Xerox customers get executive-level support

Xerox Canada Corp. customers having problems with their machines can call Doug Lord, Xerox Canada’s president, to directly to share their greivances.

Lord told IT World Canada he will speak with anyone who calls in, ranging from a small customer with a five-year-old discontinued device to the largest of corporate customers. He can be reached at (416)733-6501.

This executive accessibility is part of Xerox Corp. CEO Anne Mulcahy’s strategy to make customers the number one focus of the company. In fact, Mulcahy said that each of her 20 executives rotate daily to respond directly to customer complaints, which amounts to almost two days per month per exec.

Additionally, each executive has a number of clients with whom they deal directly all the time. Lord said he regularly checks up on about five clients.

“We get more hands-on attention from Xerox than from any other IT providers,” said Kim Roseborough, president and CEO of SourceLink Inc., a customized communications firm in Toronto. She said they are regularly serviced by two different Xerox account managers, plus training and customization services.

One industry analyst at IDC Canada Ltd. in Toronto, Frank Albanese, said this strategy has served Xerox well in the past four years because back in 2001 Xerox was quickly going to the dogs. That’s when Mulcahy took over. She refocused the company on its customers by providing better service and lowering prices — an essential move since Xerox had been widely criticized for its lack of support and high costs.

“A lot of the time customer service is pushed to the side to shield senior executives but Xerox wants its executives to be in the customers’ lines of fire,” Albanese said.

Mulcahy said top executives have to be involved in finding out what customers need. The three steps she and her staff take when dealing with clients are listening, fixing their problem and assuming responsibility.

However, Mulcahy does not yet see Xerox as a great company, only a good company. She said studies have shown that companies need to be rated as great by their clients to retain them. While 75 per cent of dissatisfied customers will go elsewhere as well, 40 per cent of satisfied customers will go elsewhere, she said.

“The enemy of great is good. If you’re just rated as good then that’s a warning sign,” she explained.

Before Xerox is great she said the company must deliver sustainable growth. The company has been growing steadily in the past five quarters and has wriggled its way out of debt but she said there is still room for better results.

In Canada’s printer and multifunction device market, Xerox ranks in the top two or three, depending upon the segment, IDC’s Albanese said. Its biggest competitors are Canon Canada Inc. and Ricoh Canada Inc.

Hewlett-Packard Co. has recently made a greater commitment to printers but Mulcahy said Xerox has partnered with Dell Corp. to compete with HP. Dell has other printing partners, including Lexmark International Inc. Additionally, Kodak is a new player in the market but Mulcahy isn’t concerned because she said Kodak still has a lot to prove.

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