Looking for an MPS provider isn’t easy. Market maturation means market proliferation and even relatively small areas typically have more than one solution available. For those in big cities, you can likely take your pick from dozens of managed print service solutions, ranging from print giants like HP and Xerox to tiny almost mom & pop solutions. While there are hundreds of questions to ask ranging from services to scalability to long-term guarantee, customer service is among the most important.
While most organizations can and should focus on ensuring their MPS delivers the right hardware, software, tooling, and services to meet their needs, customer service is incredibly important. Why? Managed print service providers offer value with service. Your organization can source printers and software anywhere, it’s in service, attention to detail, and care that drive value for most organizations.
Responsiveness is Key
A good managed print services provider will step in to take over every aspect of print. This includes management, support calls, supplies, repair and maintenance, replacement, initial installation, employee training, and monitoring.
In short, you’re putting your entire print network in the hands of a single organization. It’s crucial that they be able to and be willing to be on call and responsive.
While you won’t likely need 24/7 support, it’s important that your MPS be available during your office hours. You also likely want to pay attention to instances such as response times for emails, resolution times for tickets, replacement time for broken machines, average time-to-repair, etc.
You can ask these details during initial interviews and assessments. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to contracts, ask about USPs they provide, and ask for references or look at online reviews. Finally, pay attention. If you can’t easily get ahold of a prospective MPS provider during the sales period (when they’re most motivated to be on call), you definitely shouldn’t be signing a contract.
Good customer service means paying attention, doing things right, and dedicating to quality. Print supply shortages, delivering the wrong machines, or offering sub-standard work will have a huge impact in your organization.
While it’s difficult to weed out low-quality organizations without the aid of reviews and references, you can often get a good idea of who you’ll be working with by simply paying attention.
- What do online reviews say?
- Do sales representatives offer references?
- Do websites, social media pages, and documentation such as contracts show attention to detail?
- How long are assessments? Is the company looking at your organization’s actual needs and trying to optimize?
- Are print services focused around saving your organization time or money?
- Is your MPS responding to your listed goals and wants or needs?
In most cases, you can get a better idea of a company by looking at negative cases or reviews and their response. And, if an organization isn’t meeting expectations, clients will quite often be vocal about it on social media, forums, or local business pages.
Your managed print services provider should implement directly into your organization to replace your internal print fleet. Doing so means anticipating needs so that supplies, management, repairs, maintenance, and fleet updates are provided seamlessly – that is to say, without disruption. If your organization has to call for print repairs or maintenance, your MPS likely isn’t doing a great job.
How do MPS providers achieve this? Most install management software to collect data on print usage, printer status, network status, and more. Tools for automation will decrease downtime, reduce print network bottlenecks, and optimize print deployment across the network.
More importantly, automation enables your MPS to set up triggers so that they can respond to maintenance issues, network issues, cybersecurity risks, and even printer supplies in real time.
When handled correctly, your MPS will show up with new print supplies before you need them, will anticipate increases in print-volume and supply a higher-volume printer, and will otherwise meet print fleet needs before they become disruptive. This kind of service demands excellence and attention to detail.
A Print Partner
Switching to managed print means taking print out of house. That makes sense for most organizations because print is not and never will be a core business service. You’ll never have the resources to invest in print research, in developing and maintaining a high-quality print architecture with network and servers, or constantly maintaining printers and drivers across your organization. That’s why it’s so costly for most organizations, while remaining a point of frustration for end-users.
Managed print services essentially function as a partner, stepping in to supply a service that is not core to you, but core to them. They can invest in offering excellence, reducing costs, and improving efficiency and then scaling that out across their clients in an affordable way. As a partner, it’s crucial they communicate and collaborate with you, meet your needs, and help you to reach goals and set new ones.
Discussing this as part of your interview is important. This also means understanding how the organization is able to meet your needs. Whether they’re able to scale up and down with you. If they can meet custom needs your organization might have.
And, how they’ll approach changes your organization might face over the next projected period. Establishing this type of communication as a baseline of communication will help you to get a better contract and a better print partner.
Managed print services are quickly becoming the norm for small-to-enterprise businesses, largely because organizations save money and see value in more ways than one. But, not all MPS providers are equal. It’s important to research, interview your options, and choose a solution that truly meets your needs.