When companies say, “We’ll support you all the way,” it’s a good idea to define exactly what that means. It’s critically important to know what the term support translates to in terms of assisting you at being successful.
First, what are the terms and how long is support available? Is it 90 days… a year… more? And after that period of time, is there a cost to receive additional support? Don’t be afraid to ask the question.
Second, who is giving this support? In other words, will the person be reading to you from the same manual that came with the machine? Support is a meaningless term if the person offering the help is simply reading from a script. Support is also likely meaningless if that same person on the other end of the phone with you is attempting to support a wide variety of equipment and products.
Here’s a truth that many customers and in fact many resellers don’t realize: You WILL call for support at some point in time. Direct-to-garment printing is a unique animal and requires a bit more hand-holding than other products. This is a fairly new technology, so the number of experts out in the field are limited. If you’re running a screen printing shop, you can find experienced screen printers to bring on board and can hit the ground running. Not so much with DTG. And, unlike selling or buying a six-color manual press for instance, the follow up support with DTG is substantially more important.
Third, is the support offered more than what to do when you see a flashing red light? Will the support person on the phone with you be able to troubleshoot problems such as… Why does my print seem dull? What’s causing my washout issue? Where do I find the best shirts to print?
Fourth, will there be somebody to talk to when you call? It’s a good idea to find out if there’s one person who can help you or an entire support team. If it’s a limited staff to assist, ask if those same people are working trade shows, etc., and ask what happens when you have an emergency and everyone is away at a show, or on vacation, or out sick. I suggest making a preemptive call to your potential vendor and asking for support before you buy? Does someone come on the line? Does someone call you back?
Support is a broad term, and should be well defined before you make the investment into direct-to-garment equipment, and an investment in the company selling that product. Expect to call the support line no matter what machine you buy, and know what to expect before you make that call.