A few months ago my wife and I bought a new home. We had some renovations done and had the plumber rough in a bathroom in the basement. I framed the bathroom and got it ready for the plumber to come back in and install the final piping and the bathtub. (I'm fairly handy but had no real idea how to install the bathtub properly on a concrete floor.) We called him and he started the work...after missing the first appointment. Now 6 weeks later, he finally showed up to finish the installation after 4 other visits and many fits and starts. The excuses for why work could not be completed each time were creative.
Hopefully today, (he showed up unannounced), he gets his portion of the work done and I can finalize my project. The total amount of work was about 1 day's effort but 5 visits later he should finish....So frustrating.
So how does this relate to IT Network or MFP and Printer support?
Most mfp devices are sold with a support program attached. Many printers are sold without any support. I also get clients asking why they have to pay for support on their devices...shouldn't the warranty cover any issues.
I also get new clients telling me that their previous vendor's support was like my plumber. The support was intermittent, partial in nature and not always delivered as promised. The vendor's time schedule was more important to the vendor than the client's and the client's needs.
IT networks are the same. They take care to design and install. They take management to maximize the return and maintain reliability. They should not be left to wait for an emergency to occur. Scheduled, timely support is needed.
With the newly integrated nature of mfp's and printers a casual level of support is not acceptable to most companies.
In the old days of analog copiers the support was for keeping the hardware running. The modern MFP printer provides many sophisticated services to an office and is highly integrated into the IT network. Many users depend upon one device. Integrated applications provide custom work flows and procedures which can smooth office operations, but which can quickly bring many activities to a halt if the device or software goes off line.
Having dependable, knowledgeable and responsible support that delivers the solution in a timely manner, either through remote connection or on site response is a necessity to get the best value out of your investment.
Most dealers promise this kind of response, but only by checking with references can you find out if they deliver it....before you sign ask. They should be willing to provide you with documented evidence of their resolution stats. If they can't think twice about your contract.
For network printers much the same is true, although the functionality they provide may be less. If the printer involved is supporting an invoicing function or a support area, a delivery counter or other time sensitive location, having intermittent support can be a problem. Large fast network printers support many people at one time. When they are off line many people are left without that capability.
Good work technically and being a nice guy is not enough.
You know the worst part of dealing with my plumber is he is a nice guy. The work he does is excellent. I even think that technically I am getting value for his effort, but his lack of respect for our time, his cavalier way of going about his work and the resulting questions he leaves in our minds make using him a frustrating experience. I surely would be doubtful about giving him a reference to a friend looking for a plumber.
How do you feel about your IT network support vendor or your print support vendor? Are they referable?
Your IT network, mfp printer and network printer support providers should not be like our plumber. You should be able to expect timely response, sensitive to your business needs. Their work should be comprehensive and complete in the shortest and most consistent manner. They should do excellent work and should communicate clearly to you.
Best of all they should focus on prevention, not emergency response. While timely emergency response is critical, emergency avoidance through proactive anticipation is much more valuable.
So don't hire my plumber to look after your IT network, mfp printers or network printers. Get someone who does it the right way all the time.
Is your IT Network, MFP printer or network printer support like my Plumber? Or is it a managed process giving you excellent results?
Photo Credit: Joe the plumber