A Kodak Moment, should’ve gone for LexMark


[tweetmeme source=”GaryFranklin”]
In October 2010 I decided to purchase a new multifunction printer, (I needed Wi-Fi) and being mindful of the increasing costs of printer cartridges was quite impressed by the claims of the Kodak ESP 9250 and duly purchased it. The claims they make are quite true, the ink cartridges are far cheaper than other branded makes. What they didn’t tell you is their product isn’t that good in the first place and their Customer Services don’t like dealing with customers.

After only a few weeks I started to run into problems with it. The tray used to print photographs kept jamming as it calibrated itself to the point where it became unusable. FAIL #1

Rather than take a hammer to it out of frustration we took it back to the retailer in December 2010 and asked for an exchange. This, Staples obliged with without much fuss.

On getting the new Kodak ESP 9250 home we had to go through the laborious set up routines and software loads again – why is that the same drivers were already installed on the two laptops from the previous printer? FAIL #2
So we had it set up. All connected to the house Wi-Fi network and both Laptops able to see it. As soon as we went to print, the same problem occurred; the not-needed photo paper tray jammed first time out of the box. FAIL #3

Once we finally got it to work it was fine until we didn’t need to use it for about 15 min, then it just lost Wi-Fi sync and we had to reboot the pcs. I know full well this is not a problem with the Laptops because they are able to connect to other Wi-Fi networked peripherals. FAIL #4

There is clearly a design fault with the printer (well IMHO at least) in respect to the photo-tray jamming all the time and no clear information available to rectify the Wi-Fi issue. Now whilst Staples were very good first time around I thought I’d see if I could find any information online on the Kodak website, but no, nothing helpful. I did send a message to their Customer Services team via a form on the website, but no response. FAIL #5

So being a big user of Twitter I thought I’d use a more direct approach and complained about the issues in a couple of 140 character tweets. I’d given them enough chance to respond hadn’t I? I won’t say that Kodak don’t have anyone listening to online buzz because they seemed to have someone doing it, but whilst Susan under the Twitter profile @KodakPrinters contacted me and asked for my email address, she failed to follow up or respond in anyway once I had sent my email address to her. I tweeted my frustration in the open and directly to her, again no response. FAIL #6

Now you may wonder if I was being rude or abusive and deserved to be ignored. But No I was not. I wasn’t happy and clearly stated how I felt about the level of customer services but I wasn’t and will not be abusive.

So I returned to the Customer Services pages on the Kodak website and sent yet another email to them, this time outlining my frustration not only with their printers, but also with being ignored by what they claim to be Customer Services. Hallelujah!! Finally a response from Ricky in Customer Services in Rochester, NY. Ricky asked me what the problem was then asked me to provide a list of information to him so that he could direct the complaint and problem in the right direction; all the time apologising for the inconvenience. In a further response from him I got a friendly and encouraging email telling me that he had personally passed the complaint and my information onto the UK team, which would be able to help me.

That was on 1st March 2011. Disappointingly I have still to hear from them. FAIL #7

It is clearly obvious to me that the Kodak Eastman company don’t really care about me as a customer, that their Customer Services people need to be retrained, starting with the use of email and phones. Kodak you should be ashamed. A brand once respected is failing to do the simple things.

I am stuck with the Kodak ESP 9250 printer for now. It’ll teach me to go for the cheap option; sadly it was not worth the money I paid for it, which wasn’t that much.

I doubt by venting in this blog will get a positive reaction but it helped get the frustration off my chest and if it saves others from making the same mistake, then great.

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  1. Gary Franklin’s woe

    Stems from Kodak’s no

    Not a “no we will not help you”

    Just a no

    And well might Franklin wail

    When Kodak get the seventh fail

    Will they listen? No one knows

    Can they fix it? Just suppose…

    • I am so looking forward to having that put to tune 🙂

  2. lol! Well it might not get you the response you hope for, but Doug’s comment sure made me smile 🙂

    On a serious note though, you are right to write about your experiences. Brands need to pay a lot more attention now that there are more & more people with blogs & substantial followings on Twitter. Word of Mouth might stop 10 people from buying a product, but with social media it just might stop 100 people, or more…

    Think about it Kodak, failing to invest in customer service might be good for the shareholders short term by reducing costs, but is it going to be a good policy for your customers? Customers will not buy from a brand that’s #failed to deliver on the basic promises- that a product *do* what it’s designed for…

    • thanks Claire – I am so surprised that with the open forms of communication and the new version of “word-of-mouth” that companies dont pay more attention. 10 years ago if i had an issue I might moan to half a dozen people, now when I have a moan over 1000 twitter follwers as well as the blog readers get to know about it.

      I doubt that Kodak will have the imagination to hire people who care enough manage the changes needed effectively.

      Open to offers 🙂

  3. Ironically I have a Kodak printer which also has regular paper jams! It’s a 5 series I think and it jams with only normal paper in the tray, not photo paper

    I bought it for the same reason as you. I was fed up with paying a fortune for ink cartridges! It’ll be interesting to see if anything does get done by Kodak?!

    • did you ever complain about it V?

    • Jonathan Wilson
    • March 7th, 2011

    It struck me again when reading this sad story that organisations do not really exist in the sense of “caring of about me as a customer”. Only people exist. It is the people in Kodak UK who are not demonstrating any caring for you, their customer. And I am fairly sure that, personally, each would resent the suggestion that they do not care. Each will say that they do care, but the ‘system’ does not help them. We end up that everyone is unhappy and no-one feels that they can change anything. Like the idea of the organisation itself, this is a myth that is self-fulfilling. The beginning of transformation is to see through the myth and allow enlightened reality to shine through.

    I guess the people individually do care about you as a customer but their managers (probably inadvertently) are making them care more about them and following the ‘system’s’ rules than allowing their innate care and concern to flourish.

    Looking on Linked-in, I found a Nigel Penhearow MBA DPIM, Sales Director – Consumer & Commercial Indirect Business UK,Eire,Nordics & Baltics at Kodak. What a title, but it looks as though you are in his area of interest and Kodak UK’s perceived service is constraining his ability to sell. He looks like a thoughtful chap with manifest social orientation who is influential in Kodak UK and more able to get things implemented than the excellent chap in the USA.

    If you get in touch with NIgeland tell him your tale, I’d be very confident he will try to fix your problem and probably look at how Kodak can prevent similar problems in future. If can be bothered to tell your tale one more time, I’ll be very interested to learn what happens!

    Good luck,

    Jonathan Wilson
    Humap UK (no connecttion with Kodak)

    • thanks for taking the time to comment Jonathan.

    • Susan
    • March 9th, 2011

    Hi Gary,

    I apologize that I have not gotten back to you, but unfortunately I never received a Twitter DM from you with your email. Since you mentioned Rick, that would have been the person I would have directed you to, and I have forwarded this post to him to let him know that no one in the UK has contacted you.

    I do now have your email (from your Contact Me) from this blog site, and will let you know when Ricky replies back to me.

    Again, I apologize how long this has taken to resolve your dissatisfaction with Kodak.

    Susan

    • just a couple of litle hints to get you going

      phones are for speaking to people, been around a while never really have to look far to find one.

      email is relatively new – 10 15 years old most can be performed from a PC or Mac or from a smart phone.

      not too hard if you really want to.

      I am not invisible

      The fact that I have to write this is FAIL #8 from you.

      I wonder if Susan Tousi would care to hear this tale?

  4. Hey Gary – took me a little while but here’s a little song about your printer:

    http://stopdoingdumbthingstocustomers.com/poor-customer-service/garys-kodak-printer/

    Maybe send the link to Kodak?

    Cheers – Doug

    • Martin
    • April 11th, 2011

    We’re in a similar position, now waiting for a replacement after a very helpful young lady at Kodak ran through a long diagnostic routine with me via their chat service.

    She ended up deciding that we should receive a new replacement direct rather than having to go through the dealer – but it has not arrived yet. I managed to get through to Kodak customer support who went off and checked, coming back to confirm to me that they currently do not have any working stock to ship me. This is consistent with the information I got from a sales assistent at the dealer who told me that this had been a disasterously unreliable printer and Kodak were replacing them pretty much without question.

    Hopefully, they will have fixed the design faults before they ship any more!

  5. This bears no relation to the Kodak aspect – but you mentioned Lexmark, it brought this to mind, and I feel you may appreciate it!

    • Martin Bradford
    • May 23rd, 2011

    In fairness to Kodak, the replacement has been working fairly well now for several weeks. Not great, but good enough… It still has a tendancy to nick the edge of the sheet as it feeds, but no misfeeds provided we don’t set the paper guides too tight.

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