As an SME with a tight budget, chances are excellent after-sales service is something your business needs when it purchases IT. Your business isn’t IT, but you still need everything to work, and minimal downtime. So what happens when you purchase products, believing that you’ll be looked after if you experience any problems, only to realise that the promised after-sales service was nothing more than a sales clinching tactic?
The importance of true, effective after-sales service cannot be overemphasized; especially in IT. IT failure can cripple any company in the world: servers and computers crashing, or something as simple as a keyboard malfunctioning can cause hours if not days of delays.
However, if true after-sales service is offered, issues can be sorted out quickly, ensuring that little to no time is lost by the client. Time is money and downtime costs money.
So, how do you avoid costly IT downtime? First, it’s important to check the fine print involved, even when companies offer after-sales service. The true question to be asked is whether the after-sales service is fast, reliable and provides real benefit to your company, not merely whether the supplier offers after-sales service.
Generally, if an IT product purchased at a large retailer were returned, the process would be that your machine would wait in a queue of others to be sent to a third party for repair and eventually, weeks (or in really bad cases even months later), the machine will be returned, (hopefully) fixed satisfactorily.
Imagine being without your laptop for weeks waiting on repairs. To avoid delays in work a new machine would have to be purchased or another loaned to use in the interim, adding further costs and negating the need for the repairs.
Does your supplier have a real focus on your business? Will they loan you a spare machine while repairs are being done? These are all questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line.
Have you checked the fine print? For example, a product guarantee is all fine and well, but does the supplier take responsibility, or are you expected to deal with the brand manufacturer directly?
What to look for
A good warranty should include: Extended warranties without charging extra, back-to-back warranties on components with vendors, passing on vendor or manufacturer warranties and the collection and delivery of components and equipment where possible.
In addition, a retailer should be capable of doing repairs on the spot, swapping out faulty internal parts while you wait in order to ensure efficiency. Where repairs will take longer suppliers should ensure that they are capable of doing these repairs in-house to avoid the delays caused when sending machines out to an external party.
It’s vitally important that you are fully aware of the true meaning of ‘we offer after-sales service’. Scrutinise the small print and ensure that you won’t be left without the technology you need to keep your business running smoothly.