Michael Coulson, Founder and MD of managed print services comparison platform ManagedPrintCompare.com, explains why MPS resellers need to angle their approach to education carefully.
It’s often said that a good education is something which you can never take away from a person. Therefore, establishments which provide that education should be the best-equipped. With tightening budgets, it’s becoming ever more clear that schools, colleges and places of specialist education are going to be demanding more value than ever. When it comes to print devices this is even more pertinent.
There has been the recent talk of a need to update the way SMEs and education facilities manage their print services, not by the establishments themselves, but for those that provide and act as the go-between for manufacturers and those using the devices.
The Managed Print Services (MPS) industry has a lot to glean from more forward- thinking sales models. Gone are the days of blinding a client with science, as value and service are placed more highly when it comes to a buyer decision.
Couple this with the aforementioned need for value and squeezing of budgets and you’re left with a need to be transparent and to offer added value.
How to add this value? It’s easier than you think, by combining customer experience with excellent equipment at the fairest price possible, MPS could well be at the cusp of a new dawn of take-up and certainly in terms of perception and customer expectations.
Enter then the opportunity to become a value-added reseller. There is a clear argument out there for the ‘Device as a Service’ (DaaS) model. For the uninitiated, this is the way in which resellers can help organisations mitigate costs by taking a typical hardware device (such as a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone) and bundling it with a variety of services and software, and offering it to a customer for a monthly subscription fee.
This is all particularly important when you consider the vast tech gap between those in education and those delivering it. Millennial- aged teachers and education staff may understand technology, but those older than this may not have the necessary knowledge to recognise the needs of demanding pupils, students or associates. This is where the DaaS model is incredibly useful. Those who can procure the most suitable, up-to-date models of device and then manage the servicing and lifespan are invaluable in a buying environment where resources, as well as budget, are limited.
It should also be noted that there is a real precipice here too. Force a digital transformation too quickly and you can run into problems that are very real.
Talking an education prospect into reaching for a digital solution too quickly may be a dangerous tactic too. Dragging teachers and education staff into a world they don’t understand too suddenly may put them off the MPS model altogether. A balance needs to be struck and therefore a more thorough approach is also needed.
What is clear is the cut-throat days of selling a device contract then cutting all but essential contact is gone. Education is a sector where more care needs to be taken with customers than ever before. Bad service will paint the whole MPS niche with a bad reputation and that’s something nobody wants to be responsible for.
The best way to approach this sector is with great care and a sense of responsibility. The days of ineffectual and unhelpful MPS contracts are at an end if the industry moves together as one.
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