maintenance}] equal {no remote supervision} then {Must help Home Technology Professionals to create a culture of service and maintenance}

The necessity to create this culture of 24/7 service is likely more obvious now than three years ago simply because recently a disturbing element just happens to land on our field: The GAFA. They even have booths and keynote speeches two years in a row within something that was supposed to be our exclusive, peaceful sanctuary: The CEDIA show!

As long as our little industry was alone in providing AV and Home Automation, end-users did not really have any other reference for what service and maintenance should look like in this field. But you can count on the GAFA to raise the standard to a much higher level just because - boy, oh, boy - the billions of connected devices they will sell to people will generate a lot of support. When GAFA talks about support they talk about an opportunity to make money. If you think about it, honestly, they are right for doing this and we are wrong not to do so, especially now that the margin on hardware gets smaller every day.

For the past three years at Krika we listened with empathy to the daily struggle of Home Technology Professionals and decided to go one step further providing what we consider to be the obvious missing link for a small or medium Home Technology company: Combined remote supervision with a dedicated support service their clients could call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What we want to achieve is simple: We want to cut all the noise that distracts you and your employees during working hours but also during evening and weekends. Every call from your clients will end up to our Concierge. You'll change your voicemail message to something like “Hello, I can't answer at the moment, but I am probably sitting on a ladder drilling holes in a celling so please call or SMS our 24/7 support number 1.800.XXX.XXX and they'll take care of you”. Once you try it for two days we can guarantee it will restore your faith in humankind.

That's it? You only answer the phone? Thanks to the information you will provide to us about your clients' sites (Krika boxes remote supervision, IP Controllable Outlets, Managed Switches, etc.) Krika Concierge will be able to fix any small issue that arises. As a bonus, we reassure your clients and allow them to appreciate that you offered a full-fledged service. Perception is very important when a problem occurs: knowing that someone will answer 24/7, starting the conversation with “Hello, how can I help you?” solves 50% of the issue. We will also provide your company with a dedicated telephone number that you will give to your clients, so that we can answer your client's calls starting with your company's name - because, of course, Krika Concierge is white labeled for you.

What if you can't resolve the problem? Let's say your client's Internet is down, a device is fried, or the Home Automation processor needs to be reprogrammed, these are all cases where someone will have to go onsite. We are the first line of defense, and if we can't resolve it, then we will organize the second line of defense - the Home Technology Professional to fix the problem. Yet again a reoccurring issue: End-users will know that you will not roll the truck for free. Perception is a key element and partnering with us will promote your company as positive and helpful on a whole new level. Your clients will just follow the new rules without asking any question. Like they do with all the GAFA products - like when they buy Apple Care on top of an expensive iPhone while it is supposed to be the most reliable device in the world.

OK, so what's the cost and who will pay for it? We will charge you for the concierge service (check price here), and we'll find a way for your clients to adhere to your brand new, 24/7, top quality support service. Before your partnership with Krika, your service was as reliable as a free service can be and unconsciously your client knew that. Sometimes they even feel uncomfortable to call late in the evening because they know you will not always charge them. Things will change now, and - you can believe us or not - your clients would love to pay for this service. Together with us, we will generate different monthly aftercare plans and your clients' will adhere to one that suits them. They will pay you directly by credit card through a dedicated online payment portal we'll setup for you on your website. In addition, we'll craft an official marking scheme for all your onsite service calls. Like every construction professional, plumber, or electrician, you will be paid for your work. In the end, we want the concierge service to be profitable for you instead of a cost, and we want it to be way less expensive than if you would set your own 24/7 support service with your actual team.

Is it complicated? How long does it take to set this up? Before we start our partnership, you will enter client information (devices, room names, how it is connected, etc.) into our database and, most important of all, you will install a Krika remote supervision box - along with as many IP power strips as possible on the most critical devices. You will buy the Krika box and we'll offer you all licenses free of charge. It's a huge step for your company, you're always on the run and we understand if you are hesitant to jump into this. So, take you by the hand and we made it super simple for you by doing almost everything by ourselves.
- The creation of all emails and communication your clients will receive on your behalf to inform them of the incredible news about the new 24/7 support your company can now offer them.
- The implementation of the payment portal on your website. Your clients will log in, choose the plan they want, enter their credit card information and boom! Every month you'll get money directly in your bank account. Charging each of your clients every month can be time consuming, so we resolved this for you with a fully automatic system.
- The creation of the toll-free number dedicated to your company. That's the number you'll give all your clients so we know it represents yours and we can answer accordingly.
- The creation of your account on a professional management tool (Zendesk) so you'll have detailed reporting about all phone calls, what we did, the duration, if we resolved the issue or not, if there is a need for an intervention, when the client is available for you to make the onsite visit, etc.

And what about the legacy Krika business? Like you, we had to make some decisions regarding priorities of the company. That was not an easy step to do, we had to leave our little babies Krika mini and Krika One and create a whole new business. But we knew what we wanted, and most important of all, we know what you need and we can deliver it to you. Julien and I have great expertise in residential networks, in AV, in Home Automation and we are actually hiring the best professionals in the world for the Krika Concierge. (BTW--we're hiring!)

Joining Domotz was an obvious choice. It's great company and we will share with them our special Krika features that they have not yet implemented. The legacy of Krika box will still continue to work until the end of time. If you want, we will send you a Micro SD card for your Krika Mini, that way you can easily switch from Krika to Domotz. Krika is now the exclusive online reseller for a "Krika box by Domotz".

Our CEDIA channel should not feel shy in front of the GAFA, because we are still the biggest reservoir of talented people in the AV industry. What's missing? Small improvements here and there, the right tools, good partnership, and the hunger for success! Let's change the perception of our industry and create a culture of service that makes yourself and your clients happy.

Julien and Bruno Napoli