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The print channel has made it clear that it needs help from vendors navigating these current choppy times, and Brother has reacted with tools to help its partners support customers safely.
The firm has launched free licenses for its remote diagnostics software to give resellers the option to provide maintenance support to customers, without the need for engineer callouts.
Given the Covid-19 lockdown, some of the first roles to be affected at a reseller level have been on the engineering front, with the channel simply not allowed to access customer buildings and remote sites.
That has caused problems for partners, unable to display their value and fix problems, as well as customers who are left wondering how they can fix problem printers.
The Brother tools give resellers the chance to do remote diagnostics, troubleshooting and solving of printing devices all from a safe distance. Partners can access and navigate the device’s control panel as they would in person to resolve settings or identify parts for replacement.
The vendor has also pointed out that partners can assure customers that any data shared by their devices during the process will remain secure.
“Thousands of businesses are facing unprecedented disruption and have had to completely overhaul their ways of working,” said Andy Johnson, Brother UK head of product and solutions management.
“This is presenting resellers with new challenges in ensuring their customers have the IT infrastructure they need to continue delivering essential services and enable their employees to work at home productively.
“Problem-solving at distance is central to this, and our Remote Panel tool will provide our partners with the ability to diagnose and solving technical issues for customers without the need to travel,” he added.
Recent research from Quocirca indicated that printer specialists were facing challenges adapting to a world where the workforce is based at home and that they needed more help from vendors.
Although many had indicated they were keen to get help financially, with more flexibility in partner programmes and on the credit front, there were also calls for more tailored help from vendors.
“It is clear that, as time is passing, the scale of the pandemic’s effect on business is intensifying,” said Louella Fernandes, director at Quocirca. “We are seeing positive signs that channel partners are prepared to adapt their strategies and innovate to try to mitigate the effects of the situation, but also that they need help from vendors to do this.”
The analyst house found that the demand for traditional print support had shifted in the past few weeks in a dramatic way. The coronavirus outbreak had forced more of the channel to look at changing their operating models going forward, with some of the lockdown responses set to become permanent, increasing the need for more digital workflow solutions.
Many in the channel are expecting the current remote working to remain in place for quite some time, giving even more incentive to adapt business models.
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