The average UK office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. So, choosing a print provider is far more important than you might think. Every sheet of paper comes with a cost, from energy consumption to environmental impact to the inevitable need for maintenance and customer service and security.
You don’t want to sign up for a long-term relationship with a print provider without knowing what they stand for and what they can offer. When evaluating your current partner or looking for a new one, these seven questions will help.
How do you deliver long-term value as a print provider?
Many in the print industry rely on dazzling businesses with short-term, short-sighted savings at the expense of real, long-term solutions. You can save 20% by removing two of your 10 printers, but those savings mean nothing if you needed all 10 printers to help grow your revenue. The solution provides no long-term value.
When entering a partnership, you need to ask about the long-term benefits a print provider can bring to your business. Ask them what they can offer you that someone else can’t, how they’ll work to constantly drive efficiency. If all they have is a generic cost-saving story, you’ll know it’s time to look elsewhere.
How local is your support?
Support doesn’t begin and end with device maintenance or answering your phone calls. A Managed Print Service partner needs a local presence to be useful in a pinch: boots on the ground, wherever your office is located, ready to give you the help you need when you need it, not two days later.
Local print suppliers can deliver that on-hand support, but not if their organisation isn’t large and robust enough to keep up with all their customers’ needs. Likewise, larger print providers have the tech and customer success stories, but they often lack that vital local presence. There’s no benefit to having a print partner powerhouse if it takes them several days to fix your problem.
When assessing your print provider, make sure they have that rare but essential balance of national scale with local presence.
What environmental impact (and savings) can I expect?
The difference between a printer supplier and a management print partner is simple: the former sells you the tech, whereas the latter also helps you get the most out of it. That includes reducing paper use and energy consumption, as well as complying with relevant environmental regulations.
A good print provider should be able to address your environmental concerns and explain how they will help you cut consumption and costs.
What are some of your customer success stories?
This is essential asking when vetting potential print providers. If a company can’t share any case studies or customer success stories with you, it means one of two things: either they haven’t taken the time to compile them, or they don’t have any customer success stories.
While the former can be chalked up to poor planning, the latter is a major red flag. Print providers, particularly those who specialise in delivering a managed print service, need to have real-world stories and numbers to back up their claims that they’re the best choice for your business’s employees, budget, and long-term success.
What sort of training will we receive?
Has your office ever bought a new, all-singing-all-dancing printer, and no one knows how to do anything other than basic printing? It’s not realistic to expect every (or any) employee to read the new device’s instruction manual, and sticking an informational poster on the wall isn’t going to do much help, either.
Similarly, software that promises to reduce print costs will only be effective if used properly which, in turn, takes training.
You need a managed print partner who will take the time to deliver actionable, in-person training. Not only will they learn how to use the office’s new printers and software, but they’ll become equipped to reduce paper consumption, avoid unnecessary ink and toner costs, and save valuable time.
What kinds of maintenance and customer support will we receive?
Training is vital, but the support shouldn’t end once your fleet of devices is up and running. What if there is a printer error a week later? What about five years later? And how much will maintenance, both routine and major, cost your business? Is it part of the retainer, or are there add-on fees? And most importantly, how long will it take for them to show up and provide the help you need?
These are questions your print provider should be able to answer with confidence and assurance. Otherwise, you risk working with a provider who may let you down one day when you urgently need their support.
What makes you unique?
This is the most important question to ask your print provider, existing or potential. If you work with someone just like everyone else, their tech and their support will be just like everyone else’s: not worth the paper the manuals are printed on!
At Capital, we provide print and document solutions specific to your needs, not ours. We’d love to have a chat and answer any questions you might have. How could you benefit from a Managed Print Service? What makes us different from the next print provider?
Give us a call on the number below, or get in touch for a tour of our head office. See the difference for yourself.