Why Doing Business With Your Local Copier Dealer is Smart Business
Competition is good and competition is healthy. Right! There are many options available in your community with local equipment dealers, box stores and on the internet, the big question is why stay with the company you’ve trusted for years? Maybe going on-line is the easiest way to purchase, but what type of support do you get?
We’ll answer a few questions in the office equipment industry that is being hit hard by outside influences. Answering some questions may help business owners understand that staying with the company you know might be the best solution.
Let’s look at a few ways you can make the right decision when making purchases from the companies you know and those you don’t. Is the company you are looking at…
Many office equipment dealers are diversifying their technologies, providing for management of documents electronically, providing network services or other integrated solutions for your business. Providing this technology helps businesses operate more efficiently which helps control cost in the long run. Ask what more the technology you are purchasing can do to help your business not today, but years down the road. If you’re going to have these devices for years, then they should be able to adapt as your business adapts. Large box stores or on-line companies may provide some of the technology but who and how will implementation happen.
“How much does the product your purchasing cost?” This is the first question all of us that own or manage a business want to know. The answer isn’t simple because there are a lot of variables when trying to answer these questions. Do you want color or black and white? How many copies or prints are you going to do a month? What accessories are you in need of? These questions help us understand your needs, but doesn’t help us understand the actual businesses problem. What pain is your business having that a newer device might be able to resolve.
There is misperception that buying directly from a box store or on-line will always get you the best price. Who will unbox and set the device up? How much time will be spent reading manuals on how to operate? Who will connect to your network? How much time is this going to take and what is your time worth and what type of support will I get after the sale? Even if you pay less for the equipment itself, as we all know – price isn’t everything.
Talk to anyone who’s been in the office technology industry for any length of time, and they will all say that local dealers provide better service. When buying off the shelf or on-line, there is no guarantee where the support will come from or if you will need to return the product for service. If that’s the case how long will the product be gone and what will you do in the mean time?
Ask the dealers about the training the service technicians receive. Are they all factory trained or does one person get trained and try to pass on to the other service technicians? What certifications can they provide that training was provided on the product being purchased?
The box store or on-line retailer isn’t truly local. Check that your dealer has technicians from your area. This can result in a service call response time from eight hours or less compared to twenty-four hours or more from box stores or on-line. Conversely, local dealers and their technicians will make decisions fast.
Service technicians also tend to be some of the longest-tenured employees. They know what they’re doing. In fact, they’ve seen it all, there on the job experience and knowledge equals faster repair and a quicker return to productivity for your business.
Newer technologies are allowing local dealers to service many issues remotely providing for increased efficiencies within your business. Large retailers or on-line centers will often simply forward contact info to the nearest technician who may be subcontracted. They may have no context of the problem, so it takes them longer to diagnose and fix. Having at least an idea of what’s wrong allows local technicians to ensure they’re carrying parts and supplies they’re most likely to need when they arrive at your office allowing for a higher percentage of first-time fix time.
Most local dealers have loyal sales representatives who stick around. They build relationships with their clients and understand how their services can help their clients achieve their business goals. If they are providing you great service, they are constantly surveying your business to see how they can help you. Even though businesses are doing more business electronically, the printing costs can be a few percentage points of your overall revenue. If you’re in the legal, healthcare, or insurance industries, it can be even more. It’s important to know the person advising your business understands the solutions and technologies available to help meet your business objectives.
In essence, going with your local dealer has many advantages. Although we highlighted only four discussion points it comes down to your business’s practices. Maybe you have an IT person on staff that can handle all the issues of buying from outside entities, but is that the best use of your IT person. The focus of your IT department is handling software, servers, firewalls and managing the day to day needs of your employees. Printers, copiers and integration is best handled by the professionals who have been handling this technology for years.