What Support Should a Managed Print Services Vendor Provide?
A trusted managed print provider can be a powerful ally in the MSP marketplace. Without a print partnership, you’ll always be one step behind the many other MSPs that package print with their IT services.
Creating a relationship with a print vendor allows your MSP to essentially expand your service suite without changing anything about your business’ operations. You can stick to handling your client’s IT services and hand off print duties to your preferred print vendor.
However, when you refer your clients to a third-party, you must trust the vendor to provide high-quality service to your shared client and collaborate with your organization when necessary. A bad referral could easily jeopardize your MSP-client relationship you’ve worked tirelessly to cultivate.
So this begs the question: what does good print support look like?
At Print Partner, we strive to exceed industry-standard expectations for customer service and MSP collaboration. We work with hundreds of MSPs across the US, facilitating their clients’ printing needs and generating revenue through mutually beneficial referrals.
In this article, we’re covering exactly what type of support you should expect from a managed print provider.
What is a Managed Print Services Vendor?
A managed print services (MPS) vendor sells equipment and services related to print. They sell and deliver copiers and printers to clients and actively manage them after the initial installation.
Services offered vary depending on the vendor you engage with, but they usually include the following:
- Performing an in-depth print assessment to determine your clients goals and needs with regards to print
- Providing, upgrading, replacing, repurposing and maintaining hardware and software related to printing, copying, faxing, and other document-related tasks
- Recommending print solutions to improve document workflow, document security, electronic fax, follow-me print and myriad other print solutions.
- Tracking your clients’ use of the fleet and using that data to proactively maintain your clients’ supplies, ensure uptime, and meet other client needs
An MPS provider is essentially the arm of IT that relates to printed documents. By connecting your clients to the right print vendor, you can unload the burden of print onto a team of experts, freeing up your team to focus on other priorities.
How Managed Print Services Should Meet Customer Needs
Your value as an MSP is measured by how well you and your partners can support your clients, both when their services are running smoothly and when they run into trouble.
As unfair as it may be, your customer’s perception of how well you take care of them sometimes hinges on how well you can collaborate with a third party to resolve an issue.
Even if your MSP does everything right, a lackluster partner can make you look bad to your client. That’s why support is integral to the relationship between you, your client, and your MPS partner.
When referring your clients to an managed print provider, be sure you’ve chosen one that will support you and your client in the following ways:
Fast Print Support Response Times
No one likes to be left on hold for long, especially when an urgently-needed document won’t print and a failed print device has brought your workflow to a screeching halt.
When your clients have issues and need to contact their print vendor, they should expect and receive a quick answer. A ticketing system should be implemented to track requests and hold the support team accountable.
You might be surprised how many print vendors do not use ticketing systems and depend on email and shared spreadsheets to track service calls.
Once the customer has reported their problem, they should know what kind of turnaround time to expect. Expected service response times are outlined in the customer’s Service Level Agreement (SLA). Many manufacturers like Xerox have a 24-48 hour response time for servicing their machines.
If the vendor you are working with does not clearly outline their expected response time, or if they estimate a longer turnaround time than 48 hours, this could be a red flag.
To learn more about our support process, read: How Print Partner Handles Your Client’s Support Requests
Clear Print Records for Each Client
Best-in-class customer service should include client files that record the exact equipment that each customer uses, details about the client’s technical environment, serial numbers for each machine, technical point of contact information as well as a log of all customer interactions to date.
Poor documentation will lead to slower, less efficient troubleshooting between the print vendor and your MSP, which will make you and your client suffer.
Triage Print Support with Third Parties
Requesting maintenance for print devices should be a stress-free process. When support is needed, the client needs to know who to submit a ticket to and how long they should expect repairs to take.
Once the support request is made, it becomes the responsibility of the MPS provider to communicate with any other parties whose assistance may be required in solving the problem. These parties may include:
- The client’s MSP
- Third-party print manufacturers
- Delivery services
- Service technicians
The MPS provider should always keep the customer informed of communication with third parties, any changes they will implement to the customer’s software or hardware, and any maintenance that will need to be performed.
To learn more about the relationship between MSPs and third parties, read: MSPs: Managing Print In-House vs Through a 3rd Party
Monitor Clients' Print Fleet
A print vendor is strategically positioned to monitor your clients’ fleet of printers and copiers. This data tracking serves multiple purposes, but commonly-shared MPS best practices include the monitoring of:
- Jamming or device errors and proactively addressing these issues
- Supply usage to facilitate just-in-time supply delivery, saving office storage space from bulk supply orders
- Customers’ printing and copying costs in order to establish a baseline on which the customer and the MPS can work together to optimize operations
These proactive measures ensure that the client’s print fleet is well looked-after and will minimize the requirement for support over time. Ultimately, working with an MPS makes printing easier for the customer while reducing the workload for your MSP.
How a Managed Print Services Vendor Should Collaborate with an MSP
When you’re looking for a print vendor to refer your clients to, you want to make sure they’re an organization that will support you and your needs as an MSP. And, as an MSP, you and your print vendor should be partners in serving your clients.
A partnership means working together and supporting each other. Here are some of the primary things to look for when shopping for a print partner.
When you reach out to a print vendor on behalf of your client, you should expect them to respond to your report quickly. They should take responsibility for the problem—assuming it’s a document, printing, or copying issue—and work directly with you to solve it.
The MPS partner should never shift the blame from themselves onto a third-party vendor or back onto you. Rather, they should seek to collaborate with your MSP and the client to solve the problem, without placing blame on anyone.
The more collaborative a working relationship can be, the faster a support ticket gets resolved.
Nothing beats the satisfaction and relief that comes with a quickly-solved problem.
Collaborative Print Support
Working together makes things faster and easier. It also ensures that you as an MSP only ever look good to your clients. Maintaining a cohesive team helps to create a beneficial feedback loop for both the MSP and the MPS. Here’s how:
- The MPS provider solves the customer’s problem, working to ensure that the client maintains a positive perspective on the MSP.
- The client is satisfied with the solution the print vendor and MSP collaborate to provide, and this positive experience encourages the client to refer their friends and partners to the MSP.
- The MSP now has new clients to refer to the MPS, and the generative cycle can start over at the beginning.
Look for a print vendor that only focuses on managed print services, and avoid print vendors that compete within your MSP’s space.
The unfortunate truth is that many print vendors bake MSP suites into their service models to poach business.
You want an MPS dedicated to print and print only. That will require strong relationships with MSPs in order to do business. And these symbiotic relationships rely on positive perspectives.
Clear and Consistent Communication
Your ideal MPS won’t leave you in the dark when it comes to solution requirements. They’ll be responsive to support tickets from you and your clients; they’ll communicate clearly with deadlines they follow through on.
Whether the solution involves a single simple step that the customer can implement on their own or a complex process including multiple vendors and technicians over a series of weeks, the MPS should keep you informed of the progress every step of the way.
Support With Print Partner
After we’ve summarized what MPS is and what type of support print providers offer, you’ll be able to navigate the print market with ease.
With Print Partner, you can always be confident that your clients (and your reputation) are in good hands.
Print Partner is dedicated to facilitating relationships with MSPs across the country, providing your clients with top-shelf managed print services.
We service your clients’ printing needs and leave the IT to experts like you.
And we’ll pay you for referrals! We offer $250+ per referral and $1,000 for each copier sold, plus recurring payments for future print allotment.
If you want to protect your client base, offer additional value to your customers and earn additional income while doing so, partner with us, a Print Partner you can trust.