How Print Vendors Manage National Clients
Handling the print needs of a national, multi-site client is no easy task. Large, spread-out companies have many moving parts, and print is seldom at the top of their priorities.
Finding a worthy managed print vendor is an excellent option for businesses like this, removing a burden from their internal accountants and office administrators. Every good print vendor's ultimate goal is to lighten their clients' load.
Despite being such an essential role in many businesses’ operations, people sometimes overlook the value of print agencies due to a lack of education. So we’re going to fix that!
We will look at what makes print agencies tick and how they work.
Using our industry knowledge and expertise from other print gurus, we hope to shed some light on a service that has historically been underappreciated but not understood.
Supplying Print Equipment
When thinking about print services, the first thing you probably think of is, well, the printers!
While there is much more to print services than selling big gray boxes, this is an essential piece of the puzzle.
Many businesses have no idea how to accommodate their print needs, especially with multiple locations across multiple states. Buying the wrong copier can lead businesses to either overspend on a product they don’t need or underspend on an underperforming product that slows down operations and will need replacement in six months.
When a business begins its relationship with its print partner, the first step is a full audit of the business’s printing needs. The managed print provider will examine the business’s size and scale and identify what machines can handle the required print volume.
Vendors perform an audit remotely for smaller customer environments, while they usually perform in-person assessments for large, multi-site customers.
In a physical evaluation, the print vendor arrives onsite to meet with stakeholders, department heads and IT. This meeting gives the print vendor a clear picture of the core requirements and pain points, allowing them to make the appropriate product recommendations.
In this way, managed print agencies are not “selling” copiers as much as they are “consulting” for their clients' needs.
Additionally, print agencies must maintain good communication with their clients’ businesses on future equipment needs.
Businesses are living entities that are constantly evolving - whether it be expanding, downsizing, moving locations or shifting focus, print services must adapt to their users’ needs.
Because of this, print vendors maintain routine check-ins with their client base to ensure their needs are always met.
For some businesses, quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are sufficient. Vendors may perform weekly or monthly check-ins for larger clients that may expect more changes than others.
The main idea is that clients should know exactly who to call when new print-related needs pop up.
Actively Manage Print Trends
National clients are constantly juggling budgets for their many locations.
Administrating office expenses can be challenging, with print-related fees being among the most essential. The office copier is like the engine of some offices, and running out of toner is like running out of gas.
Depending on the nature of the business, the amount of print toner needed can drastically vary from month to month. An office resource with so many ebbs and flows can be challenging to track.
Fortunately, a managed print agency is one way to lighten this load.
A quality managed print services vendor proactively monitors toner levels across all print devices and triggers replenishment as needed, eliminating those dreaded emergency shipment orders.
This proactive approach to print makes the office run smoother for the employees. And for leadership, managed print saves businesses money. And lots of it.
Managed print providers are often the unsung heroes of office budgets, shedding light on a varying cost that many companies tend to ignore. According to Small Business Trends, 64% of businesses can’t even track their print costs. (and they really should!)
When significant amounts of print are wasted, print vendors can pick up on this and identify the causes. They can also identify outliers in specific locations for national clients.
By tracking utilization, a quality print vendor can observe when a light-duty machine is used for heavy-duty workloads. For example, a device with a 10,000 page-per-month duty cycle is being used to print out 50,000 pages per month.
By observing volume by device type across an organization, a strong print vendor will contact their clients and advise them of necessary changes.
Replenishing supplies and tracking print trends will ensure businesses are spending what they should and getting what they need from their copiers.
Print Customer Service Relationship
Print vendors sell copiers and replenish ink. In a perfect world, that’s all they would need to do. Sadly, we live in a timeline where printers can break!
Servicing repairs is the part of the vendor-client relationship that is the easiest to mess up.
Vendors can do everything else correctly - good copier delivery and toner replenishment - but if they can’t stick the landing and don’t have a good response time for an emergency fix, the bitter aftertaste will forever ruin the entire relationship.
It’s what we call in the business a 0-star review waiting to happen.
Most national print agencies have dedicated helplines for clients to call in and troubleshoot issues with machinery. Phone calls can solve many of the most common printer problems.
More complex issues may require repairs and part replacements. That’s why managed print vendors can send help and get products repaired or replaced.
Print vendors outline their standards in their service-level agreement (SLA). A quality national print vendor can offer a four to twenty-four-hour onsite response time with replacement parts in hand.
The great thing about using one national print provider is that there is a standard procedure for repairs across all locations; there is one SLA, one phone number and one account manager to remember.
Sometimes, this can mean the print vendor is sending its own in-house team to fix devices. In other cases, the print agency will facilitate repair services between the customer and the print manufacturer, like Xerox or HP.
Using the manufacturer’s mechanics is a common practice for national clients, where it is not always possible to have in-house staff available to travel to all parts of the country.
To learn more about the benefits one national vendor has over multiple, read: Why Your Multi-site Clients Should Use a Single Print Vendor
Find a National Print Partner
Managing the print of national clients is no easy task. From supplying machines to refilling toner to troubleshooting errors, full-service print is truly a beast in its own right.
This is why finding a reliable print vendor is so important. And as an MSP owner, a good print provider can be an invaluable business ally.
Print Partner works with MSPs nationwide to provide national clients with a cohesive consumer experience. The best possible print meets the best possible IT. It’s a beautiful thing, really!
Referring us to your clients is an additional way to provide value to your customers and deepen your relationship with them. Plus, we’ll pay you at least $250 for each introduction and $1000 for each copier sold, along with 5% recurring revenue annually for print allotment value.