When dealing with high involvement purchases such as retail solutions and equipment, owners and managers must look further than the initial purchase price in order to evaluate true value.
In the age of extended trading hours and 7 day opens, before examining costings, retailers should begin by dissecting the after sales service being offered complimentary to the purchase. Even the world’s best software and equipment is bound to have glitches and teething problems – especially in new stores – and it’s in these times of fault which the true value of an offering becomes evident.
Bearing this in mind we have identified the four key reasons why after sales support is one of the most important considerations of a purchase process.
1. Business Continuity & Risk Mitigation
Every retailer knows of, or worse has, that horror story when equipment failed at the worst possible time. Whether it’s the bakery whose oven failed the week before Easter or the supermarket whose point of sale system failed Christmas eve. Unfortunately, these occurrences are unavoidable and all too familiar for many in the industry, yet the truth of the matter is all of these situations are manageable with a proper level of after sales service. Suppliers with adept service and support departments can swiftly move to install loan equipment or enact remote repairs in the case of software outages.
2. Compliance & Best Practice
By maintaining an ongoing relationship with suppliers, retailers can be assured that not only are they protected from the risk of losses but also that their operations remain compliant at all times. In today’s heavily regulated market, ensuring occupational health and safety standards are met and maintained is not only a retailer’s responsibility it can also help drive company culture towards a more efficient and effective model which in turn creates a happier more energetic work force. Suppliers can assist in this area by providing training, manuals and documentation as needed and ensuring retailers immediately become aware of any issues that may arise with various pieces of equipment.
3. Principled Suppliers
It makes sense that if a supplier is offering any level of after sales service and support they must believe in their product and trust its capabilities. The cost in absorbing warranty work for cheap and nasty equipment is enough to put anyone out of business and reputable operators simply won’t take that risk. By careful examining the terms of a products warranty or support contract retailers can quickly establish the principles of the potential supplier
4. Long Term Cost Savings
This goes back to what we said in our first point about risk mitigation and as the old adage goes a little short term pain will often translate into long term gains. Paying a little bit extra for the superior product then investing a nominal amount in regular service and support will deliver a far greater ROI then engaging in the endless cycle of buying cheaper equipment which suffers breakdowns and more often than not is cheaper to scrap than repair.