Your friend inside

Brad Berens interviews Wired editor Chris Anderson about, among other things, Chris’ experience getting help from Microsoft with his XBox 360, comparing and contrasting the experience with my Dell hell. Chris emailed Microsoft bloggers asking for help and they put him in touch with the right people. Though Chris acknowledges that he might just get more attention because of his business card, it’s still an example of a new relationship companies can have with customers made possible by the individual relationships employee-bloggers have with customer-bloggers. This is what Chris Locke argued for in his book, Gozno Marketing: It’s about the people inside and outside the factory gates finding that they have shared interests.

: Speaking of Dell…. Inside Engadget’s incredible CES coverage is this from the media Q&A with Michael Dell et al:

The Jeff Jarvis factor: “We don’t want anyone to have a bad experience, whether they’re a blogger or anyone else. The broad body of evidence suggests that those experiences are rather anomolous, even though they’re completely unacceptable to us. What we found with Tech Connect is that a number of these problems — like rootkits — somebody has that problem, trying to solve it themselves over the phone, it’s just not gonna happen. But with a tool like Tech Connect, the guys can go in and fix it rather quickly. We’re also making an investment to improve service levels across the board. Adding new support sites. Edmonton, Ottawa, Oklahoma City. (And, no, Mike has no plans to blog himself.)

Compare and contrast Dell with Microsoft… Sun… the former Macromedia… and other, smarter tech companies, where personal relationships are possible. What would happen if somebody could actually find a friend in Dell? To this day, I get emails from fatally frustrated customers of Dell having nowhere to turn — and, unfortunately, there’s not a thing I can do for them, either. They need friends.