Many a company draws in customers with promises of excellence in after-sales service, but once the customer has purchased the item and experienced difficulties with the use thereof, the after-sales service becomes an intangible promise which the supplier is not willing to uphold.
In the IT industry specifically, the importance of this after-sales service cannot be overstated. In any company in the world IT failure, computer’s crashing or something as simple as a keyboard malfunctioning can cause hours if not days, weeks or months of delays. If the correct 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, downtime costs money.
While most companies offer “after-sales service”, users needs to be vigilant about checking the fine print involved.
The question is not so much whether the supplier offers after-sales service, but rather whether that service is fast, reliable and provides real benefit to the company.
If users were to return an IT product purchased at a large retailer the general process would be that the machine would wait in a queue of others to be sent to an external party for repair and eventually, weeks or even months later, the machine will be returned, (hopefully) fixed satisfactorily.
In this technological age it is difficult to imagine being without ones laptop for weeks waiting on repairs – in all likelihood a new machine would have to be purchased to use in the interim; why bother with repairs then – the after-sales service in this case is not doing what it purports to do.
“People cannot afford to have downtime,” says Greg Johnson, MD and owner of Phase 2 Computers.
“As a supplier, one needs to focus on the customer’s business and do everything possible to ensure superior after-sales service. Loan the customer a spare machine while repairs are being done and try to accommodate the customer and meet their needs in a caring manner. Too many companies have hidden pitfalls to their so called after-sales service, lulling clients into a false sense of security.”
In various instances, clients are also offered a product guarantee when purchasing an item, yet when the machine’s manual is read one is informed that no enforcement of the guarantee will be made by the store from which the product was purchased. The client is tasked with tracking down and contacting the actual brand manufacturer, resulting in further delays and frustration in most cases.
“We have confidence in our products and any company that does so would be more than happy to provide effective and efficient after-sales service.
“It is important to offer clients real value for money, such as extended warranties without charging extra, offering 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,” adds Johnson.
To ensure efficiency, a retailer should be capable of doing repairs on the spot, swapping out faulty internal parts while the customer waits or, in the cases where repairs will take longer, doing these repairs in house to avoid the delays caused when sending machines out to a third person.
When purchasing new goods, after-sales service may be the last thing on one’s mind, but should that equipment malfunction the importance of after-sales service will become glaringly obvious.
Check and double check the terms of after-sales service before purchasing goods from retailers; this could save much time, money, effort, frustration and will aid in eliminating the incessant excuses offered as to why the equipment cannot be repaired.