There, now, that didn’t hurt, did it?

Dell obviously now has a troop of service people reaching out to find customers’ problems on blogs. They pleasantly surprised B.L. Ochman (even if she wasn’t similarly welcomed at the Dell blog).

They even wrote to me — yes, grouchy old me. I got an email last week, while on vacation, noting that in an 11-month-old post I’d complained that my remaining working Dell, my son’s was overheating. I was on vacation when I got the email and not online much, so I figured I’d respond when I got home. The rep, John Blain, then left a comment on the blog pointing my attention to his email. I responded via email yesterday, saying that I very much appreciated his offer. But in the 11 months since that post, we’d given up on the Dell and my son switched to a Mac. Blain won’t give up. With a dogged diligence that would make Columbo proudn, he emailed back insisting he wanted to dig into the case: “If you or any member of your family was indeed treated unfairly, it needs to at least be looked at, and if possible, corrected.”

Bravo, Mr. Blain! And good for you, Dell.

Sometime ago, I suggested that this strategy will pay off in a few ways:

First, you will spend money on customer-service time with these customers anyway; why not reach out to them directly? I’ll bet this will end up being more efficient.

Second, you will get good PR on the web. See B.L.’s post above and this one right here.

Third, you’ll keep customers you might otherwise lose — if you get to them before it’s too late. I’m a lost cause. But others aren’t.

I know there were lots of fears about doing this: How can we handle all these problems? (Well, you’d better find a way to do it anyway?) What will people say about us? (They’ll say much nicer things if you try to help them than if you ignore them.) What if they’re just asses who can’t be pleased? (Well, you’re getting nice words out of even me now, aren’t you?)

Soon after I posted my first complaint about my Dell and my utter failure at getting service through regular channels, I said this was a test to see whether Dell was listening, whether they would respond to customers on blogs. They weren’t.

But now they are listening. This outreach to your customers — not bloggers, customers — is far more important in my view than starting your own blog. This will yield the real dividends: happier customers, better reputation, stronger brand, more learning.

So thanks for your offer, Mr. Blain. It may be too late for me. But it’s never too late to listen to your customers. You can’t solve every problem Dell has. But you can solve some. Give yourself and your boss a pat on the back.

By the way, when I went searching in my messy email for Mr. Blain’s email, I found another, similar email from Dell a big earlier. I didn’t even see it, frankly, because I get so many emails about Dell I can’t read them all. But I want to note that they started this outreach before they started the blog. And that’s good.

  • http://www.sharkspage.com PJ

    The recent news that Dell is going to move away from promoting stripped down offerings was welcome. It should have happened a long time ago. The bottom line is that I have had experience with 4 different models of the latest Dell desktops, and I would not recommend any of the four to someone else for purchasing.

    The configuration of the two lowest tier models do not even offer a modern PCI express slot [x15], which should be standard. I have tried 4 of the newest Dell desktops, all idle above the hard drive manufacturers operating temperature range, all are loaded down with so much software running concurrently that it not only effects performance but it significantly degrades stability. And all come with a 30-40 gb of space taken up on the hard drive for Dell’s antiquated system restore. You have to pay more for an operating system cd, a Dell system restore cd, and a printed manual is not an option unless you print it out yourself.

    A family member, and a girlfriend recently purchased Dell laptops. Both have not had any serious problems as of yet, which seems to be the consensus with a few co-workers who own a Dell. The exploding Dell laptop battery stories notwithstanding, the mobile products seem to be a cut above what they are offering on the desktop side.

    Either way, it is back to HP for me.

  • http://franzstehrn.blogspot.com franzstehrn

    no that’s a bit unfair on your side, not? I mean first you give them s**t about their new blog and that they better listen to their customers and now you have to admit that they actually tried to get in touch with their customers before starting the blog. in the meantime you have generated bad word of mouth just because you ignored an important email that actually did what you criticized them for not doing.
    It would clearly have been your responsibilty! (“I’m getting too many emails” doesn’t count.)

  • William

    So much for Dell being forthcoming with their problems:

    http://www.crn.com/sections/breakingnews/dailyarchives.jhtml?articleId=190600070

    Seems as though the CPSC is in cahoots with them (Dell).

  • ballyache

    I had a problem with Dell not too long before yours. I sent them a letter telling them where their lack of adequate customer support would take them. One of my faults is that I’m an I told you so person and I can’t help gloating over this.

    Is there really any such thing as Management (with a capital M)? Isn’t it mostly just common sense, paying attention, and treating people the way you expect to be treated?

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  • Bob Shurley

    Just had the worst experience ever with so called “dell customer care”, What a joke. Ordered a lap top from a local dell store front. It was never delivered, when Dell kept insisting it was out for delivery. After three days waiting in my home so I wouldn’t miss the delivery, they finally said, “your order is lost”. When I talked to Dell, they were very polite, but the only solution they would offer was to build me another laptop, for which I could wait another 10 days or so, and pay the same price. Otherwise they would issue me a credit, which would take 7 to 10 days to post in my checking account. Paid initially with a debit card and they got their money the next day, but it would take Dell 7 to 10 days to post the money back in my account. If this is their idea of customer care, I hope all of the customer care folks car breaks down and they get the same level of service. By the way I would recommend that no one buy another Dell product until they figure out who is profit and who is overhead.

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  • Robert Rolsheim

    I just hung up with Dell Service…again. In November 2006, I bought two memory modules from Dell for my Dell desktop, using their upgrade system-specific help system. Although their computer selector claimed it was the compatible match for my system, the modules did not fit. I phoned Dell Support, and after going through three support reps, they agreed to exchange the modules, and they sent me modules that fit. They have since corrected their memory selector program.
    A few weeks ago, one of the modules went bad. Dell has a lifetime replacement warranty on their website for memory modules. I online-chatted with a Dell Rep who told me they could not replace it because it was over their 21-day limit, even after I pointed out their lifetime warranty.
    I then phoned a Dell rep, who claimed they would not replace it because it was a third party brand module. The module was a Samsung brand. They only warrantied Dell brands. I pointed out that I ordered it through Dell, I expected Dell, I was billed by Dell, and the part was received from Dell. (Apparently I bought & paid for Dell, and they sent me third party)
    The rep transferred me to a supervisor, who told me they would honor the warranty, send me a replacement module, and it would take 5-7 days.
    Nine days later, today, I went to the Dell site to see what happened to the order. Finding no record of any shipment, I phoned another rep. After a while on hold, I was told the order had been placed on “Hold” because they could not figure out whether to ship me one or two modules. I told him it was just “one”, and he told me it would take another 5-7 days.
    We’ll see…..

  • Arnie Diamond

    Dell is the WORST tech company I ever dealt with and I was their most loyal customer. I recommednded Dell to everyone. One day my Inspiron laptop showed a blotch in the lower righthand corner. I called in since my warranty is still in effect and I was told it sounds like a cracked LCD. Two weeks later it is returned unfixed with a note that since I didn’t pay for the repair they are returning it. No one ever told me I needed to pay for an in-warranty repair.

    After many calls, I was told that cracked LCDs are not covered and that the service person who had me send it in has been reprimanded Their customer service people are taught not to honor warranties. This guy made a mistake by trying to honor my warranty). The warranty said nothing about this. Eventually some person from India told me that accidental damage is not covered. I told them I did not have an accident. I use the laptop because it takes up less space on my desk. I never carry it around. It never dropped. The person from India kept explaining that it is not covered.

    I wrote many letters to Dell complaining. Finally, an American from “customer service” called simply to tell me the warranty will not be honored. He said I had to have flung the laptop against a wall or something.

    I will NEVER BUY FROM DELL AGAIN AND RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE, WITH THE COMBINATION OF THEIR TERRIBLE SERVICE AND REFUSAL TO HONOR THEIR WARRANTIES, DON’T BUY DELL- EVEN IF THEY ARE CHEAPER! Ultimately they are not cheaper when you count the aggravation, time spent on the phone waiting for tech help to pick up, and their not honoring their warranties. Spend a little more and buy from a legitimate company that wants your continued business and not just your money.

  • http://none marvin rocha

    i ordered a xps410 and found out a day later that it would take almost a month to recieve it. bullshit, i just canceled the damn order. Aint going to make me go thru all this stuff. especially that i just found out how bad dell has gotten over the last 10 yrs. they used to be the big dog on the blog but now, theyre sinking along with gateway. SEEMS LIKE APPLE AND HP ARE PICKING UP THE PIECES AND MAKING A RUN AT KEEPING THEIR CUSTOMERS HAPPY. I HAVE A HP LAPTOP ZD8000 THAT HAD A SCREEN LINES. I CALLED CUSTOMER SERVICE IN THE MID MORNING. THAT NEXT MORNING WAS A BOX DELIVERED TO MY DOOR SO I CAN PACK MY LAPTOP. TAKE IT IT WAS ON A MONDAY TUESDAY MORNING. I GOT MY LAPTOP BACK ON FRIDAY. I WAS COMPLETELY SHOCKED. I THOUGHT MAYBE I HAD PUT A WRONG ADDRESS OR SOMETHING. ONLY REASON I WAS GOING TO GET A DELL IS BECAUSE HP ONLY HAS THE 66OO DUO CORE CHIPS RIGHT NOW. AND I WANTED AN XPS HIGH END MODEL. BUT OH WELL….I GUESS I WILL RESUME MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HP……

  • http://none marvin rocha

    OOPS.

    JUST GOT OFF OF WORK AND DID NOT PROOF READ MY PRIOR BLOG. SORRY FOR THE TYPOS..!!!!!!!

    I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS………

  • Debbie

    I purchased a dell dimension only 2 weeks ago and recieved it Friday the 29th in the evening. I installed the computer in my home and it kept freezing on me! So Sunday morning I called support. After 45 minutes waiting and listening to the awful repetitive message they have, I reached someone.We worked Sunday and thought the problem was fixed. It was not!! I called Monday because the problem was not solved and they were going to reinstall all programs until I received a call from another Tech and he wanted to try unplugging things. Well we did and come to find out my monitor has a bad USB port and if I use it the whole computer freezes!! I have called, unsuccessfully, and emailed a dozen or so times and Dell only calls when I am not around. when I email and call I always leave phone numbers of where I will be and the times but they call before I get there! When they leave voicemail messages they speak so fast that one has to listen a dozen times to understand the Indian accent. They said yesterday on the voicemail that if I call they will return the call within 90 minutes!! Well I am still waiting. They also said they would leave emails about the missed calls and I have yet to recieve any emails!! I was a Dell fan but I am not anymore. This is the LAST Dell I will ever buy!!!
    I still want a new monitor though. I did not pay good money for a damaged item.

  • http://Thismighthelp Meegan

    To everyone who’ve had problems with Dell. USE BBB. Yes, the company that a lot of people have touted as corporate bought.

    These guys have gotten me out of crappy situations with Dell numerous times with customer service. So much so that a easy to understand person called me back from Dell, gave me her personal helpdesk number and told me to contact her anytime there was a problem. I had my Dell laptop since 2001. It only just died last year. I am still using my gen2 xps from 2003. I have an Alienware laptop purchased in July. I’ve all ready called twice, once for a bad graphics card one month after receiving it and another because it gets so hot I can’t even touch the keyboard. They said it was normal. WHAT!!! May have to contact BBB about this soon. For a computer that cost over 4500k, it should be cooking me breakfast not cooking eggs on it.

    Lookin to buy a voodoo or an HP next. Dell and Alienware still sucks

    BBB can help in so many ways. USE THEM. You’d be surprised.

  • Arnie Diamond

    Well, if you are a New Yorker, help is on the way. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has received so many complaints about Dell that he is suing them. If you live in New York, Google “NY attorney General” to get to the spot. There is a place on his site to add your complaint about Dell.

    He has complaints like a woman who paid for in-home service and it took them 6 months to get to her. Another guy took them up on a no-interest plan and two months later found he was being charged 29% interest.

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