I was pretty amazed when I read this from Daniel Gross in Slate on Dell’s many problems, including the ones I caused them:
Dell had the bad luck to tick off a very powerful blogger. The company is justly known for its fantastic customer service. But any time you engage in tens of millions of customer contacts, there are bound to be errors. It was Dell’s misfortune that one of those errors affected a person with a huge megaphone, blogger Jeff Jarvis. Jarvis’ blow-by-blow account of his Dell hell has become an Internet phenomenon.
I was going to reply but Scott Rosenberg at Salon said it best:
Sorry, I don’t buy it. Set aside the idea that Dell is “justly known” for great service. Known to whom? This sounds like boilerplate from an analyst’s report or the company’s own marketing literature. I’ve never bought a Dell computer. But in my circles and reading — an admittedly totally subjective smattering of hearsay, but what else does “known for” mean? — Dell is known for being a giant corporation that hands over its customer service to bored, ill-treated, underpaid people desperate to move on to better jobs.
Still, that’s not really the point. Maybe you have a circle of friends who have all had peachy-keen customer-support experiences with their Dell boxes. The point is, Jarvis’s experience was not a fluke; if it had been, his tale would never have made waves.
Gross is wrong because what gave Jarvis’s complaint wasn’t the size of the blogger’s megaphone — it was the chord of recognition his message struck with his readers.
Right. It wasn’t my problem that made news. It was the pile-on in comments and blog links — not to mention the many desparate emails I’m getting, which I’m powerless to deal with — from fellow victims that made this a story.
Besides, Dell isn’t known for its customer service. Dell is known for being cheap.