Computer Equipment and Software, Gold Award: Black Box, Fall/Winter 2000/2001

Sep 01, 2001 9:30 PM  By

Specializing in computer networking equipment and services, Black Box is “a must-have resource for its target market,” said one judge. The cover, a cityscape silhouetted against a glowing orange background, “lends a professional air that is conveyed throughout the rest of the book,” the judge added.

This 1,400-page Gold Award winner certainly packs a punch, offering an enormous selection of products and services. As the opening letter from president Fred Young states, “The catalog features tens of thousands of solutions — 195 of which are brand new — all part of our expansive range of networking equipment.” The company’s newest product line, Desktop Telephony, includes headsets and conference phones.

The judges agreed that the copy is thorough and informative, with good use of customer testimonials throughout. One panelist especially admired the balance of technical copy and information put in laymen’s terms. The use of customer testimonials throughout the book further lends to the catalog’s customer-friendly approach.

The catalog’s design and production also received plaudits. “The book is clean and easy to follow, making shopping as easy as possible,” said a judge. Information boxes, call-outs, comparison charts, and cross-references to complementary products abound. And the toll-free number and the Web address appear on every page.

The customer service policies and ordering are definite strengths of the catalog. “Black Box goes well beyond the average competitor,” enthused a judge. The order form is clearly set up, and a variety of payment options are available. The Black Box catalog also provides several delivery services, including same-day delivery, and offers free hotline technical support 24 hours a day, as well as online technical support and on-site installation experts.

Most products are “guaranteed for life” and have at least a one-year warranty; Black Box will send a replacement or full refund if the customer is not satisfied with a product. Black Box also offers a Fido Protection Plan that replaces or repairs damaged equipment within five days at no charge for as long as the product’s warranty lasts. What’s more, a product evaluation program enables customers to try a Black Box product prior to purchase. The panel agreed that you’d be hard-pressed to find a cataloger with better customer service than Black Box.

One of the judges seemed to be speaking for the whole panel in summing up Black Box this way: “It’s a leader in its field, and this catalog makes it obvious why.”

Black Box Corp.
1000 Park Dr.
Lawrence, PA 15055-1018
Company founded: 1976
Catalog launched: 1977
Director: Prudence G. Harris
Printer: Perry Judd’s
Cover paper: 100 lb.
Text paper: 38 lb.
Number of pages: 1,400
Trim size: 8-3/8″ × 10-7/8″