A tagline can tell you a lot about a company. From one line, you can get an idea of what their philosophy, approach and general outlook is before you delve into their practices. Some keep it simple – like Brother, which offers a number of services including managed print services. Its motto is ‘At your side’. This highlights how closely it works with its clients, partners and resellers. And the approach is working.
For one, it has a close to perfect renewal rate with customers, who regularly renew their contracts and continue using the service. Add to that a growing desire to expand its programme – the company is always open to bringing new B2B resellers into the fold – and improve its services, and it becomes clearer why its customers are satisfied.
“We have an MPS system whereby some customers are now with us up to nine years. They just rolled over three times. They have three-year deals, and they keep rolling over,” said Derek Kelleher, solutions and services manager for Brother Ireland. “We find that about 97 per cent of the customers we would have will stay on the system.
“We’ve high customer retention, which is great as it means that the customer is happy with the machine, and with the service. Once it doesn’t impact the business and doesn’t cause any grief or hassle, they’re happy.”
Brother’s key aim is to enable clients to avail of lower-cost services and more efficient document creation. It does this through Multi-Function Printers (MFPs), which can print, scan and copy, and are managed through the Brother MPS portal along with print management systems like PaperCut or Y Soft provided through its partner network.
On top of that, it offers a cloud-based portal for its partners to help deliver automatic supply fulfilment to end-users as well as offering maintenance and support – all for a quarterly fee which greatly lowers the upfront costs and lowers the print cost.
“It’s efficiency for the business,” said Kelleher. “You don’t have to worry about who’s fixing the machine or organising machine repairs, or ordering supplies. The bottom line is everything is included.
“For Brother, we really excel in the workgroup desktop segment. We’re able to build a balanced deployment solution whereby resellers can mix larger copiers with Brother SMB workgroup devices, attach them onto the same print management platform, and they’re able to deliver cost-efficient and maintenance-efficient results.”
For a sector that’s now an ingrained part of the modern office, printing has significantly developed since MPS became more popular. For one, Brother continuously strives to develop its cloud portal and its offerings, looking for better efficiencies and lower costs with machines.
The SMB devices it now has keep up to date with the latest security measures and developments, and are compatible with the most popular print management platforms. Reporting can be done monthly so all companies can keep on top of their print costs.
Going back to its motto, that approach of always being at the customers’ side means printing devices and services are managed on an ongoing basis. While much of it is automated – a basic example is an alert for when you’re running low on ink or paper – there are other areas which benefit from a close relationship.
“Working with our resellers we’re always managing, monitoring and looking after customers devices and we do it regularly,” Kelleher explained.
“The devices are connected to our portal so there’s always communications for services and auto supplies fulfilment. The customer intervention is done by our channel partners, and service is carried out by Brother trained engineers.”
An area that might be overlooked when talking about machinery and portals is shaping policies. It’s great having the latest technology at your fingertips but if you have no policies in place, then it’s hard to keep things in check.
This is important as all businesses are different and what might work for one industry may not suit another. As it serves industries like retail, finance, and medical institutions, Kelleher mentions that Brother has the knowledge and experience to help with this.
“Typically print policy [refers to things like] usage levels, access to colour,” he said. “We can help our resellers design a print policy for their customers and we are very open to consultation.
“Everyone’s solution is different because every business runs on a different timeline or in a different location so we’re able to make and match and deploy different solutions. They’re all a challenge and they all have different requirements. Some of them want 24-hour service, others want nine-to-five service and it makes life interesting when you’ve got solutions to build and provide.” Derek Kelleher,