So here we are on Part 3 of my current series - How to Choose an Office Supply Vendor. The primary question you should ask in this category is "How many ways can I order with your company?" Believe it or not, there are companies out there that don't take phone orders. Or fax orders. Uh huh. All orders have to be placed online. Friendly, eh?
Your supplier should offer multiple ways to place an order.
Personally, I love shopping online.
I like a website that is user friendly, easy to navigate and has a robust search engine that will find just what I'm looking for. I absolutely despise sites that make me drill down through zillions of choices to get to my item. I don't want to be forced to choose "Office Supplies," then "Binders" then choose View or Reference, then specify my ring size, then choose my color, etc. I want to be able to key in "blue ring binder," hit Search and have several pages of options pop up. I also want to be able to see all the charges without having to create an account. I want to easily see what the shipping, handling and tax are going to be. (As my mother would say, I'm a bit particular.) Our site allows the guest to put in a search term, shows you the results, and offers you (note that I said "offers," not "requires") the ability to apply filters. And you don't have to create an account if you don't want to - you can check out as a guest.
Not everyone is techy.
Believe it or not, there are A LOT of people out there that don't like to use computers. Obviously, you're not one of them since you're reading this. Some people like to pick up the phone and have an actual conversation with a real person - which is particularly helpful when you don't know the name of the thingamajig you're looking for and you want to try to describe it to someone who does know.
(Cool picture, eh? Do kids today even know what a rotary phone is?)
Your supplier should have a customer service department staffed with friendly, knowledgeable people who won't make you feel like you're an intrusion into their day and who can help you find that "metal accordion contraption that holds folders" (aka the Lee Flexifile Expandable Collator/Organizer). At Office Express, we pride ourselves on our customer service staff and we will be absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with you on the phone!
Yes Virginia, people do still use fax machines.
Some people are moderately techy. They may get frustrated with a website, but they're o.k. with filling out a form and faxing it someplace. They're too busy to spend time on the phone - they just want to get that order placed quickly and move on to their next task. Our fax number is 877-792-8110.
The fastest way - Email
You say you don't like searching websites, you're too busy for phone calls and filling out forms drives you crazy but you can type really fast? Email it is then! Your supplier should offer you the option of emailing your orders in. That could be to a generic email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or directly to your account manager or favorite customer service representative (email@example.com). We're up to four ways of communicating so far and I've got one more to go.
What's left you ask? We've covered phone, fax, online and email. What else is there?
A little lower..............
And last, but not least - Personal Service!
A truly superb supplier will have account managers who will come to your office and pick up your orders. Yes, you heard me - come to your office and pick up your orders in person. Now, I'm not implying (or stating outright) that you should expect your account manager to come every day to pick up a two or three line order. This service would typically be weekly, biweekly or monthly - you would consolidate the orders and save them for the specified pick up date. This is a beneficial service for large corporations or government entities where immediate delivery is not necessary.
There's more! I forgot one - snail mail! You can even mail in your orders the [really] old-fashioned way. I don't know very many people that still do that, but it's another option. So there you have it - six different ways to place orders. A good supplier will offer a few of them. A great supplier will offer ALL of them.
To quote Bob the Builder and his crew: "Can we do it? Yes, we can!"
Call us and let us prove it to you!