Awards are great, but the 'why' is what's important

December 03, 2021 | Kyle Kopp

“You’re not obligated to win.  You’re obligated to keep trying.  To do the best you can every day.”

- Jason Mraz, musician

First and foremost, we at Advanced Office are incredibly proud to have once again been named by ENX Magazine as one of their Elite Dealers of 2021.  This marks the seventh consecutive time that we have been honored with this designation and given the daunting conditions of the past 21 months, this may be one of the most fulfilling recognitions to date.  As noted in their December issue, “Even amid the most challenging and unique circumstances to visit our industry, the dealer community forged ahead, buffered by a culture that stresses team unity.”

As their listing continues to outline the top dealers in the nation, they summarize the three commonalities that all of these dealers, ranging from $300 million in annual revenue down to $5 million, seem to share.  In the face of pandemic, political strife, supply chain disruption and employee shortage, each of these dealers has managed to find ways of capturing new business, enhancing their market strategies, and emphasizing their corporate cultures.

Capturing new business in a time of uncertainty is never an easy feat, let alone in a business solutions marketplace when offices are shuttered, or workforces have been sent remote.  Just attempting to connect by phone has been a challenge as telephones ring on empty desks and making a personal visit to buildings that have been locked down is nigh impossible.   Even in the remote chance of making a connection, asking a potential customer to invest further in their business in the face of mounting struggle is a herculean request.  So Advanced Office changed tactic; what if we could make their struggle easier?  What if, rather than asking them to purchase something from us, we asked what we could do to help them? 

Out of this mindset we launched our Certified Pre-Owned program.  Using our highly certified and experienced technician team, we acquired low usage equipment that was no less than one model series old and put them through a rigorous inspection and recondition process to make them like-new standing.  This allowed us to offer our customers state-of-the-art equipment upgrades, but also as much as a 50% reduction on their expenses.  With our superior support team backing them, we are able to make sure our customers can lower their costs but still operate flawlessly while they rebuild their own business processes and revenue streams.

With what’s being called the Great Resignation in full swing, we also knew our customers would see decreases in staff numbers and a push to allow more to work from home as an enticement to stay.  In our world, this decrease in machine usage is a drop in our revenue as we are built around capturing meter volume to support our maintenance agreements.  Rather than focus on how we could return this usage to pre-pandemic levels, we focused on how we can make these customers more efficient in this new environment.  Document Managed Workflow became a new drive for us.  How can we help our customers leverage the power of digital documents that can be easily accessed, shared across distances, secured from cyber threats and (even better) automated to reduce the amount of manual labor needed to be contributed by their limited staffs.

Along with these two changes we also launched our one-of-a-kind Cancellable Lease Option, allowing our customers the peace of mind that, if things get more complicated for them over the next year, they have the freedom to cancel the lease outright with no penalty whatsoever.  No one else is offering anything like this, but we know that times are scary right now, and we want to be a comfort to our customers, not an added fear.

To enhance our market strategies even further than these offerings, we also took this period to complete a full makeover of our online presence.  We took our website down to nuts and bolts then built it up again with a fresher look and, more importantly, a much easier navigation flow for our users to manage.  At the same time, we launched chat capability through our site to allow our customers to continue to engage with us in whatever format is most suitable for them.

Finally, our company culture continues to be our highest focus.  With our workday taking up so much of our daily life, it’s critical that we be a place where our employees can thrive in security and comfort.  We continue to drive home our cultural pillars of “Caring makes great things happen”, “All hands working together”, Performing at our highest potential” and “Doing the right thing… integrity always” through our regular department and companywide meetings as well as our day-to-day decision making. To that end, we were designated a Top Workplace by the Orange County Register for the year 2020 based solely on employee review and are looking forward to seeing what the results say in the coming weeks about our 2021 nomination 😉.

Again, we are extremely honored to have these official designations by highly regarded industry publications, but at the end of the day all of these efforts were not done in the hopes of achieving recognition.  These efforts were made because it was the best that we could do for our customers, and it was the best we could do for employees.  No matter what 2022 and beyond brings our way, you can be certain that we will continue to operate with the same mindset of always doing our best, regardless of awards and titles that may be given.  We make these efforts because "we relentlessly care about getting it right so that you (and you, and you) can do what inspires you."