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Is Ikon purposely letting their Canon MFDs run poorly?

April 2, 2010

Maybe I am cynical (I know that you find that hard to believe), but I have heard and seen a number of Canon MFDs that are serviced by Ikon not running well. My question is are they doing this purposely for strategic reasons, or is it simply an economical decision by Ikon to put in less parts since they are more expensive for Ikon buy (since they lost their Canon Authorized status)?

Why you might ask would Ikon purposely do a poor job on servicing a Canon MFD. As you know Ikon can no longer sell Canon MFDs since they were purchased by Ricoh. But they still have a lot of customers that have and love their Canon products. In fact a number of customers have said to me that they are not sure now if they loved Ikon or loved the Canon products that Ikon carried.

When it comes to the last year or so of an Ikon \ Canon lease customers (and Sales people) begin to want to demo new equipment. Usually the incumbent dealer \ product has an edge IF the servicing dealer has done a good job, and IF the current product has done well. In my 20+ years of experience it is rare that a Canon MFD runs poorly over a 5 year (or less) lease. I know there are lemons in every product line but Canon MFDs that are well serviced have been historically VERY RELIABLE. That is one of the points that BLI made when they awarded Canon MFD line of the year.

So how does it help Ikon (as an incumbent) to let the Canon MFD that they sold to the customer run poorly? Well it is a gamble but what if the Canon runs great? Will that help or hurt Ikon when it comes time to upgrade the equipment? It could very well hurt Ikon because IF THE CUSTOMER REALLY LIKES THEIR CANON, Ikon is screwed because they can not sell them new Canon MFDs. But if the Canon MFDs begin to run poorly for the last year or more of the lease, the Ikon Sales rep can at least make the case that Canon and not Ikon is at fault. If the Sales rep is on friendly terms with the customer, and if they have done a good job servicing the equipment in the past the customer may give them the benefit of the doubt.

This came home to me when I went to visit a current Ikon \ Canon account and the Customer said that they had always liked their Canon equipment, up until the last year it always ran great. But they had one Canon 50ppm MFD that Ikon told them that they could not fix BUT offered to give this customer a loaner Ricoh (at no cost) to get them to the end of their lease. When I heard this from the customer (I heard the guys from the Guinness commercial say “BRILLIANT!!!”).  What a smart, albeit devious way to get the customer to do a long term demo of the Ricoh product. And of course the tech will make sure that the Ricoh runs great and the Canon does not. So when the lease is finally up the Ikon sales rep can make the case that the Ricoh is just as good as the Canon. Hmmmmm? Am I being too cynical, you decide.

It could just as easily be that the Ikon techs are not putting in as many parts, or not updating the firmware as needed. That could explain it too. But knowing Ikon as I do I would not put it past them to actually be setting up this scenario. If a customer wants to test whether or not their Ikon Sales \ Service reps are “pulling a fast one” when they say they can’t fix this particular Canon, call in an Authorized Canon Dealer and give them a crack at fixing this Ikon problem MFD. Then you’ll know whether you love Ikon or actually love Canon.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ

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7 comments

  1. The answer to your headline is a resounding “YES!”


  2. Mr. Anonymous,

    Sounds like you have some personal experience with this. Please give us some details!


  3. Bear with me here a second while I examine the logic of the situation. I have a car. I always took it to the same garage for service for 4 years. Always a great experience, never felt screwed. Then one day the guys behind the counter changed. Now they seem to always be gold digging when I come in. The repairs often do not actually fix the problem, and when I shop around they are now out of line on the price. Is it my car that’s the problem? Personally I just took my business down the street to another mechanic.

    Back on point – is it the Canon machine that’s the problem? Is it the game Canon plays cutting off a dealer and screwing the customer by making it harder for that dealer to service the box? Or is it the new shop owner who is more concerned with screwing me for a buck than taking care of me? I don’t care. I’m not doing business with any of them the next time.


    • Vince –

      You once asked if customers loved IKON, or the Canon machines that IKON sold to them.

      Now that IKON has taken over Ricoh and will make every attempt to upgrade each Canon machine (and they know where the bodies are buried) to a Ricoh MFP, they will stop at nothing to make this a reality.

      Meaning, let the Canon fleet under-perform, then offer a great deal on a Ricoh. Some End-Users will fall for that trick and stick with IKON (for a little while, until ADMIN and Customer Support fails them).

      The others will flock to Canon Dealers for Canon Equipment, or RFG Independent Dealers, or take chances on other product lines such as Konica Minolta.

      Watch and see.


  4. Vince, I love your enthusiasm for Canon, but with all your IKON/RICOH bashing, you are giving the industry a bad name. I work for IKON and must say that my customers prefer RICOH to CANON.

    When I offered the choice to the customer, I would often trial both brands side by side and let the customer decide. Ricoh won 9 times out of 10, largely because of the ease of use.

    Many users prefer a panoramic view on a control panel to a nested menu.

    Further, customers found the send feature of the imageRunners confusing, VS the clearly marked fax button and scan button on the Ricoh’s.

    But having said that, even before the acquisition, we found that Canon’s quality was not quite what it use to be.

    I would also like to point out to you that IKON did not lose their Authorized Canon status, Canon chose to cut ties, as they did with Global etc. In my opinion, Canon’s decision to pull the authorized status from IKON, even though IKON managed most of the national accounts, really reflects poorly on Canon.

    Also, in the past, I had several issues with Canon’s production equipment and their specialists from Canon Corp., would be reluctant to offer much assistance. It was really deflating,as I came from the manufacturer world, XEROX, where they would make every attempt to resolve the customers issue.

    Our techs respond to the customers issues, regardless of the brand, and fix the issue so the customer will be up and running, We don’t want unhappy customers, especially the ones that have Canon units. We want the customer to be happy with the IKON solution.

    Please, stop the bashing, Canon is a good product, so is Ricoh and Xerox and Konica-Minolta and so on an so on. They all do the same thing, a little differently in some cases, but generally speaking, perform much of the same tasks.

    Finally, Canon products are far from perfect, and if you offered a balanced view and pointed out your weaknesses as well, you might be taken more seriously.


    • Conchy,

      I find it odd that when Ikon could sell BOTH Canon & Ricoh they sold significantly more Canon than Ricoh, that is an undeniable fact. Now that Ikon can only sell Ricoh it has suddenly become the best MFD ever made. People aren’t stupid they notice the hypocrisy.

      My comments come from first hand experience. I supported the Ricoh product line as a Solutions Engineer for ~ 2 1/2 years. As far as the independent Fax button, you are right, it is better to have it as an independent button rather than have it as a part of the Send function. I guess that is why Canon made it possible to set up the fax as its own button with the Image Runner Advance.

      While I agree that all of the Manufacturers offer about the same functionality, there is a still a difference from one to another. For one, the reliability of Canon makes it stand out from the others. I often see Canon MFDs that are 12 years old or more and still in the field running. I have never seen a 12 years old Rioch.


  5. THE PHOTOGRAPH MAKES ME FEEL SAD AND SLIGHTLY DEPRESSED…

    DECEIT IS THE THIRD AND MOST DESTRUCTIVE ELEMENT IN THE MONEY+JOB DISSATISFACTION EQUATION.

    CANON imageRUNNER ADVANCE C series (TO ME AS AN ENTHUSIAST) ARE A VERY ATTRACTIVE PRODUCT LINE…

    WHY THE CARNAGE?!?!



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