Like with many things in life, a copier lease can come with problems. When your organization is looking for a new copier, it might have some questions and even some perfectly normal fears about what could go wrong from the start to the finish of a copier lease. Your organization might worry about unfulfilled expectations, or its copier malfunctioning (and not being properly fixed) during a copier lease. As in any industry, problems in the copier industry are a reality, and they are best dealt with by addressing them. We here at ClearView Business Solutions don’t shy away from addressing the challenges that consumers face in the industry. In this article, we will address some common problems afflicting the copier industry.
Let’s look at these industry problems in chronological order from the customer’s perspective.
What problems could arise before a copier lease is signed?
- Terms of copier leases
Some lease agreements may be too complex for the layperson to understand, resulting in customers being overcharged. Customers may be left in the dark when they don’t accurately compare prices across multiple vendors, or determine a fair price for the solution.
Other bad lease practices include unannounced raises in price, unannounced changes in contractual terms and unfulfilled buyout obligations.
Leases should be fully completed before a customer signs it. Customers should get a final quote in writing, and they should get and keep a hard copy of the contract.
- Office copier insurance
Insurance for your copier can be a tricky issue if not taken seriously. Customers may be surprised by a property damage surcharge or similar charge on a leasing invoice. This might happen if the current insurance policy isn’t provided to the leasing company within the time specified on the welcome letter.
If the leasing company doesn’t receive a customer’s insurance information, then it issues a policy on the customer’s behalf and bills it to the customer.
- Lease misunderstandings
If customers don’t fully understand the intricacies of a lease, and the options available to them, then some missteps may result. Customers may mistakenly believe that they have been overcharged, or they may not be fully aware of all the benefits that their service agreement provides. Customers should be aware if a leasing company includes an annual auto-renewal in a lease, rather than automatically renewing the lease on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- Inadequate preparation for copier delivery
On copier delivery day, you want to be fully prepared for your organization’s new machine. Before delivery day, the copier vendor should be completely sure about how the customer’s internal network and email server will work in tandem with the new copier. More specifically, the vendor should be completely familiar with the authentication and security protocols. If it’s not, then the vendor might not be able to fully install and operate the equipment.
The proactive vendor will contact the main administrator ahead of time to confirm the operating system, the number of workstations, email server settings and the like.
Copier vendors should mind all of the intricate details associated with copier delivery. Before delivery, vendors should know if the location to which they are delivering has stairs, designated (delivery) hours and any other operating details that affect the time and manner of delivery.
Has your vendor completed a scope of work? A scope of work is an internal document that the vendor fills out, listing the customer’s name, scanning setup, network environment, network connection, number of workstations and more. If the scope of work isn’t completed, there could be a delay during installation of the system.
What problems could happen after copier delivery?
Copier vendors come to customers to train them how to use a machine. Before copier vendors do so, customers should make sure that all employees who will use the machine are present. If not all employees are there, then some employees simply won’t be fully trained to use the machine, or else employees will have to be taught by co-workers rather than by a fully-trained managed print services professional.
Once your organization is trained to use its brand new copier, here are some problems that could arise:
Like with most kinds of relationships, communication is essential (especially in this industry). Service technicians should always communicate with customers about responding punctually to service calls and keeping their word with respect to estimated times of arrival for service calls. Vendors should also keep customers updated on the status of parts ordered, and the status of any other orders.
- Excessive copier service calls
Customers shouldn’t have to make excessive service calls. If the same customer makes three or more service calls in 30 days, a service manager should contact the customer to see if the service calls are due to an issue related to service, the customer or the machine itself. If the service call is due to equipment defects, ask your vendor about its process for replacement.
Although some problems appear more than once, customers’ problems are still diverse enough that vendors (and technicians in particular) must be flexible enough to adapt to the range of issues that customers face.
When technicians go into the field for service calls, they should arrive at the customer’s location within four hours after the call was taken. At the customer’s location, technicians should be courteous, professional and fully responsive to customer needs. Technicians should try to understand and empathize with customers’ concerns, without minimizing their frustrations.
When it comes time to actually deliver and install the machine, technicians should ensure that they’re providing the proper configuration. The configuration can consist of the right machine model, drawers, faxing capability, a hole punch and a finisher.
What can go wrong throughout a copier lease?
- Inaccurate meter readings
There’s also the matter of actually getting accurate and timely meter readings using software that monitors toner levels, such as FMAudit®. Vendors should always be on the same page with their customers to ensure that the customer can install such software. Such software facilitates timely toner replacement, so that you never run out of toner.
- Untimely toner replacement
A common problem in the industry is when customers run out of toner and don’t get replacement toner in time. Although toner levels are monitored automatically, sometimes an application might not properly monitor the toner. In that case, when you see a prompt on the device’s screen telling you to install a new toner cartridge, you should call your servicing dealer promptly.
- Inaccurate billing
Accurate billing is a multi-step, conscientious process, beginning with precise starting meter readings. Accurate meter readings lead to accurate billing. A faulty meter can lead to an overcharged or undercharged bill.
- Contractual dispute
If a dispute arises over the course of a customer’s contract, during a contractual dispute, most leasing companies will have language in the contract that states that a dispute will be resolved in their home state.
As you can see, many problems can arise before and throughout a copier lease. The managed print services business takes patience, preparation, diligence and even some good ol’ tender loving care. ClearView Business Solutions excels in all of those areas and more, leading to far fewer problems for customers. The fact that our document-based technology solutions are virtually problem-free from start to finish is just one way in which we are making a difference, one document at a time.