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Epson plans Express Service Centre rollout

Imaging and printing giant Epson plans to roll out its Express Service Centre concept with its dealer network across the Middle East.

Imaging and printing giant Epson plans to roll out its Express Service Centre concept with its dealer network across the Middle East. Epson has been piloting the Express Service Centre concept with dealers in the UAE, Jordan and Bahrain. The scheme, which is already up and running in South Africa and the UK, gives dealers and retailers the opportunity to diversify their revenue base by becoming authorised Epson service centres capable of dealing with front line customer issues.

“Basically a customer can take his product to an Epson Express Centre — usually a small to mid-sized Epson dealer — and they will provide a front line service,” explained David Ratcliffe, director of technical services for Epson in the Middle East. “What we’re looking at is the Express Centre concept where a user goes in with their product that they believe is faulty and the issue is resolved within half an hour. Either the product is checked and is fine or there is a consumable, paper or driver issue that can be solved in the store. If the product is faulty the customer can take away a replacement unit immediately.”

The Express Centre concept reflects a growing need to offer a two-tiered service offering with corporate resellers serving large accounts and smaller dealers meeting the requirements of smaller customers. Epson hopes that signing up to become an Express Centre will be seen by dealers as a way of providing an important value-add for a minimal financial outlay.

“The problem with services traditionally is that they have always been very expensive for resellers to start up,” continued Ratcliffe. “We’re giving dealers and small resellers the ability to get onto the services value-add chain for a minimal investment.”

“We give them the in-store branding, the references, the back-up units and the technical expertise. This also encourages greater foot traffic in their showrooms with customers coming in to use the Express Centre. Up to 25% of customer believing they have a problem may actually have an express cartridge. The dealer operating the Express Centre will be able to sell it to them,” he added.

Epson’s telephone helpdesk will also direct customers to Express Centres where necessary. “Based on the call that comes in to the Epson helpdesk, we can recommend what service centre the customer should use,” explained Ahmed Zeidan, technical support manager at Epson Middle East. “Up to 70% of the problems are solved by the helpdesk but the remaining 30% can be diverted to Express Centres. This will bring in brand new customers to the dealers operating these facilities.”

Those dealers becoming Express Centres for Epson will receive payment from the vendor based on the number of events they undertake. Epson is now looking at the demographics of the region to decide the optimum number of Express Centres it needs and where they should be located. “We want a comprehensive regional network,” concluded Ratcliffe. “We don’t want 50 in Dubai and two everywhere else.”

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