You've heard it before.
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The vendor is often just as important as the product. But it's especially true in a digital copier purchase or upgrade. Why? Because the relationship with your copier dealer will continue long after the initial purchase.
When it comes to digital copier vendors, the operative word is service. Even the most sophisticated and expensive copiers have a reputation for periodically breaking down. In-house repairs are out of the question, so you'll have to rely on your vendor service agreement to get your machine back online as quickly as possible.
The battle for a successful digital copier experience is won or lost during the selection phase. If you choose the wrong vendor or product, you're in for several years of hassles and headaches. Here's what you need to know to keep your purchasing process on track and on budget.
Finding the Right Dealer
The digital copier market is crowded with both legitimate dealers and charlatans looking to make a fast buck on the backs of American small business. If you're not careful it's easy to find yourself in a long-term contract with an unresponsive or incapable dealer. Features and pricing are important, but more than anything else you should be concerned about your dealer's ability to service the product after sale. Sooner or later, you will experience a breakdown and with a digital copier that means you'll lose not only your copying ability, but you're printing, faxing and scanning ability as well.
How to Evaluate Digital Copier Dealers
The first step in evaluating a digital copier vendor is to carefully separate the dealer from the product. Even established companies like Xerox sell their products through dealers who may or may not have a reputation for quality service.
After you have discussed the dealer's product offerings, engage in a conversation about service as soon as possible. You'll want to learn how long the dealer has been in business, whether they offer multiple brands, typical breakdown and repair time, and how many in-house techs the dealer employees. A multi-brand dealer with outsourced techs spread across a large geographic area is a recipe for service disaster.
The best way to evaluate dealer responsiveness is to verify references from both major and minor accounts. If you are a small business that has a relatively low monthly copy count, it's important to know that your dealer will respond to service requests just as quickly as they do for large accounts.