Online Retailer Series: PART III
Tip #3: Support
Online retailers have transformed the way we shop for dental supplies. Anything you want will arrive at your doorstep in a matter of days, with just the click of a button. The convenience and upfront savings can be so great, we are blinded to the pricey pitfalls. Our three part series is lifting the veil to help you shop smarter, and maximize the new marketplace at your fingertips.
We recently discussed how to avoid expensive purchase and implementation mistakes. In our final installment, we dive into our final piece of advice: When (not if) something goes wrong, who will support your online purchase?
Disclaimer: We use dental technology and hardware as our prime example throughout this series, because that’s what tech nerds do. Still, our points carry to any item one might purchase for their practice.
Support is the last thing we think about, because our purchase is shiny and new. But it’s important to think about future support when your purchase needs attention. In the case of a computer purchased online (assuming there is no warranty), make sure your IT partner knows about and has had the chance to review the purchase link. Also determine how they can support it. Will they treat it like machines you previously purchased from them, or will it be treated differently in any way? Are there aspects about this machine that make it inferior to the rest of your workstations? You may not like the answers, but its important information to understand upfront.
The scariest thing about major online purchases is the inability to know the item’s complete history. A computer may be advertised as brand new (and even seem brand new upon receipt) but it’s not uncommon for independently sold machines to have a secret history. And without a company vouching for it or providing a warranty, you are at the mercy of what arrives.
You can easily determine if taking a chance on an online purchase is worth it by considering the following:
- Can you take the chance at not having exactly what you need arrive on the delivery date? If a faulty item arrives, do you have the time and capital to repurchase elsewhere, contact the seller, ship it back, or put up a stink? For example, a startup office may not be able to afford a risky used chair deal online, but an established practice may have more leeway.
- If a breakdown occurs, do you know a third party service that can assist with repairs and service? Does your office have the capacity and time for this?
- Is the initial savings worth forgoing a warranty and responsible party to assist when troubles arise?
Taking on risk in exchange for savings can be worth it, especially when it comes to lower cost supplies for the front desk, office, and select clinical supplies. However, larger ticket items may be well worth a higher price tag for vendor accountability and warranties.
Many dental supplies and equipment deserve careful consideration and discussion with your team. Remember, it’s not just money at stake. It’s also about your team’s time and ability to perform their job well with the equipment provided to them.
Thank you for embarking on our three part series with us. We hoped you picked up some tips, and feel more confident to make wise purchases for your office. Have a question? Let us know!