There are many critical factors influencing purchasing decisions. Some of these factors are price, reliability, vendor reputation, vendor experience, product fitness for the application, feature comparison and post sale support. Often, post sale support capabilities are not given proper weight in the decision process.
Warranty is not support. Warranty is generally an agreement to replace or reimburse the user if a product fails to perform as described. The way in which a warranty actually protects the end user depends largely on how the vendor supports the product warranty.
For example, let us assume that a computer network product is purchased and deployed. Then, within the warranty period the product fails. Now the network is crippled; Links are down, services are disrupted. The vendor agrees that the warranty is in effect and they will be happy to replace the defective product. The vendor requires the customer to return the product to the manufacturer. Upon receipt and analysis of the defective product, the manufacturer will ship a new or refurbished replacement. This process could take a few days or a few weeks, depending on the location of the customer relative to the manufacturer.
If this was your company and your network, would you be able to wait a week with a crippled network while a replacement product is in transit? In this situation, much of the weight of the defective product is settling on your shoulders, not the manufacturer’s. Short of keeping a backup stock of all your network products, what can be done to shorten the replacement cycle?
Network Critical understands the criticality of network equipment and the importance of a quick replacement in the event of a product failure. Of course, the first order of business is to design and build superior reliability so that the product does not fail in the first place. Design features such as dual, hot-swappable power supplies and high quality components are included to achieve the highest MTBF in the industry. However, in the unlikely event of a failure, our unique Gold Support Program provides advanced replacement that helps customers shorten the recovery cycle to a day from a week or more. In addition to advanced replacement, Gold Support also provides the following advantages:
Unlimited technical support
Network design services
Remote configuration assistance
Access to online case management
Free firmware and feature enhancement updates
Remote Expertise and Diagnostics
There are times when a product may seem to be defective when, in fact, a simple misconfiguration or unintentional deployment error may be causing a problem. Having technical experts available via telephone or video call may provide a quick solution and get the product operational in a matter of minutes. Another high level support option is to have a customer portal on the manufacturer web site that will provide FAQs and potential solutions to common issues.
Investigate Support Before You Buy
Superior support is not just something that happens after the sale is made. Network Critical has made customer support a part of its corporate culture. This means that every employee in every department is focused on supporting our new prospects and loyal customers.
Presale support is a critical piece of the sales process and should be built into the buying decision. Of course the sales organization will present product solutions based on customer requirements. However, Network Critical takes this process a step further. Our network experts are available to support customers and prospective customers with needs assessment, design, deployment and turn-up. Our experts often suggest design ideas that offer higher functionality than originally requested.
Channel Partner Support
Another important question to ask during the purchase process is who will support the product when a purchase is made through a VAR or distributor. What kind of support will be provided to the reseller before, during and after the sales process? At Network Critical, we fully support our channel partners with sales and technical support. However, our support does not end at the channel partner. There is no finger pointing or caught-in-the-middle headaches with a purchase through a Network Critical partner. Our experts will fully and directly support the end customer regardless of how the purchase was made.
No License Fees
Continuing revenue stream is a very popular trend in the tech industry. Many organizations are charging software and firmware licenses at an additional cost when purchasing network equipment. At Network Critical, when a company purchases our product, there are no additional license fees added on to the original quote. Our purchase price includes hardware, firmware and software required for full functionality.
Purchasing network technology can be a difficult process. After determining required features and functions, it is important to also give weight to other critical criteria. Picking network equipment should be approached like picking a partner. This will be a multi-year relationship, so experience, culture, support and service capabilities must all be included in the analysis. In a network, no piece of equipment is an island. Therefore, ongoing support for each piece of equipment is critical to the health of the entire network. While a product purchase is done in the present, its support is forever.