Purchasing a key management system is a major investment, whether your business is an automotive dealership, multifamily property, commercial firm or a government office. As with any major purchasing decision you must evaluate the company you’ll be partnering with in addition to the product itself. Below are five key questions you should ask potential vendors before settling on a key control system.
Does the Vendor Have Local Representation?
In this day and age you don't necessarily have to meet with a company representative in person to purchase a key management system. However, there are benefits to meeting one-on-one with a vendor.
Meeting with a company employee allows you to not only get firsthand experience with the system but a sense of what the company stands for.
If a vendor has local representation, your interaction with the company doesn't have to end after you purchase a system. Aaron Burton, one of our KeyTrak field managers, explained how he assists local clients.
“Being able to go out and help our clients with additional training beyond my usual sales calls makes a huge difference in what KeyTrak has to offer. Recently, one of our automotive customers needed his newly hired employees trained on the KeyTrak system,” he said. “I was able to go out to that dealership the next day and perform the additional training."
What Type of Support Does the Vendor Offer and How Often Is It Available?
Your business may only operate Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but that doesn't mean that you won't need support after hours.
“I receive calls from customers all the time who need help with little things,” said KeyTrak Support Representative Lindsay Stewart. “Being able to reach a live person who can answer their questions in the middle of the day on a weekend is a huge benefit.”
Will the Vendor Install the System?
Before purchasing a key control system ask potential key control vendors if they offer installation services. This is especially important if you’re implementing the system in several locations and need consistent configurations, as do several KeyTrak clients.
“I recently installed 54 KeyTrak Guardian systems for a government customer, who had more than 50 points of contact across the U.S.,” said KeyTrak Hardware Installation Coordinator Rob Shockey. “They had unique requirements, and our product and our service team were capable of not only meeting their needs but exceeding their expectations.”
Will the Vendor Leave It up to You to Learn the System?
It's important to ask the vendor not only if system training will be provided but how the training with be administered.
After installing a new system for the client mentioned above, Shockey said that “with the customer’s help and the help of our support groups here at KeyTrak, I was able to customize a huge portion of their training expectation and strategies to ensure they were able to use the key systems in such a way that reports, settings and usage became uniform amongst all 50-plus systems.”
Burton also takes advantage of his proximity to his clients by making sure that they use the system to its full potential. While performing training at a client site, Burton said, “I showed them some features they had not seen before, and they were able to use the system even more efficiently through our in-house software integrations.”
Does the Vendor Outsource Services?
Not all vendors personally provide service after the sale. Sometimes installation, training and even system support are outsourced.
KeyTrak Vice President of Sales Richard Battle described what it means to be a single-source key control system provider: “Every person is a company employee, including the associates in our hardware and software design, sales, installation, training and service departments. Our customers only have one number to call for whatever they need.”
Working with only one company to meet all your system needs is generally easier because you don't have to work through third-party providers. It's reassuring to know that the same company that designed your system will be available to answer any questions or issues you have down the line.
For more tips on what to look for in an electronic key control vendor, check out our guide to selecting a key control system.