Choosing the right copier partner can be the difference between good office morale and copiers and printers that are consistently down and in need of repair.
I've written about how to find the best copier (read “How Much Does a Color Copier Cost?” Is the Wrong Question).
When you choose the right copier dealer, they'll help you find the best copier for you.
If you've never bought or leased a copier before, or haven't done so in a few years, it's hard to know what to look for.
Many copier dealers look alike (and there's a LOT of us that begin with the letter “A”, a remnant of trying to be first in the Yellow Pages!). Dig under the surface, and copier dealers are different.
These 12 questions will help you identify and work with the copier dealers who are different in a good way!
- Do they take the time to understand your business needs?
Copiers are like any investment. You don't buy or lease the equipment just because, you need to match the equipment – your investment – with the needs of your business.
- Do they offer a range of well-known brand products?
Dealers that offer an extensive range of equipment – whether from one or multiple manufacturers – will be able to guide you to the right devices for your needs. They don't need to try to hammer a square peg into a round hole – they'll have square, triangle, rectangle, and round pegs to offer.
Avoid off brand equipment. Canon, Xerox, Ricoh Sharp, HP, and other name brand companies are well-known for reliability. An off-brand copy machine might be cheaper, but you'll almost certainly spend more time and money in maintenance and repairs.
- Are they an authorized dealer?
Authorized dealers have access to product training and an established relationship with a manufacturer. The dealer has access to more knowledge and training; you get better service and price.
- Can they keep you stocked with supplies?
Keeping track of toner is a pain. Can your partner keep your toner stocked up before you run out?
- Do they have happy customers?
Ask for references and then talk to them. Does the company have a solid reputation for honesty and timely service? Many companies will offer a cheap price that initially looks great, but when you need service those companies will nickel and dime you or just disappear. Look for a copier partner invested in their clients' success (for example, ASI is a part employee-owned company – we care because many of us are vested employees and company shareholders).
- Are their service technicians well-trained?
At some point, your copier will need maintenance and/or repair. When that time comes, you want well-trained professionals working on your equipment. Are they factory trained? Do they update their skills regularly? How experienced are the service technicians – are they new or do they have decades of experience in the field?
- Do they focus on YOUR uptime and quickly resolve issues?
Good companies keep track of their service metrics and strive to continuously improve them. One metric we focus on is first call resolution, which means the issue is fixed in a single visit. When your copiers aren't working, you aren't as productive. Does the company keep a reserve of parts and supplies on hand to enable quick repairs, or do they have to order parts often? Our answer is to keep $1 million in parts and supplies in warehouses and our service technicians' vehicles to enable repairs in a single visit as often as possible (close to 9 out of 10 service visits).
- Do they focus on doing the job right instead of quickly?
Many copier dealers incentivize their service technicians to complete as many jobs as possible in a single day. That can lead to missed repairs or not taking an extra 20 minutes to engage in preventative maintenance that would avoid a future service call. We send our technicians to one job at a time. They are encouraged to do it right – and if they see a maintenance issue, they'll take care of it then and there. This means they are 100% focused on the job at hand, not worried about how to rush through their calls to be finished for the day.
- Do they provide product training?
Copiers can do so much today that it's a shame only a small portion of the features are regularly used. To help you get the most from your investment, will they train your office users on the new equipment? Those productivity apps (like scan to the cloud or email) don't do any good if no one uses them!
- Are they a one-trick pony?
Many copier dealers offer additional business services like business telephones, document management, production print, and more. Consolidating services with a single vendor helps you streamline your business. Plus, one company working across your business can spot opportunities to streamline workflows and further increase your productivity and efficiency while helping your business grow.
- What are their financing options?
A direct equipment purchase isn't always feasible or even a good idea. What leasing options do they provide? Leasing can give you flexibility to add equipment as you grow, as well as give you a predictable monthly cost instead of a large capital expenditure.
- Can they do it all for you?
Can they manage your entire print fleet? If you don't have the internal staff to manage copiers, you can outsource the management of your printers and copiers (it's called managed print services – read about it here).
Now that you know what to ask, ask us – we're ready to give you a hand.