Managed IT and the Service Departrment

For many dealers, the prospect of adding managed IT to their company is a logical next step. For the sales department, it means adding a new talk track and developing some specialists to help close the business.

It does give a dealer the ability to better position themselves to manage and retain their current customers. It may also provide a competitive advantage in the sales process. However, a typical copier and printer service department will face significant challenges in supporting managed IT.

Separate or Integrated… or Partnered

The first step in moving into managed IT is to decide how you are going to handle IT support. Is it something that will be managed and operated through the service department, or will it be a separate department? Will you handle all customer support internally, or will you outsource some or all of the support?

This is a decision that will vary by dealership. If you currently have a help desk operation, provide all of your own internal network...

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Light Production Print and the Service Department

Light production print can be a stepping stone to new customers and it offers the opportunity to grow your business. When managed properly, it can position a dealership for growth and continued success. When managed poorly, it can spell problems that may haunt the dealership for years.

This is not an arena you want to dip your toe in and see how it goes. To do it effectively, a significant investment in parts and training is required. If you only have a couple of devices in the field, your ability to properly support the equipment will be nonexistent.

The Market Assessment

The first phase of making the light production print decision needs to be a market assessment to see how many potential units you can reasonably expect to place. If that number is less than 10, this is probably not a market you want to tackle. Additionally, these need to be in a geographic area that one team can support.

If your territory covers a wide area and you expect to have equipment scattered throughout the...

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Taking Time to Prepare Can Make Foray into Solutions Less Stressful for Dealers

I remember talking to a dealer principal several years back and asked him for his e-mail address. He responded that he didn’t like computers, and told me to just send it to one of his admins.

I knew his business was in serious jeopardy, and in fact, it failed a few years later.

The point of that story is to emphasize that we are in an ever-changing business environment. And in many cases today, dealers and service departments are reluctant to get into the solutions business. Some have tried dipping their toes in and gotten burned; others just want to be old-school dealerships. But we must remember that we can’t afford to get trapped in the current way we do business, or we will soon be out of business.

The Reality

Office equipment today is designed to be part of a network’s infrastructure. Devices are no longer output-only or scan/fax/print devices, but now can—and often do—serve as portals for access to applications. If your company is not currently...

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Managed Print Services and the Service Department

In talking with service managers over the last decade, I have found a variety of opinions about Managed Print Services (MPS).  Some service managers have found it to be a profitable addition to their revenue stream.  Others find it difficult to manage due to the wide variety of equipment and the difficulty in becoming proficient at supporting a multitude of brands and models.  Some see it as an unprofitable nuisance mandated in their department.

No matter how it is viewed, MPS is a program that is here to stay.  Sales will continue to sell the program and service will have to continue to support it.  The need then is to find ways to make it both manageable and profitable.

We will discuss several challenges to the service department created by an MPS program.  We will also look for steps to take to improve the serviceability of a contract and profitability.

The Challenges

A typical prospect for MPS may have a wide variety of makes and models.  In...

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The Service Department: How You Can Prepare for the Future

Last month, we discussed the current environment of our industry and the challenges facing it. In this issue, our next step is to examine the opportunities that exist within the service department and how you can leverage them to remain relevant going forward.

Learn From Those Leading the Way

When we look at the leading players in the acquisition market, what do we see in common? They get deep and wide with the customer. Marco is a very good example of that process—if it touches a Cat 5 cable, it sells, supports and services the products. Recently, it became the IT department for a hospital. Who is going to sell the hospital anything, other than Marco?

The more you can provide clients with all the devices and services they need or want, the more secure your relationship with that client becomes. Anyone who wants to take the client away from you will need to service and support all the equipment you provide.

MTS

One of the presentations at the BTA national meeting in Orlando...

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Moving Forward Requires Making Changes

Moving Forward Requires Making Changes

There are a couple of adages that highlight the need to keep changing.  One that comes to mind is “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you have always gotten.”  Einstein defined insanity as “Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.” In my last post, I highlighted the need to keep learning as an individual and as a business.  For the learning to be really valuable, we must apply it to our lives and our businesses.

In many cases, our businesses exist in a rut.  We keep doing the same things over and over because that is the easy and safe course.  The problem with a rut is that dug deeply enough it can become a grave. The corporate landscape is littered with the decaying hulks of business that thought it was enough to keep doing what they had been doing.

We will discuss how companies can avoid this result and some of the necessary...

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Sell Less and Make More

expand services leasing Dec 01, 2020

What the Manufacturer Is

When talking to dealers and attending trade shows, I often hear the manufacturer referred to as their partner.  Manufacturers love to position themselves as the dealer’s partner.  We are going to discuss the relationship between you and the manufacturer.

Not Your Partner or Friend

When you think about a partnership, typically you think about a mutually beneficial arrangement where both parties are concerned about the well-being and success of the other.  This would be a true partnership.

In the same manner, a true friend would want what is best for you.  A friend would not be solely concerned with how they benefit from the relationship.

Your Vendor

The manufacturer is interested in selling you product.  They have a factory, and they sell what the factory produces.  They sell this to you whether you need it or want it.  They have a warehouse that they want to empty into your warehouse. 

If they make an effort to...

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Why Seat Based Billing is Better for the Dealer

Why SBB is Better for the Dealer

 

In the last post, we discussed some of the differences between seat-based billing (SBB) and managed print services (MPS). In this post, we will look at how the differences affect the profitability of service, and why SBB can be more profitable and makes it harder for the competition to undercut your pricing.

 

While it may seem that this program is designed to solely benefit the dealer, I will be discussing in-depth in my next post how it can be a program that benefits the client as well. When crafting a proposal, share some of the cost reduction with the client, resulting in a win-win situation.

 

Truly managing print improves profit

In the conventional MPS program, truly managing the print output will reduce the client’s cost. It does this by moving the volume to less expensive devices and controlling what is printed in color. The resultant savings are good for the customer but...

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How Sticky Are You With Your Customers

I had the opportunity to attend two great events in October. The first was the Seat Based Billing Roadshow held Oct. 17 in Asheville, NC. The second event was the BTA Fall Colors meeting, also held in Asheville, NC on Oct. 18-19. One idea discussed at both meetings was the need for dealers to get “sticky.”

What Does it Mean to be Sticky?

West McDonald

For most of us, the concept of being sticky is not pleasant; we don’t want our hands, our face or our clothes to be sticky. In the context of business, being sticky is very important.

When we are discussing being sticky, we are talking about our ability to become essential to our clients. The stickier we are, the tighter and more enduring our relationship with them. We want our customers to be customers for life.

New customers are expensive and difficult to acquire. Too many times, we let our current customers slip out of our grasp; they leave for the promise of savings, or better service, or a variety of other...

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