The way we buy...well just about anything, has changed. With websites offering quick service and simple shopping like Amazon, grocery delivery services like “Click-List” and of course there is Uber, there is no wonder why we've changed. We have all changed how we shop, buy and research products. Hello instant gratification! But what about those big purchases, a new car, a home or a vacation? Well, that part hasn’t changed much and neither has shopping for dispatch furniture.
I’ll be the first to admit, when it comes to making a dispatch furniture purchase, most of you are aware of what vendors there are out there. No new surprises there. But what about researching, buying and ultimately installing? Sounds like the same song and dance you’ve heard before. But, as I mentioned, times they are a-changin’!
- Take a look at their website. Look for what you like and don’t like, do they seem like a reputable company someone you'd want to do business with? You can learn a lot about the company just by the About Us page. Do they even have one?
- Make a call. Call their main phone number and their customer service line (if they have one). Even if you aren’t a customer, this is a good way to see what it would be like should a problem arise.
- Get some references. Find some customers who have furniture from that vendor and give them a call. Comm Center Directors/Managers love to talk about their center and I’m sure they’ll tell ya all the “deets”!
- Read their blog. Yes, this is typically chalk full of great information for every stage of buying. If they’re really good, they’ll even have other industry related blog topics to help that night shift go by even faster.
- Get a quote. After your initial contact with the furniture vendor, a quote should be provided. Review this. Preferably with the sales person that came out to meet with you and take measurements of your room or space (they should know the details of your specific project). Is the quote what you are looking for? Does it include a line-itemized listing of what is being provided? Are the descriptions clear? If not, ASK the sales person, they should be able to clearly explain every line.
- Timeline from purchase to install. When will you have the product? For some agencies, this isn’t a big deal and for other agencies, with tight timelines or live cut-overs, this is a very big deal! Ask this question early so there aren’t any surprises and everyone is on the same page with what is expected.
- Make revisions. If you are looking for some changes, make them. How does your furniture vendor respond? Do they help you or just wash-over any changes you want to the design/layout, optional features or accessories? Are the changes made by a qualified individual like an Interior Designer or does the Sales person just scratch some items off the list just to close your business?
- Installation by a professional. Does the vendor you select use their own employees for installations? Do they hire out jobs to be completed by third-party vendors with little to no experience in the industry? How do you know they’re qualified?
- The guarantee. What happens if you aren’t satisfied with the product or installation? What happens then? Who corrects this? Is there a Customer Service team to help with any future issues? How do you reach them? Pay attention here - this is a BIGGY… what is their warranty on the product? (hint – research OEM loopholes) Does the vendor use loop-holes to pass off problems back to the customer? Make sure the product is backed by service, support and warranty!
The way we buy has changed, but the level of service, quality of product and the company you choose to do business with shouldn’t. With buyers being smarter than ever, the process of making a purchasing decision has evolved. Welcome to the evolution of smarter buying!