Once you purchase or lease electronic office equipment, you have to live with your dealer’s service department for at least three to five years. That can be a long time if you’re not satisfied with the way the technicians do their job.
I first started providing maintenance and repair for copiers and printers in 1992. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what makes the relationship between a customer and a service technician run smoothly. On my list, communication is #1. From scheduling on-site appointments to working through a major repair, a good technician will keep you updated at all times throughout the process.
However, assessing communication skills up front – before you purchase a copier or printer – may be challenging. That is why I recommend asking these seven service-related questions before you enter into a sales agreement. You’re certain to learn more about the company’s communication practices in the process.
- What level of skills and training do your service technicians have? Many dealers will send one or two technicians away for classes from time to time. But if you can find a dealer with an on-site trainer, you can be assured of an even higher level of competency among technicians. That’s because an on-site trainer makes sure technicians consistently receive the latest technical information available, right from the manufacturer.
- Are your technicians certified to maintain and repair the equipment you sell? Yes, on-the-job learning is valuable, but every machine is different. Each one requires a certain level of specialized knowledge that’s best gained directly from the manufacturer or a dedicated trainer.
- What is your technicians’ average length of service? Everyone is new to his or her job at some point, of course. However, if most of a dealer’s technicians haven’t been with the company long, that may be a red flag.
- How long has your company dealt with a particular copier and printer manufacturer? You can learn a lot about machines based on experience and training with previous models. It’s a good idea to contract with a dealer that’s been selling a particular brand for substantial period of time. Your service will most likely be better as a result.
- What is your average service response time? Find out what the dealer’s standards are for the time between the phone call and the technician arrival time. It should be one business day or less. If it is not, you may want to rethink things.
- How do you handle copier and printer parts? Ask if technicians generally carry common parts with them. If parts must be ordered, get an understanding of the dealer’s process, including requirements for a loaner machine. Think about what lengthy equipment downtime might mean to your business.
- What is your average recall ratio? In other words, do your technicians usually fix the problem properly the first time? Find out how many times a technician must be recalled for the same problem per 100 service calls. A dealer should keep a record of this and be able to pull it up on request.
With our service team at Copeco, we emphasize good communication and fast, accurate service with all our technicians. Most have been with us for 12 years or longer, and they know many of our customers on a first-name basis.
I believe a copier and printer service technician has an obligation to clearly explain the problem and let the customer know how and when the problem will be solved. Then, the technician must follow through. When that happens, a happy customer is virtually guaranteed.
If you’re in the process of buying or leasing a copier or printer, make sure you ask your dealer about service before finalizing any contract. If the answers are right, that happy customer will be you.
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