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How’s your back room???

June 24, 2009

I met with another large account (several hundred MFDs) that currently has Ikon as their Canon dealer. They are concerned about the future level of support that ikon will or will not be able to provide after October 2009 when (according to the Canon letter) their support from Canon will end. And rightfully so. They have already seen a drop off in the service that Ikon is providing on their Canons, so they are talking to Authorized Canon Dealers.

But that is not what this post is about. What came up again at this meeting was how bad Ikon’s back room has been. Billing issue after billing issue. It would be one thing if this was an isolated case but it seems to be “par for the coarse” for Ikon. I have heard the same horror stories from account after account. I have also heard, from first hand accounts, that Danka has the same problems as Ikon, if not worse.

How do Ikon reps handle this? You can only apologize for your incompitent back room so many times before your customer just doesn’t care that you are sorry. What this customer said is what a lot of customers feel; “I don’t care if there is a problem, we all have problems. But what really ticks me off is when I have the same problem month after month after month. And your company can’t or won’t fix it.” They actually told us that they had been billed for a fleet of MFDs at a location that had not had that equipment for over a year. And it took Ikon 9 months to give them their money back.

The great thing about working at a large regional dealer is we have a great back room. Billing issues are few and far between, and they get resolved in days not months. One of my major account reps said that a terrible back room was the reason that they left Danka. It made it too hard to call on customers that were mad at your company for constantly screwing up their billing and then not resolving it even when the sales rep would get involved. The sales reps at Ikon & Danka have “no juice”. They are simply a small cog in a big machine. They can’t get it done, they can’t get these back room problems resolved and their custopmers know it. It is not because they are bad people or even bad sales reps (they aren’t either). they are just in a system that is broken, and people who try to fix it get beaten down until they just don’t care anymore. Unfortunately it is the only way to survive in that type of environment.

But if you are a customer of Ikon or Danka and you think that ALL Office Technology Companies do this, then you are in for a pleasant surprise. Your large regional dealers do it better. Their Sales Reps do have the “Juice” to get your issues resolved. Give ’em a call and see how much easier your life can be when you have an Office Technolgy Dealer with a compitent and responsive back room. If you are an Ikon or Danka sales rep who has never had a competent or responsive back room you too should call your regional  dealer, resume in hand. See just how easy it is to sell to a customer who isn’t pissed off at your back room.

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@yahoo.com

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9 comments

  1. The Independent Dealer is much more flexible, nimble, and customer-focused than IKON. These types of billing issues rarely occur and if they do they are indeed resolved in quick fashion. Moreover, the Independent Dealer does not have 10 layers of bueacracy to go through, in order to get even the small things done. This is why you see IKON resort to LOW BALL pricing and Ricoh lose BIG PROFITS.


    • Mr Anonymous,

      You are so right about the Indepenents NOT having the bueacracy like Ikon or even the _BS dealers. The sales people can actually talk to the Service Department, or the Back room directly without getting in trouble.

      Vince


  2. Hugh, do you have any documentation that states the Canon support of IKON up until October of 2009?


    • Larry,

      Yes, I do have the Canon letter that you can read for yourself at

      http://www.necs.biz/files/CanonIKONLetter.pdf

      I also have the testimony of both former Ikon techs and current Ikon customers that have both stated that the Ikon tech’s can no longer call Canon for tech support.

      I hope that this clarifies things.

      By the way, it is Vince McHugh, not Hugh McVince 🙂


  3. Hugh, I do not see on the letter (I already had this letter) that states at what point IKON will be no longer getting any support from Canon to service. If indeed it doesn terminate iin October 2009 where does it state so?


  4. It is elementary my dear Larry ( My apologies to Sherlock Holmes).

    The letter is dated “October 31st 2008”, the letter states that “Canon USA … will provide CERTAIN technical support to ikon… for at least one year.” That year is up at the end of October.

    On top of that the letter states that Ikon is no longer an Authorized Canon Dealer or an Authorized Service provider. We (who are Authorized Canon Service Providers know what support we can get from Canon) see the link below on this Blog

    https://theconnectedcopier.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/questions-to-ask-ricoh-ikon-regarding-their-ability-to-service-your-canon-mfd/

    We now get regular reports from both ex-ikon service techs and even current ikon customers who tell us that ikon techs can NOT call Canon for tech support, or log on to the Canon eSupport site.

    Since the initial Canon letter stated that Ikon would receive only “certain” support, not all the support that they use to receive when they were an authorized Canon dealer, and that Canon was only commited to provide this limited support for one year, that at the end of the one year even that support would either go away or be further limited.

    I assume that you know that their is no love lost between Canon & Ricoh. And Canon proved that they will do what ever it takes to not support Ricoh being successful in their purchase of Ikon. They proved it when they de-authorized them to sell Canon as soon as Ricoh bought Ikon, even though this action also hurt Canon. Why would they then do anything to help Ricoh \ ikon beyond what the bare minimum requires them to do so.

    Of course if you, or Ikon want to provide written proof to the contrary I would be glad to post it here. (Is that crickets I hear). The silence from Ikon is deafening.

    Vince


  5. It is all smoke and mirrors to tell you the truth Larry. Canon set up a seperate channel for IKON support that allows a base of information to allow IKON to support its customers. At first it was thought that after the inital year they would cut us off completely but they then realized IKON was better at servicing their machines that were sold through the direct channel instead of the independent dealers in the area and decided to play nice with IKON to make sure their customer (sold directly) were serviced correctly. Parts will also be available for the term of the contract on any Canon IKON equipment. Hope this helps.

    November 4, 2008
    Dear Valued IKON Customer,
    I am pleased and excited to let you know that Ricoh has completed its acquisition of IKON. Ricoh
    has been one of our valued equipment partners for many years. By joining forces with Ricoh, we’re
    creating a stronger global office solutions competitor able to offer you an enhanced range of end-toend
    solutions.
    I want to update you on the terms of our relationship with Canon following the acquisition. Canon
    U.S.A., Inc. (“Canon USA”) and IKON have entered into an agreement regarding the terms of their
    relationship following the acquisition of IKON by Ricoh Co. Ltd. Effective upon the closing of such
    acquisition on October 31, 2008 (the “Effective Date”), the retail dealer agreements between Canon
    USA and IKON will terminate, and IKON will no longer be an authorized retail dealer of or
    authorized service provider for Canon-brand business equipment. Subsequent to the Effective Date,
    IKON will no longer be able to place new orders for Canon-brand business equipment with Canon
    USA. However, after the Effective Date, IKON shall not be precluded from and may continue to sell
    its inventory of Canon-brand business equipment, parts and supplies and shall not be precluded from
    and may provide maintenance and repair services for Canon-brand business equipment. In addition,
    Canon USA will continue to sell spare parts and supplies to IKON for three years following the
    Effective Date, and will provide certain technical support to IKON for Canon-brand business
    equipment for at least one year following the Effective Date.
    I want to assure you that, regardless of the type of equipment you currently use, we are committed to
    maintaining the same high levels of service to which you have become accustomed. IKON has many
    options for procuring and supplying parts and supplies for your Canon equipment to allow for
    continued support beyond the three year commitment from Canon on parts and supplies. Of course,
    our technicians are fully trained and factory-certified in accordance with the manufacturers’
    requirements and are fully committed to ensuring that all equipment covered by an IKON service or
    maintenance agreement performs to manufacturer’s specifications.
    If you have any questions, I ask that you contact your sales professional who will help answer them
    for you. I want to thank you for your continued commitment to IKON and look forward to building
    on our relationship in the future.
    Sincerely,
    Jeff Hinkling


  6. It is all smoke and mirrors to tell you the truth Larry. Canon set up a seperate channel for IKON support that allows a base of information to allow IKON to support its customers. At first it was thought that after the inital year they would cut us off completely but they then realized IKON was better at servicing their machines that were sold through the direct channel instead of the independent dealers in the area and decided to play nice with IKON to make sure their customer (sold directly) were serviced correctly. Parts will also be available for the term of the contract on any Canon IKON equipment. Hope this helps.

    November 4, 2008
    Dear Valued IKON Customer,
    I am pleased and excited to let you know that Ricoh has completed its acquisition of IKON. Ricoh
    has been one of our valued equipment partners for many years. By joining forces with Ricoh, we’re
    creating a stronger global office solutions competitor able to offer you an enhanced range of end-toend
    solutions.
    I want to update you on the terms of our relationship with Canon following the acquisition. Canon
    U.S.A., Inc. (“Canon USA”) and IKON have entered into an agreement regarding the terms of their
    relationship following the acquisition of IKON by Ricoh Co. Ltd. Effective upon the closing of such
    acquisition on October 31, 2008 (the “Effective Date”), the retail dealer agreements between Canon
    USA and IKON will terminate, and IKON will no longer be an authorized retail dealer of or
    authorized service provider for Canon-brand business equipment. Subsequent to the Effective Date,
    IKON will no longer be able to place new orders for Canon-brand business equipment with Canon
    USA. However, after the Effective Date, IKON shall not be precluded from and may continue to sell
    its inventory of Canon-brand business equipment, parts and supplies and shall not be precluded from
    and may provide maintenance and repair services for Canon-brand business equipment. In addition,
    Canon USA will continue to sell spare parts and supplies to IKON for three years following the
    Effective Date, and will provide certain technical support to IKON for Canon-brand business
    equipment for at least one year following the Effective Date.
    I want to assure you that, regardless of the type of equipment you currently use, we are committed to
    maintaining the same high levels of service to which you have become accustomed. IKON has many
    options for procuring and supplying parts and supplies for your Canon equipment to allow for
    continued support beyond the three year commitment from Canon on parts and supplies. Of course,
    our technicians are fully trained and factory-certified in accordance with the manufacturers’
    requirements and are fully committed to ensuring that all equipment covered by an IKON service or
    maintenance agreement performs to manufacturer’s specifications.
    If you have any questions, I ask that you contact your sales professional who will help answer them
    for you. I want to thank you for your continued commitment to IKON and look forward to building
    on our relationship in the future.
    Sincerely,
    Jeff Hinkling

    Needless to say IKON will still supply parts beyond three years. We would not cut our customers off just to not buy parts from Canon. It just would not make sense.


  7. Sorry for the double post. PLease delete the top one and this message because of the length.



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