open quotes OPEX provides one of the most comprehensive customer service programs in the industry, and there are three key elements that make up our program... close quotes

—Tim Buhr, Director of Field Service of OPEX Corporation

Exceptional customer service is something that is often talked about, but rarely do customers believe that vendors deliver on this promise. In fact, 62 percent of global consumers switched service providers due to poor customer service experiences.1 Sometimes vendors are unresponsive, other times the customer gets handed off from department to department until finally they give up in frustration. While 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, only one percent of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations.2

While many companies may talk a good game, OPEX actually delivers. The company provides customer service and support that is unmatched in the industry. Most important to many customers is that OPEX will never end-of-life a product which is very unique. Tim Buhr, the Director of Field Services at OPEX, shares his insights into the company’s customer service and support program.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your role at OPEX?


Tim Buhr: My name is Tim Buhr and I am the Director of Field Services at OPEX. I have managed this group for the past nine years and have worked for OPEX for a total of 16 years. My field service team employs over 300 technicians and 22 Service managers in the United States and Canada.  Our technicians average over ten years of experience with OPEX .

Q: Customer service is usually important to customers but it’s not always a priority for vendors. What is OPEX’s view on customer service?

Buhr: OPEX believes very strongly in providing exceptional support for our customers. In order to provide this support we have continually expanded and updated our customer support department as the company has grown. Our roots are in the payment processing industry which is a very production-oriented and time-sensitive industry. Since many of our customers rely on our technology to keep payment processing moving forward, our service department has to be ready to respond to any issues on short notice. Our customer service department has been developed and is designed to respond quickly to customer needs.

Q: How does OPEX’s customer service philosophy differ from other companies?

Buhr: OPEX provides one of the most comprehensive customer service programs throughout the industry and there are three key elements that make up our program. First, we focus on preventative maintenance by showing up on-site to make sure that our products are in good working order. Second, the cost for all labor and parts is included in all of our service contracts and we offer an unlimited supply of demand calls. Based on my years working in the industry I can tell you that many of our competitors charge additional fees for service calls.

Third, and this is one area that separates us from our competitors, is that OPEX does not end-of-life our products. We have always provided support for our equipment for as long as the customer wants to use it. When we develop new technologies we give the customer the choice of keeping their existing product, which we will continue to support, or offer them an upgrade to the new technology. Either way we continue to offer support and maintenance for whatever product they own.

Q: Do you believe that OPEX’s customer service and support is unique in the industry?

Buhr: While I don’t know exactly what support other companies offer, I can say that we have OPEX-trained customer support technicians throughout most major cities in the United States and Canada. Unlike some of our competitors who might use third-party technicians from outside the company, the only technicians that we use are OPEX employees. We make it a point to have our own technicians in most major cities so that there are no problems, such as flight or weather delays, in getting our representatives to the customer site as quickly as possible.

Q: Because of how many technicians you have, how quickly can you service your customers?

Buhr: Eighty-two percent of consumers say the number one factor that leads to a great customer service experience is having their issues resolved quickly.3 In general our technicians respond to service calls within four hours if not sooner. We make it very easy for them since all they have to do is call the OPEX dispatcher, which is staffed 24x7, and a field service technician will respond. In fact, it’s not uncommon for our technicians to respond in less than two hours.

Q: What is OPEX’s view of providing support for end-of-life products?

Buhr: That’s kind of a trick question because, unlike most of our competitors, OPEX does not end-of-life any of our products. We provide support for as long as the customer owns the product. However, if the cost of maintaining their existing hardware exceeds that of servicing a newer version of the product, we do offer them the opportunity to make an upgrade.

Q: How unique is that type of support in the industry? Is this type of support uncommon?

Buhr: Our policy of never ending-the-life of a product is very unique in the payment processing and scanning industries. When a competitor announces that they are ending support for a product, the customer’s options are limited to purchasing the new version or going through the hassle and additional cost of selecting a new vendor. I know from personal experience that we’ve won business from companies because we don’t end-of-life our products. More importantly, our approach to service and support instills a feeling of confidence in our customers because they know that we don’t have any planned obsolescence in our product lines.

Q: Do most competitors use a third-party for their product maintenance and support?

Buhr: It is my understanding that some competitors use their own support staff but others rely on third-party technicians who may or may not have all of the skills required to support each and every product on the market. By having over 350 of our own technicians in North America and the EMEA, our customers know that their products will be supported by OPEX-trained technicians.  In areas of the world where OPEX sells through a dealer network, OPEX provides authorized service training for the dealers’ technicians to service the products they sell.

There are also hidden costs to consider. For instance, not all competitors provide replacement parts as part of their service contracts and many contract with third-party technicians who perform the actual service call, which may lead to additional costs. OPEX designs and manufactures most parts in our own facilities instead of working with third-party product manufacturers. This positions us to service these products with short turnaround for our customers.

Q: If a company wanted to learn about a vendor’s customer support services, what questions would you recommend they ask?

Buhr: I would tell the potential customer to talk not only with the vendor, but talk directly to the people who will be providing service and support. Who are the technicians? Where are they trained? Do they work solely for the vendor or do they support other companies? Who is the regional manager that the technician reports to? What does my service contract include? Are all parts and labor included?  It’s important for a customer to know exactly what type of support they’re going to receive, what the costs will be, and if the vendor offers full support throughout the life of the product.

 

OPEX's Service Organization is one of the most comprehensive service organizations in the document imaging and material handling industries and one of the only to provide lifetime support of contracted products.  Our service contracts are all-inclusive, providing preventive maintenance and (with the exception of consumable items) comprehensive parts replacement.  Critical spare parts are warehoused on-site or at nearby locations for even quicker problem resolution.   We provide flexible response times tailored to meet our customers’ specific needs.  Knowledge, support, and a dedication to customer satisfaction make the OPEX Service Organization the best in the industry.

1 Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey
2 Forbes
3 LivePerson

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