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Questions to ask Ricoh-Ikon regarding Canon Service

December 1, 2008

The Canon Ikon letter has been out for a while now, and the following statement seems to be getting the most attention.

“…Canon will continue to sell spare parts and supplies to IKON for three years, and will provide certain technical support to IKON for Canon brand business equipment for at least one year.”

The first thing that comes to mind is I hope that you didn’t just enter into a 4 or 5 year (service included) lease with IKON on Canon equipment since they will only be able to obtain Canon parts for three years. But if you did you have time (and options) to make some decisions on what will be best for your company.

The more interesting part of the Canon statement is that Canon will provide “certain technical support… for at least one year.” Even when you ask someone at Canon they will not give you a clear definition of what that means. They fall back on the legal disclaimer that it is a private agreement between IKON and Canon and that they either don’t know or can not disclose the exact terms. OK, Fair enough, but where does that leave you as a business person trying make sound business decisions about your company and who will service and support your current Canon equipment. As business people we make our decisions based on the best information available to us at the time.

The above statement as to what type of support Canon will or will not give IKON in the next year or beyond seems to be vague by design. But don’t worry,  I am going to help you get to the bottom of what kind of support you can expect from IKON on your Canon equipment.What you can do is ask your IKON-Ricoh Sales Rep, or IKON-Ricoh Service Manager to respond in writing to the following questions. These are questions that an Authorized Canon Dealer can answer “Yes” to.

Q1. Can the IKON technician call Canon Technical support? Do the IKON technicians have active Canon support IDs?

Q2. Do the IKON service technicians have access to the Canon eSupport Web Site and knowledge base?

Q3. Can the IKON service technician open up a problem ticket with Canon tech support?

Q4. Does the IKON service technician get access to all current Canon modifications for the Canon equipment  that s/he services?

Q5. Does the IKON service technician get access to all current firmware, and patches (including security patches), on all current Canon equipment that they service?

Q6. Does the IKON service technician get access to all Canon Technical Publications (Tech Pubs) for all of the Canon equipment that they service?

Q7. Can the IKON service technician escalate a technical problem to Canon Engineering?

Q8. Can the IKON service department request and receive an on site visit form a Canon technical specialist at your site, to help them resolve a service problem in the field?

Please get the answers to these questions in writing, or via an email. If the answer is yes to all of these, I will be surprised if it is, have them go to the Canon eSupport site http://www.support.cusa.canon.com/ Ask them to log in to this site in front of you. See what they can access.

But if it turns out (as I suspect) that the answer is “no” to some or all of these questions then you will have a basis to make an informed decision on just how much value your company lost when IKON lost their status as an Authorized Canon Dealer. After all they were an Authorized Canon Dealer when you purchased your Canon equipment from them, and they were an Authorized Canon Dealer when you entered into a Service contract with them. And it is IKON not you who changed the agreement, by losing it’s standing as an Authorized Canon Dealer. If their loss of standing costs your business the level of support that you originally negotiated for, then maybe you have a basis to break that contract (consult your legal department).

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@Yahoo.com

PS: Is the proper spelling on the new Ricoh-Ikon entity Ricon or Rikon? 🙂 I guess that will depend on who in management still has a seat when the music stops.


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24 comments

  1. Amen!!! Nice post and hope to read more good stuff.

    Art


  2. Once again, you hit the mark! Thanks for the insightful commentary and I hope you don’t mind if I use the Q’s when we talk to our prospects.


  3. good questions, but dont just rely on a tech being able to log onto e-support. i can log on to e-support using someone elses log in info. but no on the being able to ask questions on e-support, or calling tech assistyance on phone


  4. Nice hatchet job. It could be argued that IKON actually has a better service/knowledge base than Canon does.

    If Canon decides to cut IKON off at a much later date it speaks MORE of Canon’s willingness to cut off hundreds of thousands of customers that they steered to IKON over the years. Remember: Canon could be hurting those very same customers by attempting to cut IKON off….not the other way around. That would leave the customer in the lurch. Not a great way to treat the customers Canon is trying to take from IKON.

    Bottom line is this: IKON has access to all of that data it needs on the current installed fleet of Canon gear. It might not have new data on new gear but doesn’t need it…..it isn’t selling Canon anymore. Also, the parts and supplies that IKON might need in the future will be available from the companies that actually manufacture them. Canon doesn’t make them…..suppliers do and IKON could go directly to them. Now that I think about it, this should make IKON an even better choice since they will get the same parts and supplies from the same OEM’s probably at lower costs. They will not have to pay the Canon premium.

    IKON customers have a rich history of excellent service from IKON itself. Scare tactics like this are obvious for what they are.


  5. Steve,

    These questions have apparently struck a nerve for those who work at ikon.

    Is it a hatchet job to give the loyal Canon customers the information on exactly what is the value that they lost when Ricoh bought ikon? In all of your response you did not actually address any of the questions. This is the same “spin” tactics that we are hearing over and over again form the local ikon reps. If there is no difference between ikon Canon service before Ricoh bought you and after Ricoh bought you then why not simply answer the questions, in writing and on ikon company letter head if you don’t mind 🙂
    I think that your loyal Canon customers are entitled to these answers.

    The other thing that I keep hearing from the ikon reps to their long time Canon customers is that “Ricoh is just as good as Canon”. If that is true then why when ikon had both options did they sell them Canon over and over again? And only now when they don’t have the option to sell Canon has Ricoh miraculously improved to be “just as good as Canon”. What else would you expect them to say? But let’s not BS each other and say they are doing this to help their customer. I have supported both lines and there is a significant difference between Canon and Ricoh equipment. Canon is clearly the better product.

    Sure you can buy aftermarket parts and supplies for the Canon equipment that you still service. But will you tell your customers that you are giving them non OEM toner, and non OEM parts? Probably not.

    As you know, if you have serviced or supported any MFD, that there is always new firmware, and mods, and patches (even security patches) being released throughout the life cycle of that MFD. It would be great if we lived in a static world that once we bought a MFD (or a PC) we would never need to patch it, but that is not reality. So don’t you think that your loyal Canon customers have a right to know if you can still provide these updates, mods, and patches to the equipment that you sold them? All I am recommending to your Canon customers is that they get full disclosure, so they can make an informed decision. Why all the secrecy from ikon? Could it be that many of the answers to these questions are “no”?

    As to your last point I will agree that Ikon Canon customers “had” a rich history of excellent service when ikon was an authorized Canon dealer. But what value did your Canon customers loose when ikon lost their authorization? That is all these questions attempt to reveal.

    If you really feel that there is no difference between an Authorized dealer and a non-authorized dealer then would you recommend that your Ricoh customers get non authorized Ricoh service on their Ricoh equipment that you’ve sold them? Of course not!

    Lastly, I want to thank you for posting. It is refreshing to have an open discussion from people within the Ricoh \ Ikon organization and those of us outside of it.


  6. Canon as good as Ricoh?? Ask someone who owns a Canon 3100, 3170 5800,6800, 5180. Not very good box


    • techdan1,

      You NEVER see a 12 year old Ricoh still in the field. I see Canons that old and older all too often, we have to pry them out of the customer’s hands.
      Also look at the aftermarket value that the Canon’s retain. When a Canon comes off lease they do real well in the secondary markets. I can not say the same for the Ricohs.

      Honestly if Ricoh is just as good as Canon then why did ikon sell a significantly higher percentage of Canons then Ricohs for all these years? They had the Ricoh product line for over 10 years, but they couldn’t get their sales people to sell them. Actions speak louder than spin… I mean words.


  7. hey you bunch of talking suits…the loyal canon techs who work for Ikon are the ones with the screws put to them- Yes canon makes a better product- Yes canon is burning the bridge to a large percentage of it’s customer base and any technician that would work on them- Yes canon is the whining baby who is more than happy to cut off it’s nose to spite it’s face- one would think canon would try to retain/grab what they could of the Ikon/canon accounts instead of just back-stabbing those customers and ruining their own brand perception because they bought canon thru Ikon-
    so all suits involved can go fuck themselves because they are not on the frontline and wouldn’t know what a screwdriver was until it was shoved up their ass- good day to all on my way to next call….
    p.s. I need about 40 IR2270 fixing films if anyones got em


    • Dash,

      I don’t know about Steve, but I HAVE serviced Canon equipment (See About Me). If you are a loyal Canon tech then Ikon screwed you by selling out to Ricoh.

      It’s no secret that Canon hates Ricoh and Ricoh hates Canon right back. Do you really think that Canon is going to “help” Ricoh with their Ikon acquisition? ReallY? on What planet? Ricoh took a calculated risk by overpaying 30% for Ikon, and financing 1.2 Billion dollars of Ikon debt on top of that. Then the economy took a turn for the worst. What Canon would like to see more than anything else is for Ricoh to choke as they try to swallow up ikon. The jury is still out on that.

      Canon is making a concerted effort with the Independent Dealers as well as CBS to let the loyal Canon customers that they still have options if they want to stay with Canon. As far as ikon’s Canon techs, you are still in demand, and that should increase (at least for the good ones). The large independent Canon Dealers are growing as we take on many of the disenfranchised Ikon Canon customers. You are also seeing CBS (Canon Business Solutions) expand their operations. Hang in their Dash, and polish up that resume, unless you want to work on Ricohs from here on out, I wish you well!


  8. thanks for the well wishes- I’ve got 23 years at Ikon working on Canon and HP exclusive. my performance numbers put me in the top five in the nation for all of last year and this one- my Canon transcript is as long as your arm
    (and I refuse to work on Ricoh product- some people believe that Ikon will need Canon techs for the next five years it looks to me more like the next 5 months- (the quality canon techs are still employed some others are not)-Canon busted a move in Hawaii I wonder if and when they’ll set their sights on Los Angeles/Orange County CA. because that marketplace is saturated with canon gear- waitin for the other shoe to drop….dash


  9. There is a definate tug of war going on here, on which product is better, etc. I have a history of selling XEROX, during the analog to digital phase, Canon, Ricoh, Konica-Minolta & Kyocera. McHugh’s point that Canon is superior to Ricoh, may have been true back in the anaolg days. The 6050 was probably the best office copier ever sold .. period. Canon really lost their credibility when they entered the digital market. Using the 6050 as their initial engine was an interesting idea, but it didn’t work. Their CLC line-up WAS strong, but most of the competitors have left them behind the in dust. Sure the imagePress seems pretty strong, but again, they came to the dance a little late and a whole generation of end users have mostly made the switch to XEROX or Konica- Minolta.Ricoh’s strategy with their color enabled MFP’s is much stronger than Canon and XEROX, plus the easiest control panel in the industry, that is consistent with all Afiicio products. But the real kicker, is Canon’s tech support. They only get involved when all avenues have been exhausted, and even then, they seem reluctant to be engaged. IKON’s centralized intelligence center rivals Canon’s tech support, as IKON has more placements of Canon products than Canon themselves. But alas, every good thing must come to an end, and the Canon/IKON divorce is upon us and we must all live with the good and bad of it all. And finally McHugh, we understand your love of Canon and nobody will ever sway you away, but Ricoh builds a pretty good product too, and many people feel the same way. Good luck to you.


  10. Dave,

    Thanks for the reply. I do appreciate your perspective (coming from a Xerox background) but I am going to have to disagree with a couple of your points. I have personally supported, and been supported by Ricoh, Mita, Konica Minolta, and Canon. Hands down, no contest Canon has the best support in the industry. This is from someone who has personally experienced it. It is not even a close comparison.

    As far as Ricoh’s color, the quality is just not there yet. Even the Ricoh people seem apologetic about it when they sell it. For some unknown reason they will be the first to tell you that it is 4 bit color (even when their competition doesn’t bring it up) They also make sure you know that it is only business color. They have no real Fiery expertise. When I was there it seemed like company wide they disliked Fiery. How can you compete in the graphics or production arena with out a Fiery option and a Fiery expert (you know that you can’t).

    The Ricoh Color MFDs don’t support coated paper, which they tap dance around in the demos, trying not to give a straight yes or no answer on this. Do not even get me started on the problems with the Ricoh RPCS driver or their wonderful (not) color printer line.

    As for the Ricoh panel, you are correct that it is very uniform from one MFD to the other. Once you are trained on how to use it it does become easy to move from one Ricoh device to another. But it is the least intuitive control panel that I have seen. They cram the main screen full of every possible option but they use confusing icons that if you don’t know them you have no idea what they mean.

    When I first went to work for Ricoh I got to spend some time by myself in the demo room trying to figure out how to send an email. It stumped me, and I was a Systems Engineer! What chance does an average end user have. eCopy use to tell people in their demos that they would give them $10 if they could (without any previous instruction) figure out how to send a scan to email on a Ricoh MFD. They rarely paid off. I will say that Canon responded to the Ricoh spin that “it’s great to have every single function imaginable on one screen” by adding an “Express Copy” tab that is set up that way, but no one uses it.

    Canon on the other hand just won the BLI MFD line of the year. And the two main points that BLI made was reliability and ENd user ease of use. They have done a great job keeping the control panel and the Print driver uniform across the whole line of MFDs with the one exception of the very low end stuff.

    I will say that Ricoh is not a bad product, it just suffers by comparison when you have experienced the Canon. If this were not so why would Ikon have sold 65% Canon and 30% Ricoh when they had the opportunity to sell both lines. Their actions speak much louder than the current round of spin that I am currently hearing from RIKON.


    • To Vince:

      Do you recomend throwing the baby out with the bath water? IKON has given us top notch SLA for the past 12 years. They were a large corporation before the acquisition and only a larger entity now. Large company M&A’s are a frequent event in the marketplace and will continue to be. I would be more concerned that a small independent such as NECS would be more prone to be absorbed by a larger entity, given the right price offered by a larger company. This is still America, the land of opportunity and a country based on capital gain(and capital compromise) I just hope that you don’t hope the Teirnen family will hold on forever. They hire and they fire just like the rest of the world. They have kids, grand kids, college eds to pay for and pina coladas to sip in St. Marten and Cape Cod. Don’t kid yourself when you think for a moment that you are a part of that family fabric you call the NECS home. Once the annual NECS P&L starts to dwindle NECS will cook the books like Offtech did and sell off to the highest bidder. And who will blame them for it. Anyone with a family to support will understand this. You may get a goodbye handshake and a small parting gift via amex but, where will NECS support be then? Or, better yet…your own job. I welcome you and your staff to visit the following website in the interim: http://www.monster.com


      • Larry,

        No, I do not recommend that our customers throw out the baby (Canon) with the bath water (Ikon). I can not tell you how many customers that I have recently met with that love the Canon product, and they liked Ikon too, as long as they can sell them the Canon product, but Ikon can no longer sell them the Canon product so they are talking to us (NECS) and other LARGE Independent Canon Dealers.

        That is great that Ikon did give you great service on great equipment for the past 12 years. How much of that was Ikon’s service and how much was the Canon product line? We’ll see. If you, and your end user community like the Canon product stay with it. And find a new dealer. There are a number of large independent Canon Dealers.

        The Ikon guys really make me laugh out loud that they are still trying to peddle the same story that everyone except Ikon is a “small dealer”. Just for the record let me state the actual facts. NECS is the LARGEST CANON DEALER IN NEW ENGLAND. So if there are Ikon \ Canon Customers out there that still really like the Canon product and want to stay with it, we (NECS) offer them an alternative to (R)ikon. Since Rikon can only sell these customers Ricoh equipment, We \ NECS (and other Large Regional Canon Dealers) are the true alternative for these loyal Canon customers. What we are finding is that these customers are a lot more loyal to the Canon product line than they are to Ikon or Ricoh or Rikon (what do we call you guys now?)

        I have to take a minute to specifically address your statement “don’t hope the Teirnen family will hold on forever” because I have been hearing this same crap for 20 years. You know who did sell out Ikon, Danka, & Global. You know who is still here NECS. I know you would like to think that everything and everyone is FOR SALE (if the price is right). Well we (NECS) are growing at an unbelievable rate. We are hiring, we are growing! Life is good over here, can (R)ikon say the same as those guys make the painful transition from selling Canon, and Konica Minlta and Ricoh on a rare occasion to just selling Ricoh. How is that working out for them???

        NECS is the largest Canon Dealer in New England, and one of the Largest Konica Minolta Dealer in New England. Larry if your IKON rep is looking for work please forward me a resume and we will see if I can find a place for them. But only send me the resume if you think that they were very good at what they do. We are ONLY taking the very best of the former Ikon, Danka, and Global employees.

        Thanks for your comment,
        Vince McHugh


  11. My 2 cents are worth what they cost you. I have been selling and supporting Canon color machines since the CLC500 and IPU48am. Xerox did outpace us in the late ’90s, but have not released new technology for 8 years. Ricoh has never come close to equaling the machine and print quality of Canon. The ImagePress, when properly set up and maintained, is the highest quality digital press on the market. Period.

    As for IKON having more Canon machines under service that Canon, well it should have. Canon has and always will have a strong independent dealer community, and yes they are expanding Canon Business Solutions operations, how could they do otherwise? Let us remember how IKON got to have all those machines under their service: they bought up the big independent dealers who were willing to sell to them, then converted the service base to either Canon or Ricoh. Since Canon is less expensive to maintain, are better machines and the company gives better support, the majority of machines sold by IKON were Canon.

    If you are a Canon customer, trust what it, its subsidiaries and its fine independent dealers tell you, not what a competitor tells you.

    As for the statement earlier that Ikon can get the same OEM parts because Canon does not make them anyway, that is flat wrong. The reason for selling machines IS TO SELL THE PARTS AND CONSUMABLES. Duh. Canon manufactures its own parts and supplies.


    • Def not the highest quality. Ricoh’s new C900 will blow everyone out of the water in production color.


    • Read the language, Ikon will get part from Canon for the next three years. Afer that Ikon will go to Canon’s manufacturer. But I doubt that will happen. Canon is like the middle man in the supply chain they don’t want to continue losing business. Ikon stopped selling Sharps 10-12 years ago and they still service them.
      I would be more concerned about the future of Canon. It seems their camera division is getting more and more attention ( new state of the art manufacturing facilities ). Canon, company wide has taken pay cuts all around to help stave off the storm surge Ricoh caused by buying Ikon. Canon had their chance, Ricoh was aggressive and very supportive of Ikon. They needed the service infrastructure that Ikon possesses. This model will prove to be more cost efficient than dealing with dealerships.
      The days of dealerships are dwindling. Dealerships are the middle man. To remain competitive there will be a need to reduce overhead and get in line with a manufacturer. Once Ricoh/Ikon gets the transition streamlined look for costs to get even more competitive. It’s the model they used in Europe to achieve #1 and it was just a matter of time before they did it here in the US.


      • Tom,

        I have to ask you, is it hard to type while wearing “Rose Colored Glasses”? 🙂
        When it comes to business don’t buy the hype of your own marketing department.

        Canon is already charging Ikon more for genuine Canon parts then they did when Ikon was an authorized dealer. We keep hearing from Ikon\Canon Customers that THEY have noticed that the Ikon service HAS begun to suffer THEY also noticed Ikon is delivering non-OEM toner (The Boxes look different) for their Canon equipment.

        All I can say about Sharp, is Canon ain’t Sharp!

        I can’t believe that Ikon is still singing the same song “The days of the dealership are dwindling”. You guys have been writing our obituary for the last 15 years, and guess what we are still going strong. But you know who will shortly cease to exist… Ikon. Just like Danka and Global.

        There has never been a better time to be a Large Regional Independent Dealer. We have survived and thrived the Dankas, Ikons, and Globals, we will be just fine against the _BS Branches. But thanks for your concern.


  12. As a long time service rep with over 23 years of service on a varity of products including Canon ricoh Konica Sharp Kyocera etc.. It has been my expriance that yes Canon had (I stress HAD) the better mid market copiers threw the 80s 90s and early 2000s but. They have left the mid market wondering why they can not get a new copier with the same quaility workmanship they had grown accustom to. I firmly believe that Canon is the best choice if your looking for a digital press but how many people can afford equipment priced at 125k or better?

    That being said I would be willing to chalange anyone to test Canon gear vrs the same segment Ricoh gear and tell the truth to workmanship, reliability and ease of use! Go get the latest 35-45 page per minute machine from both manufactures and see who has the more reliable document feeder and paper feed systems. Try setting up jobs that require 2 sided and sorting and stapleing then tell me which is more reliable and eaiser to use.

    I will stick with Ricoh and their offerings as Ricoh has addressed the need of mid market users who want a quality devise that is easy to use.

    Again pick any Canon model made for office use and any Ricoh of the same size and it will surpise you how bad the Canon gear has become.


  13. I’ve followed this discussion with great interest, as a customer who leases Canon C1 thru Ikon. I feel they have broken the contract since I can’t upgrade to C1+, a huge improvement for my uses, and I can’t get true up-to-date service (the only truly good service I ever got from Ikon was thru former Canon techs or when problems were escalated to Ikon).
    I’m looking for cases where Ikon customers have gotten out of leases for these reasons. Any clues?
    Thank you.


  14. In the above, I meant to say the only good service was when problems were escalated to Canon, not Ikon.


    • Hey Melissa,

      Thanks for sharing your first hand experience. Your insight adds a lot to the discussion. From what I can tell you are probably close to LDI which is a first rate large regional Canon dealer. They specialize in color support with their “Color Toolbox” offerings. Here is their web link

      http://www.ldicolortoolbox.com/about.php

      check them out, I am sure they will be happy to talk to you.

      Good Luck!
      Vince


  15. […] sent them the eight questions to ask Ikon regarding Canon service. and they asked their Ikon Sales Rep these questions. We were told that the Ikon Sales person siad […]


  16. […] seems like the Questions to ask IKON about their Canon Service posted on this blog finally got to the truth. In response to these question IKON sent out a letter […]



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