If you haven’t purchased or leased a copier lately, you may be surprised by the number of companies selling copiers these days! Investing in new equipment or upgrading your current copier doesn’t need to be a difficult or lengthy endeavor. In fact, if you select a reputable vendor, the process will be effortless, economical, speedy and smooth. Here’s everything you should consider when determining which copier vendor you’ll ultimately partner with.
1. How many different manufacturers do they offer?
Your organization is unique and will have specific office equipment needs that other businesses may not. However, you don’t necessarily want to partner with a company that sells a large variety of devices, from multiple manufacturers. By providing an assortment of brands and equipment to choose from, the sales and service team likely won’t be “experts” on every device or software option available. Dealers who carefully select a few brands and models, are typically well-versed on each. This means the technicians are working with the same devices often, thus creating efficiency on service calls.
2. Where is equipment and supplies coming from?
It is wise to be aware of the warehouse location that stores the company’s copier equipment and supplies. In the event you need toner ASAP, a part for device repair or complete equipment replacement, the copier warehouse should be conveniently located. The closer your business is to the vendor’s sales office AND warehouse, the better. This ensures you’re not left waiting on shipped product from a distant warehouse.
3. What is the organization’s “turnover rate” like?
While working with friendly, knowledgeable staff is always welcome, be sure you are also selecting a company that doesn’t have a high employee turnover rate. Unfortunately, the average sales tenure for most providers is a mere 12-18 month, while the typical service tenure is less than 3 years. Utilizing a highly trained sales, support and service team isn’t possible if the provider constantly has to hire and train new staff. There’s no way to develop rapport with your provider, if a new technician arrives at every service call. Service and support staff must possess good technical skills, communicate clearly and know exactly what is required to get your equipment running optimally. All of this takes time, experience and obtaining certifications in the field, something a “newbie” won’t be able to automatically deliver.
Try to locate a company that truly values their staff by promoting leadership growth within the organization and provides extended learning opportunities. For example, at AOT our average service tenure is 6 years, more than double the industry standard. As for sales tenure, our specialists have been in the industry, on average, for an impressive 13 years!
4. Do they have a call center?
When dealing with technical devices, there’s bound to be questions, issues, maintenance and necessary repairs. It is more efficient when copier providers have a designated call center. If you’re being directed to an automated call system, or your call is being outsourced, it will likely take longer for your issue to be resolved. Providers who employ LIVE individuals, in-house to address calls, is the best scenario. At AOT, our customer support professionals answer calls immediately. Moreover, service is typically dispatched while our clients are on the line. Our technicians even provide a follow-up call within 60 minutes of the initial client call, offering their ETA.
5. Are they a dealer or manufacturer?
As if there weren’t enough dealers in the marketplace, manufacturers can also serve as office technology providers. Basically, this means that a company who manufactures copiers, say Xerox, can also sell or lease, and service copiers for businesses. We could write a book on the differences between working with a dealer, versus a manufacturer (in fact, we have a great blog post about it here). The bottom line, a manufacturer is often a large, international organization. This means the “little guy” may not get much attention, since these companies are volume driven. If your business is small to mid-range in size, you might be completely overlooked, or have to wait extended periods of time before your issues are addressed. On the other hand, dealers don’t have to contend with the regulations and procedures manufacturers usually have in place. Dealers tend to be more service oriented, placing an emphasis on fostering long-term client partnerships.
6. Are they also offering IT services?
While offering IT services may seem like a benefit, it can actually be a drawback. Consolidating services, like document management and MPS (managed print services), is one thing, IT is a totally different ballgame. Interestingly, many dealers tend to offer some level of IT assistance to their clients, as an added bonus. If your provider offers structured IT products or services, they will be less willing to offer complimentary help when you need it. On the flip side, they may even push unwanted, or unnecessary services, instead of focusing on the primary task at hand, managing your copier fleet.
We have said it before and we’ll say it again, not all copier providers are created equal! Taking time to do a bit of research will go a long way in helping you select the appropriate vendor for your business.
Want to chat with an organization that checks all of the above boxes? Reach out to the industry award-winning, office technology experts at AOT today!