May 2012

Help Your Service Provider

Tips to Help Your Service Provider Help You

By: Kevin Gumpp for MarketPoint

If you’re the one in your company who everyone calls when a printer is down or having a problem or if you’re the one who manages your printer service provider, here are some tips to help make the whole process easier!

Remember, your goals and your service provider’s goals are basically the same: quick response, professional business practices, reasonable rates, and getting the printer back up and running on the first visit whenever possible. With a little upfront information you can make sure that every service call goes smoothly and trouble-free.

One of the most important things that you can do to help ensure repair of your printer is done quickly and efficiently is to provide your printer service provider with all the necessary information upfront, before they hit your front door. It will help them to make sure they bring the right parts and/or tools with them on the first visit and avoid having to make a return trip. This simple step will go a long way in developing a good relationship with your service provider and improving your outcomes.

Before Placing a Call
Probably the most important step in making sure a service call goes as planned is preparing a little information to have available before placing the call to your service provider.

1. Make and Model of the machine.

For example: HP LaserJet 8150. Some companies have specific technicians designated to work on particular makes and models of printers.  Knowing the make and model of the printer in need of repair will make sure you get the right tech for the job, the right parts are sent with the service tech, and if questions arise when the tech arrives at your location about what printer needs servicing, the technician will have the information.

If your printer has a service provider label with an ID number on it, make sure you also supply that number. With that information the service provider can go back and check the printer’s history to see if this is an on-going issue or if, perhaps, the printer is in need of preventive maintenance (PM).

2. Have contact information available.

This is really important! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve arrived on-site at a large company between 11:00AM and 2:00PM to find that my contact is out to lunch, leaving the receptionist and myself scratching our heads, trying to figure out which printer needs servicing. A main contact and secondary contact, with phone numbers, should be provided at the time of your call, as well as your company name and address.  If you’re with a large company, a department location and a detailed note at the receptionist’s desk can go a long way toward avoiding unnecessary delays.  If your company has multiple locations make sure you tell your service provider at which location to find the printer.  Finally, office hours should be mentioned. I’ve arrived on-site more than a few times just to be confronted with an out to lunch sign or to be told that the business is closing in five minutes so the service appointment will need to be rescheduled.

3. Know the problem the machine is having.

If the printer has an error code, write it down. For example: HP 8150 with a 51 service error. 51 service errors are typically laser errors so if your service provider has a laser unit for the machine they can make sure to send one with the technician.

If the printer has an image quality problem, make sure you try a replacement toner cartridge first.  Fifty to 75% of image problems are toner issues. Taking five minutes to try a new toner cartridge might save you unnecessary service expenses. If it’s not possible to replace the toner or if replacing the toner doesn’t fix the problem make sure you keep a print example by the machine for when the technician arrives. I’ve been on several service calls where the problem wasn’t visible or couldn’t be replicated when I got there. An example is always very helpful in determining what could be the cause.

If you’re having problems with paper jamming, again an example would be helpful in determining what and where to look for problems. If the machine doesn’t work or gets little usage it might help to leave the jam inside the machine.

Inform your service provider about the importance of the printer to your business. I wouldn’t say, “Come out when you have some free time” if this is a critical or even routinely used printer. You might not see your technician for a week or two. But I would let them know if it’s your payroll machine and your checks need to be run in the next day or two. Nothing is more frustrating to a service company who is focused on providing great customer service than to have an upset customer due to a misunderstanding about the priority status of a service need.

4. Communication

It might be best to designate one employee to handle all of your service requests. Most offices have several printers and not all equipment is handled by the same service provider. You can avoid calling the wrong service provider by having one person responsible (with one back up person, of course) to make the call. This will help to avoid unnecessary service expenses too. Plus it helps strengthen the relationship between your company and your service provider by establishing a familiar line of communication between two people.

After the Call has been Placed
Once a customer places a call there are a few more simple steps that you can make to be sure the printer is ready for the technician when s/he arrives to repair the machine:

  • Make sure the company receptionist is aware that a call for service has been made and that a technician will be arriving to work on a machine in the office. Inform them of the printer’s location and the contact’s information.
  • Make sure the printer hasn’t become a new shelving unit in somebody’s office. The machine should be cleaned off, plugged in, have paper in the paper tray, and have room for a technician to move it around. I’ve often walked into cluttered offices with mounds of paperwork stacked up on top of or in front of the machine making work impossible until the area is cleaned off.
  • Leave examples showing the print problems by the machine. Possibly put a post-it note on the machine to notify people that a call has been placed so they don’t accidentally call your service provider again and place a duplicate service request.

Once the Technician Arrives

  • Greet the technician and show them to the problem machine.
  • Try to answer his or her questions to the best of your knowledge.
  • If there are any rules or procedures the technician must follow while working at your company, inform them.
  • Ask if they need anything or if there’s anything you can do to help them.
  • If you work in a different area, make sure they know how to get in touch with you.
  • If you want to make sure you don’t invest too much money to fix the printer, inform the technician before s/he starts to work on the equipment to avoid an uncomfortable moment once they hand over the bill.

Before the Technician Leaves

  • Ask about the repair, if they noticed anything that might need attention soon, and if there are any tips they can give you to maintain the printer and hopefully avoid more service calls.
  • Ask if they have labeled the machine, and what kind of warranty is included in the service they performed today, in case you need to call back.
  • If they have to return ask for an estimated time and, once again, notify fellow employees of the expected return to avoid another service request on a machine that’s already waiting on parts.
  • Make sure the equipment is working the way you expect it to.
  • If you’re a first time customer or handle your accounts with CODs, make sure you have all the necessary information ready. It might not seem important, but it can really mess up a technician’s schedule when s/he has to wait after the repair is complete to receive a check or credit card information or when the person in charge is unavailable to handle the payment.

After the Technician Leaves
Not much to say here, other than please make sure you hand over the billing to accounting for payment. Prompt payment always helps in establishing a good relationship with your service provider. Just like tipping your waiter, bell boy, or hotel room staff. The more quickly you pay, typically the better service and benefits you get.

By following these few helpful tips when calling in for service you can greatly enhance your relationship with your service provider and speed along the repair of your office equipment. It might seem like a lot of information but really it should only take about 10 to 15 minutes to make sure all the information is gathered and make sure fellow employees know that a call has been placed and to expect a service technician in the next hour or two or in the next day or two.  Again, I can’t stress enough how following these few simple tips can make a technician feel comfortable in your work place and make them want to continue giving you the very best service possible because of the trouble free, informative environment you have created.

About the Author
Kevin Gumpp is a certified printer technician and freelance writer for Market Point. If you have a question for Kevin regarding this topic or have any other printer repair related questions or topics you would like more information on, please send an email to

Market Point is a Lexmark Elite Authorized Parts Distributor with a singular focus on the Lexmark and HP printer, parts, and toner supplies market. Market Point provides solutions that enable service organizations to lower total cost of operations, streamline processes, reduce cost per transaction and locate new customer opportunities.  Visit us at