Dell learns a lesson

Dell has changed its policy on blogs.

Shankar Gupta at Mediapost just did good reporting following up on my Dell hell saga (ironically, on the same day I got the refund for my laptop):

Dell Computers, which came under fire this summer from blogger Jeff Jarvis, says it has new procedures for dealing with the blogosphere. The company’s public relations department monitors blogs, looking for commentaries and complaints–and, starting about a month ago, began forwarding complaints with personally identifiable information to the customer service department so that representatives can contact dissatisfied consumers directly, said Dell spokeswoman Jennifer Davis. The move appears to have been triggered by a series of “Dell Hell” posts penned by Jarvis about his problems with a Dell computer. Jarvis first wrote about the topic in June, and continued posting updates through the summer.

“Obviously, Mr. Jarvis’ experience could’ve been handled better,” Davis said.

As for other bloggers, Davis said that ideally, when customer service receives forwarded complaints from bloggers, representatives will approach them directly to diffuse the problem. “That’s certainly what they’re supposed to do,” she said. “I can’t comment that it happens 100 percent of the time, but that certainly is what the process is designed for.” Jarvis, on his blog, said Dell contacted him only after he wrote a letter directly to Michael George, Dell’s chief marketing officer.

Well, Dell, that’s a start. I made a few other suggestions in my letter to Mr. Dell. Speaking of which, here’s the kicker on Shankar’s story:

Davis also said that Dell is “looking at the best way to respond” to Jarvis’ last complaint, the “open letter” of Aug. 17. “What we want to do first and foremost is to make sure we’re addressing his specific issue, and making sure that the system is working to his satisfaction,” Davis said. “We’ll also be glad to talk with him about the broader issues–we have not outreached as of yet, but we’re looking at the best way to do so.”

Email works.