By Sara Kleiman, Worldwide Product Marketing Manager, Xerox Enterprise Business Group

When making any purchasing decision, it is important to have a clear view of the big picture.  It’s a big commitment!  Like with dating- you aren’t just dating the guy, you’re dating his family and friends, too!

A few months ago I took this approach when shopping for a new car.  For me, my car is an extension of my personality.  I wanted to be sure that I would be happy not only with the car, but with everything else that comes with it – the warranty, service department, and my relationship with the dealership after I bought the car were just as important as the car itself.yes or no purchase decisions

At the start of my journey, I narrowed down my options to three cars.  This was based on price, online research and fellow car enthusiasts in my life.  My next step was dealership visits.  I not only wanted to test drive the cars, but I also wanted to understand what the relationship with the dealership and manufacturer would be like after I bought a car.  I asked about the service schedule for routine maintenance, the cost and expected time maintenance would take, and if service loaners were available.  I also spent some time talking with the service department.  Once I got a car, chances are I would be spending more time talking with the service advisers at a dealership than the sales person. During my dealership visits, I also sat down with the sales person and manager to discuss financing.

After gathering all the information I needed to make an educated decision and I eliminated one option right off the bat:

  • The car that came in priced in the middle had very high routine maintenance costs, which would make the total cost of ownership the highest.
  • The lowest priced car had acceptable routine maintenance costs, but the service technicians were rude when I tried to ask them questions and did not provide service loaners. If I was going to take my car in for service a few times a year, I expect to be treated politely by the people I am giving my hard earned money to!
  • The highest price car included all scheduled routine maintenance, such as oil changes and new windshield wipers, and provided service loaners.  The service department staff was also courteous and happily answered all my questions.

When it came time to make my decision, I surprisingly went with the highest ticket price.  Yet, I was paying for more than just the car – it was about the whole package.  In the long run, I’d save money.

The approach at looking beyond just the product to the entire relationship and offering of a manufacturer is something that can be applied to business purchasing decisions, as well.  When choosing a print vendor, it is important to think outside the box and take into consideration all aspects of the company you are going to embark on a relationship with.  Total cost of ownership, service, and post-sale support are just as important as the MFP.

How much research goes into your big purchase decisions?