Dell Hell: The Postscript

Houston Chron tech guru Dwight Silverman decided to call Dell and find out what their policy and strategy is regarding issues their customers raise in these newfangled blog things. That’s whatcha call real reporting.

I spoke with Jennifer J. Davis, a spokesperson in Dell’s consumer products group, who said that Dell does indeed monitor online blogs and discussion forums. She would not say how many people are engaged in doing so.

However, it’s a policy of look, don’t touch — those monitoring do not respond publicly, nor do they try to make contact pro-actively.

“The best process for getting issues addressed is to contact us directly,” she said.

Of course, for those U.S. customers frustrated with loophole-ridden repair/return policies, overseas call centers whose employees can’t master English or techs who can’t think outside the script, direct communication doesn’t always result in customer satisfaction.

Davis said the company aims its resources at fixing these problems, hoping that improved customer experiences will translate into more positive buzz. She said internal surveys show an uptick in customer satisfaction, and is hoping soon-to-be-released independent studies will echo those results.

Those who are waiting for Dell’s executives and technical types to blog a la competitor HP, you’ll be on hold for a while: There are no plans for sanctioned Dell blogs anytime soon.

However, Davis said the company is formulating a policy for employee blogs that should be released soon.

She said Dell sees blogs as unnecessary at this time.

“With our direct model, we feel like we already have a good, two-way communications channel with our customers,” Davis said.

Of course, it depends on what you do with the incoming communication. A two-way conversation only has value if you take action on the problems you’re hearing about.

Clueless. Absolutely clueless. And keep in mind that this is a technology company. It’s also a company that doesn’t have a retail channel and so it should have a different, direct, new, and better relationship with its customers. Instead, it’s worse.

I repeat my offer, Dell: If you’re reading this, I’ll come and explain it to you. PowerPoint primed and ready.

: Christopher Carfi at the Social Customer Manifesto has been tracking the Dell saga and also has some great reporting. He found out that And so he used that vaunted Dell two-way communication to find out why they’re cutting off that two-way communication in an IM with a faraway land.

: And all that pretty much answers the Blog Business Summit’s Dell Cluewatch: They asked anyone who ever heard from Dell after posting about the company to come forward. They’re going to wait a very, very long time: When Dell Hell freezes over.