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Adding Printer Services as a Revenue Stream

30 Mar, 2009 By: Steve Geishirt imageSource

Adding Printer Services as a Revenue Stream

Copier dealers all over the U.S. are finding their printer service business the proverbial “low hanging fruit” in these tough economic times.  Adding printer service as a new revenue stream makes perfect sense for copier dealers whose service departments are already skilled at
repairing electromechanical equipment. To give you an idea of the revenue potential, it is estimated that for every digital copier you maintain there are five to six serviceable printers that you’re walking past. It doesn’t take long to do the math:  if your dealership provides
service for 500 copiers, there are 2,500 to 3,000 printers that you could be adding to your service contract.

Adding printer service takes only a few simple steps:

The first step is education...

For years, copier dealers have wisely required service training on copiers and fax machines to keep their skills current.  This investment actually makes it easier to transition techs from copiers to printers.  In fact, at our advanced printer repair classes, we find that
copier techs understand all the basics of trouble-shooting and repair. They mostly need to learn how to get the covers off the printer!  Once inside, they need to know what commonly fails, what are the symptoms and most frequent solutions. Techs best learn this through hands-on
training. Look for training that teaches your team what a service tech needs to know without all the fluff, keeping a focus on real life issues – doing so will save you time and money. Most importantly, proper training keeps your customers happy.

The second step... is to stock up on service manuals and other key repair tools. Service manuals provide the vital stats – everything from part numbers and service codes to how to access “tech only” menus. Many dealers are getting printer service manuals online and
storing them on techs’ laptops or creating databases back at the office.

The third step... is to gain access to quality technical support. Training and service manuals will answer many questions.  But when techs come across a really puzzling problem, it’s important to have a knowledgeable technical support resource that takes your call in
three to five minutes with quick, sound advice. Imagine your tech calling from the customer site – he can’t stand there on hold for a half hour or longer on the customer's dime!

The fourth step... is to discuss your need for a print management program. A managed print solution is not a software program that monitors clicks. It’s also not the little key you plug into a customer’s computer to take a snapshot look at page counts (for customer
location, after customer location…). "MPS" is not the same as a multifunction printer (MFP); it is not “we now service printers” nor is it a cost per page billing method. So, what is MPS?

MPS is an inclusive fleet management program (program as in process, not software) that uses software as a tool to actively monitor customer devices for clicks and service, which is often billed via CPC but doesn’t have to be. It is (most importantly) a consultative sale to
your customer that provides a solution by helping them to manage costs and control their printing environment. Print management programs are where the market is headed, and tied in with printer service it makes a powerful combination that will best service your customer and pay
you dividends.

The fifth step... is to make sure you have support from the top. It all begins with a commitment from the top. Without that commitment, printer service will fail. I talk to service managers all the time who tell me they are exploring training and dabbling in printer
service because the top management doesn’t want to make any investments until printer service shows a return. Imagine dabbling in copier service going forward. Stop training your service techs and tell them to wing it, and no need for service manuals. Give them six months to a
year max to show a return. It's obvious this would be a losing proposition.

Outlined are some of the key points of making the move into printer service. For more detailed information, I will be addressing this topic at an ITEX’09 “Power Hour” education class on March 18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Bring your questions as we’ll get into greater
detail on adding printer service as a revenue source for your business.

Steve Geishirt is the director of training at Parts Now! Since 1989 he has served in the functions of bench repair technician & service manager. He now oversees training which includes educating sales and technical staff on new printers and their technologies, and online
printer repair.  For more info visit www.partsnow.com

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