MSPs: How to Talk to Your Customers About Managed Print Services
Whether you offer it or not, managed print service is a topic your MSP must consider in nearly all customer relationships.
Many companies, in one way or another, rely on print. And as an MSP, you serve as a trusted technology advisor to your clients.
At Print Partner, we’ve developed relationships between hundreds of MSPs across the country and our parent company, Green Office Partner. We know from experience how valuable a solid print relationship is for companies like yours.
Because this relationship between MSP and print is so vital, you should feel comfortable discussing print with your clients.
We’ll be equipping you with how to initiate the print conversation, giving you the knowledge and the confidence to build a bridge between our intertwined industries.
Why talk about print?
We get it. MSPs are constantly juggling projects, and print may not be at the top of your priority list (or on it at all!).
However, remember that print is essential to many of your clients’ daily business functions.
Most of these clients deal with print vendors already. If your MSP creates a partnership with a print vendor and communicates with them about your shared client, this can create significant benefits for all parties involved.
Talking print with your clients will make your job smoother in the long run while strengthening the relationships you have with your current clients.
Establishing a relationship with your client’s print service provider creates a win-win-win situation.
How often does your MSP receive calls regarding a client’s print device? If you are like most MSPs, that number is probably… well, a lot!
Impact, an MSP (who also offers print services), reported that 17% of their calls are print-related. Others have reported this number to be as high as 50%!
This means that a substantial number of your calls are for problems you cannot solve.
This can include issues like replacing printer components, print quality requests, and many others.
These unsolvable calls will frustrate your clients to no end. And if one of your techs decides that they CAN try to solve these issues, it can burn boatloads of time, killing your profit margin for issues your company shouldn’t be dealing with.
Knowing the entity that manages your client’s print means that when print issues arise, your team knows exactly who to call when you need help.
Developing a long-term relationship with a print vendor gives your frontline the opportunity to develop flow and familiarity with the techs that are collaborating with your team to resolve print issues.
A print partnership will save you and your customers from countless headaches. Gone will be the days that your customers call back and forth between you and the print vendor as both parties point fingers at each other, leaving your customer to suffer through the process.
A win for you, the client and the print vendor. Everyone’s happy.
The scary truth is that your competitors may already have relationships with your clients. And by this, I’m talking about print vendor.
Many print vendors have become managed service providers.
Heed this warning: Print companies are SALES organizations. MSPs are SERVICE organizations.
Print companies that offer MSP services are ready to pounce the minute your client expresses any frustration regarding their MSP service. Do you really want these guys in your clients’ ears?
Understanding which print companies your clients work with is essential to preserving your cultivated relationships.
To learn more about how competing print vendors and their impact on MSPs, read: The Greatest Threat to your MSP: Managed Print Providers
To create the best possible service while protecting your clients from competitors, you must initiate the print conversation.
You can start with something like this:
“Thanks for coming today. Have a seat.
We’ve gathered your friends and family because we are concerned. Concerned about your business’s print.
Having lackluster print can lead to wasted money and inefficiency within your workplace. As your trusted MSP, and as your friend, we cannot watch this go on any longer.”
…something like that, but maybe a little less dramatic.
Here are some basic questions you’ll need to ask clients to put the print puzzle together.
Who Handles Your Print?
Start with the basics. Ask your client who handles their print and research their provider afterward.
There may not even be a company managing the print - do they have a managed print provider, or do they handle print in-house?
Sometimes, a business that should have a managed print provider handles its print in-house. Especially for large multi-site operations, signing up with a managed print provider can save them countless dollars, and referring them to your print partner will make you their hero!
Read: Why Your Multi-site Clients Should Use a Single Print Vendor?
If the client reveals that they have a managed print provider, ask about their relationship - how they discovered this company, how long they’ve worked with them, etc.
After learning about the new provider from your client, do further research on them to see what services they offer.
Do they function as an MSP in addition to serving as a print vendor? Are they in direct competition with you?
Add this vendor’s support information to your IT Glue or client intel for your front line to have on hand.
We also recommend establishing a relationship with every client’s print vendor. If communication with them is difficult, or if they are offering services that compete with yours, these may be signals to direct your clients elsewhere. After all, you want a company that will collaborate with you, make you look good and make life easier for your customer.
How do you feel about your print vendor?
You’ll likely find a lot of pain points during this conversation, so get your empathy skills ready.
That said, your client's opinion of their print vendor is much more important than your feelings.
If your client talks about how they’ve established a deep business relationship with their print vendor, and how excellent their service has been, it may not be beneficial to interfere.
In this case, we recommend contacting the print vendor and establishing an open communication line. Make an ally so you can triage service with them the next time your client calls you about print issues.
However, suppose your client responds to your print inquiry with a groan, followed by a long-winded rant about the last time they needed a print repair and how it took too long. In that case, this may be an opportunity to empathize and navigate your client to take their print business elsewhere.
Can we see your print agreement?
A managed print provider creates a print agreement when a client begins a relationship with them.
Perhaps even more than your client’s opinions, this agreement will give you insight into how healthy the business relationship between your client and their print vendor actually is.
Print agreements offer detailed information, including a breakdown of costs and print volume. It will also show how long a client is tied up with this vendor.
If the print agreement shows two or more years on a copier lease, switching vendors may not be a viable option. While there still may be an opportunity for value down the road, you may need to wait a while before any action is possible.
However, if the agreement shows their copier lease is up in the next year, and if it shows that they are overpaying and underusing their print, this can be an excellent opportunity to upgrade their print to your preferred vendor.
Would you like to speak with our preferred print vendor?
If the stars align and the opportunity is there, pop the question!
Connecting customers with a quality vendor can be massively rewarding - you essentially position your company as the “one-stop-shop” in aligning technology services.
And the best part is that you don’t have to provide anything extra. Making the connection is enough, and your print partner will take over after the introduction.
Your clients will be grateful for connecting them to their needed print service.
Connecting Clients with Print Partner
When you are ready to join forces with the only nationwide print vendor that is purely aligned with MSPs, Print Partner would love to chat with you.
We’ve established partnerships with hundreds of MSPs across the country. Print Partner is dedicated to working side-by-side with you to provide the best possible experience for your business and your clients.
You don’t have to sell our service or educate your clients on print. Just make the introduction, and we’ll handle the rest.