AFTER-SALE SERVICE: INSTALLATION IS JUST THE BEGINNING
Smart shoppers know that whenever they make a substantial purchase, it’s important to determine what service they’ll receive after the sale. Michael Frandsen, ABOC, NCLE
This is sage advice that all eyecare professionals (ECPs) should heed when considering a large purchase such as new laboratory equipment. Once the purchase is made, service should start even before installation, and it shouldn’t end there.
DESIGN HELP Even before the installation begins, equipment companies who offer free set up will make sure that you already have your lab space laid out so that their time is well spent when they arrive for the actual installation. They’ll make sure that you already have the proper electrical and plumbing connections as well as the countertop space measured and prepared prior to their arrival.
OPTEK will customize a layout for your in-house lab showing optimal floor plan, workflow, and utility requirements.
National Optronics personnel will help you decide the space, electrical, and other requirements to ensure that your lab has the proper infrastructure to support the machinery, even before it’s delivered. In some cases newer machines require a phone connection nearby for downloading software updates and for troubleshooting any problems remotely. Even if your machines don’t come with an internal modem, it’s wise to have a telephone nearby so you can talk to technical support while you’re standing next to the machines.
EXPERT INSTALLATION If you don’t want to be stuck connecting wires and balancing or leveling your new lab equipment, you need to be sure that it comes with some sort of technical support package. This usually means that a factory-trained representative will come to your office, set up your machinery, show you and your staff how to use your new device, and help get things up and running. For example, AIT Industries will come to your office after the sale and set up your equipment so that it’s running exactly as it should. They will also provide training to you and your staff so you get your machine working at peak efficiency in the shortest time possible. Incidentally, trying to do the set-up on your own may void the warranty on some new equipment, so be sure that you are well informed about the proper installation if you choose to attempt this.
TRAINING MANUALS Most of the new training manuals or CDs that come with new equipment are comprehensive and user friendly. You’ll usually find step-by-step, how-to instructions on the operation of your machinery along with illustrations to show you what needs to be done. Having all of this on a CD offers the flexibility of having the manual’s information on your office’s computer network so that anyone in the office can access the information, no matter where they are.
ON-SITE TRAINING For most ECPs, nothing is more helpful than one-on-one training from a company representative. Being able to have someone right in your office to teach you and your staff the nuances of the new equipment is often the easiest way for you to get the full potential out of your equipment in the least amount of time. Because of this, new equipment purchases usually come with a training session of some sort. If you don’t know what’s included, request some assistance from the factory representative who sold the equipment to you. Briot USA will come to your office and conduct a two-day on-site training session when you buy one of the company’s edger systems such as the Alta XS. During this training, you should learn how to properly operate the new machinery and how to use its features. The people who know the machine the best and have had experience running it properly can easily explain what may seem complicated. In addition to learning how to run the new device, you’ll also learn to do routine maintenance, adjustments, and troubleshooting.
WARRANTIES All optical equipment companies provide some type of warranty on their equipment. While this is certainly good news, be sure to research in advance just exactly what your warranty will cover and how long it will last as well as what training and support are included with your new equipment. The first thing to ask is, “Is it in writing?” This is the only way to ensure that both you and the company understand and agree on what is offered and what is expected. You may feel that you remember a salesperson mentioning a particular service or warranty item, but if it’s not in writing and the company doesn’t agree that they offered it, you have no legal recourse. Fortunately, major optical manufacturers are anxious to maintain their reputations for delivering on promises and will spell things out for you in black and white. If you want to see the written warranty before the sale, just ask the sales rep for a copy.
FOLLOW-UP SERVICE The manufacturers are willing and able to help with any questions you may have as things progress and as you run into new challenges. Equipment manufacturers have toll-free technical service numbers set up especially for equipment owners and operators. Knowledgeable and friendly people are available during business hours to assist you with your questions. The equipment you buy is only as good as the support you get during and after the sale. Think of this customer service as a package deal bundled with the purchase of your equipment and you’ll realize just how important it can be.
Michael Frandsen, ABOC, NCLE, is the owner of Quality Performance Ophthalmic, Inc., a custom service optical laboratory in South Jordan, UT.
WHERE TO FIND IT AIT Industries 800-729-1959 aitindustries.com
Briot USA 800-292-7468 briot-usa.com
Gerber Coburn 800-843-1479 gerbercoburn.com
National Optronics 800-247-9796 nationaloptronics.com
Santinelli International, Inc. 800-644-3343 santinelli.com