Photocopier Servicing: Customer Guide

Press Release   •   Feb 06, 2011 17:29 GMT

Here we provide organisations currently looking for service agreements with a point-by-point breakdown of what we believe to be the most important copier servicing differentials. From geographical coverage to remote electronic help desks, this article provides everything needed to make a fully-informed choice when it comes to the servicing of any organisation’s photocopiers and multifunction printers (MFP’s).

Photocopier Servicing - Response Times

Many photocopier leasing companies will proudly display their service call-out response times on their websites, each as though they’re offering something quite unique and superior to what could be found across the rest of the industry. But what is a good service call-out response time? Looking around online, it appears the majority of photocopier suppliers offer an eight hour call-out response, some will respond within four hours and others are even prepared to commit to as little as two, depending on the individual company requirements and geography…

When a photocopier supplier quotes an eight hours call-out response time, that’s usually eight working hours. In effect, it means the leasing company is guaranteeing a next day response from the time at which a call-out is requested. For many with busy offices where the photocopier/MFP is an essential part of daily workplace operations or where there is only one device or a small number of devices, such an initial delay in response could leave an organisation quite inconvenienced and potentially out-of-pocket. But for businesses where the temporary absence of one device will not affect overall performance, an eight hour call-out response may be acceptable. Also to be borne in mind is the fact that a longer response time could sometimes mean an improved ‘first-fix’ rate (see ‘First Fix Rate’), whereas a two hour response, conversely, might require a service engineer to make a return visit, if he/she has rushed to meet the two hour response deadline and isn’t fully equipped with the right tools and parts for that customer’s machinery.

Another factor that will determine the speed of call-out response is the manufacturer of device that is chosen. Not everybody looking for a photocopier servicing agreement is aware but the speed of call-out response that can be offered on a national level will often depend on the ability of a member of a given OEM’s ‘supplier network’ or the OEM’s own servicing department to respond to a call-out within their geographical area. And the scale and calibre of the supplier network will depend very much on the particular manufacturer. Generally speaking, it will be the more established brands, such as Xerox and Canon, which will be able to offer the best national call-out response times on photocopier servicing. It is these manufacturers who tend to have the larger ‘supplier networks’, with more suppliers across the whole UK and more suppliers in each individual region. For this reason, most photocopiers companies offering Xerox devices for instance, can offer call-out response times even as quick as two hours across wider geographies, without this affecting the ‘first-fix’ rate. Conversely, suppliers of some OEM devices may only be able to offer competitive response times within a fixed radius of their main offices/hubs, as their OEM’s national supplier networks are much less developed. In fact, many suppliers tend to offer one guaranteed copier servicing response time for their local area and a much less impressive photocopier servicing response time further afield.

For customers who have only one office (and not nationwide offices) and do not require a company to service photocopiers nationwide, it would usually be advisable to choose a local company to lease from. This way, if the company they’re dealing with is able to boast a competitive response time nationally, it’s reasonable to assume they should be able to better this more locally, when they are relying on their own company’s service engineers and not the national OEM supplier network.

As far as call-out response times are concerned, there’s really no one single piece of advice that can be offered. It’s best to consider all of the points above and make an informed choice accordingly. Selecting devices from a larger, more renowned OEM and from a respected supplier is a good point of departure. If an organisation only requires photocopiers for one single office or a number of offices all within the same general area, it makes sense to choose as well a well-regarded local supplier, as it is likely to be their engineers and not those from the OEM’s supplier network who provide servicing for photocopiers. Considering the needs of the individual organisation is obviously important too. As noted before, if there is already spare capacity within an organisation, why insist on rapid response, which could impact upon ‘first-fix’ rate.

Photocopier Servicing -‘First-Fix’ Rate

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Photocopier Servicing - Loan Equipment and Parts

(this is not the full version of this article - for the full version, please visit Falcon)

Photocopier Servicing - Some Other Important Service Differentials

Besides quoted response times and ‘first-fix’ rates there are a number of other important factors which should be considered by anyone looking for copier servicing.

Firstly, one of the most potentially troublesome times from both the customer and the copier supplier point of view, is that first period following the introduction of new devices to a network. Good suppliers should understand that arriving at the right configuration sometimes takes time and often a fair degree of patience too. It’s these initial stages of a deployment when suppliers should be prepared to invest most – and the best will usually provide customers with a good level of initial network support.

There’s absolutely no point sending out engineers, for whom a customer will obviously have to wait, if problems could be resolved more quickly with the right technical support. That’s not to say when a photocopiers supplier promises great service, they should be offloading that responsibility onto the customer but where a problem could be resolved quicker without an engineer, customers should ensure their supplier can offer both telephone support and the services of a remote helpdesk. Particularly useful with networking issues, the remote helpdesk allows a member of the supplier’s support staff to share a customer’s screen and more effectively diagnose the problem. It may be that an engineer isn’t needed and one or two straightforward steps could resolve a problem. If an engineer is required, a remote helpdesk can help clarify the problem, so that when the engineer does arrive, he/she is ready for action.

Other important things to look out for…. Speak to the suppliers. How often do they survey their customers for service satisfaction? Do service engineers and customer care staff meet regularly to discuss recent jobs and share best-practice? Does the supplier invest in staff training? All these questions will give you a feel for the type of company you’re dealing with.

It’s clear, there are multiple factors that can affect the quality of photocopier servicing a customer receives from a photocopiers supplier and there’s no simple way of guaranteeing the best. But there are some sensible guidelines customers can follow. Selecting machines from a leading, respected manufacturer with a good reputation and strong supplier network is a good first point of departure. For organisations with offices across multiple destinations where they will be relying on that supplier network, this will be particularly important. If only looking for servicing for one office location though, dealing with a local supplier which offers devices from a limited number of manufacturers is certainly sensible. A smaller list of manufacturers should translate to better service expertise and a higher ‘first fix’ rate. Look out for the supplier’s loan policy – if a device needs to be taken away, under what circumstances will the supplier offer a loan copier – and how quickly? And how does the supplier ensure its service engineers come equipped – does the organisation actively encourage best practice and invest in engineer training, for example? It is not strange to ask these questions and if a supplier regards service as important as it is, they’ll have clear and defined answers. Photocopier servicing is undoubtedly one of the most important factors when it comes to deciding which supplier to choose. Even the very best photocopiers require some level of maintenance and the networks they’re installed into are not always perfect. Ensuring you’re dealing with an organisation that sees service as the priority it is should be a customer’s priority. Falcon hopes this article provides those customers with a useful starting point.