Magazine Article | February 13, 2014

Convert Break-Fix Customers To Managed Services Through MPS

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By Jay McCall

Addressing a community health center’s printer, copier, and fax environment with a managed print service (MPS) contract was a key prerequisite to selling managed services.

Like so many other IT service providers, Erb’s Technology Solutions recognizes the value of selling managed services, but at the same time it recognizes many SMBs’ aversion to trading in their “we’ll call you if something breaks” mindset for a monthly payment. What Erb’s has discovered over the past couple of years, however, is that selling managed print services (MPS) has a lower barrier entry for SMBs, plus it can serve as an effective bridge to future managed services sales.

Unreliable Printers Leave Health Center Frazzled
A recent case in point is Linn Community Care, a midsize community health center dedicated to providing family practice and OB/ GYN services in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The health center serves uninsured and underinsured patients and as a result is often very booked, requiring more than two dozen clinicians on staff. For many years, Linn Community Care has been a break-fix client of Erb’s, contacting the IT service provider for special projects beyond its sole IT administrator’s capabilities or work capacity. In an effort to keep its expenses down, the health center had its IT person manage the purchase/ leasing and maintenance of its printers, copiers, fax machines, and multifunctional peripherals (MFPs). Over the years, however, the growing list of printer and copier brands as well as the variety of toner and print cartridges consumed a bigger part of the IT administrator’s work week.

During a visit to Linn Community Care’s facility to troubleshoot a server, an Erb’s engineer noticed the IT administrator at his wit’s end with a copy machine and inquired about the problem. The conversation led to the person revealing that printer delays, paper jams, poor print quality, and documents getting stuck in print queues were the norm. The engineer told the health center employee about Erb’s print services group and suggested he give them a call to see if they could help.

Subscribe to Business Solutions magazineShortly after the incident, Erb’s connected with the health center and scheduled an appointment to gain a deeper understanding of:

  1. the client’s printer, copier, fax, and MFP inventory
  2. how much time the client was spending maintaining devices and ordering toner and ink
  3. common problems the client was experiencing.

“An important part of our assessment entails connecting our PRINTSolv [from SYNNEX] data collection agent to the client’s network to detect all network devices and track important usage statistics and service history,” says Brad Svoboda, managed print services account executive at Erb’s. “We also do a walk around the client’s facility to locate stand-alone printer/ copier devices that may not be attached to the network. The third part of the assessment entails meeting with key stakeholders from various departments [e.g. finance, IT, HR] who can share their feedback regarding what they need from these devices.”

“What’s been especially rewarding about this project is how it’s proven to the customer that having a monthly bill doesn’t automatically mean it’s paying more for office equipment, and it’s been instrumental in opening up opportunities for managed services.”

Brad Svoboda, Erb’s Technology Solutions

MPS Provides Immediate Cost Savings, Upsell Opportunities
After the assessment, the health center also met with a couple of printer and copier vendors who had been contacting it to renew their leases and/or pitch newer products. “Where we gained an advantage and ultimately won the sale was the fact that our solution didn’t just address problems they were having with one or two printers/ copiers, but it was much more holistic,” says Svoboda. “In the end we helped them replace eight legacy devices with new HP MFPs [M525F, M4555FSKM, and CM4540F models], and printers [P3015 model], plus we bundled in our PRINTSolv remote monitoring and management service, which includes automatic toner and ink cartridge replenishment [through SYNNEX] plus maintenance and repairs — all on one monthly bill.”

In addition to freeing up several hours per week of its IT administrator’s time to focus on more strategic IT initiatives, the health center reported an immediate 15 percent savings on supplies, which it previously had to stockpile and manage in multiple supply closets. Plus, with its MPS contract, it never has to worry about large capital purchases popping up every three to five years. “What’s been especially rewarding about this project is how it’s proven to the customer that having a monthly bill doesn’t automatically mean it’s paying more for office equipment, and it’s been instrumental in opening up opportunities for managed services,” says Svoboda. “To date we’ve started selling the client a subscription-based backup and disaster recovery solution, which also includes our remote monitoring and management services. In addition to earning monthly recurring revenue, selling MPS and IT managed services have brought us into consultative business discussions with our customer — who now sees us as a trusted business adviser rather than the IT company they call only if something breaks.”