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.

  • Jim Wilson

    I had a recent, actually pleasant experience with Microsoft. I couldn’t get Streets & Trips 2006 to install, and used their email support. It took a few iterations, but the replies always came within 24 hours, from the same person — who knew the history of the problem.

    The one hitch was a Catch-22 at the beginning. To use email support, Microsoft asks for the product code, which you have to install the program to get! I had to install S&T on a second computer to get the product code. Fortunately, they didn’t give me a hard time about wanting to install it on two computers (I ultimately removed it from the second one).

  • If a blogger is blogging for or with a company, that blogger is a personal representative of the company and it’s sensible for someone to try to communicate with them to resolve issues. This is different from Locke, who for years presented an example where an assembly line worker at Ford would blog about organic gardening and share interests with other organic gardeners which would then give them a relationship to talk about vehicles.

    Locke may have understood the communication part, but not the market part. If I’m a worker at Ford I do not want to talk about Fords on my organic gardening blog. And if I have a problem with my Ford I want it resolved through channels I can easily identify, and who will take ownership of my problem correctly. I want to work with a proper support organization, not some employee with a web site who I found with a Google search.

    RCA faced a fierce uphill challenge in the 70s when they tried to get into various computing markets but were met by all comers with questions about their home TVs.

  • Shalom Jeff,

    In the early ’90s I was evangelist for Gateway. I owned several of their machines and couldn’t say enough good about them. I probably sold a couple dozen to friends and family based on one thing: tech support.

    I never had a bad experience. I think the longest I was ever on hold was five minutes. I had tech support people spend an hour on the phone with me going through installations. I knew their names. I called their supervisors and sang their praise.

    Then in the late ’90s I bought a Gateway Solo laptop and the world went to shit. The wonderful tech support had left town. The best anyone could tell was how to restore my computer from a previous configuration. They had no idea about conflicts or how the machine really worked.

    Four times I had to ship my laptop to Texas for repairs, and each time I was without a computer for 10 to 14 days. I spent my time in Tech Hell. Now I don’t trust anyone.


    Jeff Hess

  • If Microsoft was so concerned about their customers they would be pushing for fault intolerant hardware and software.

    Maybe Microsoft’s customer service is so good because they’ve had to deal with so many disappointed custormers.

  • Jay

    DELL HELL – My laptop saga –wrong billing

    I have tried since May 2005, to talk to DELL computers to resolve my Issue, but no response and no resolution. Now they are trying to get their money from me by destroying my credit history.

    My name is JAY
    I bought a DELL laptop 700 M + other accessories = $1532
    I had a coupon for = $ 750
    I owed Dell = $ 783

    The Dell rep who took my order was in Panama “Ulysses Urrutia” and the person who is sending me the bill is in India
    ‘Sonia Singh”. They have no connection between the order taker and the billing to talk to each other and resolve issues.

    The Billing department is billing me the full amount + fines of 350 = $ 1900 + since I am asking them to fix the bill amount. I bought this on Dell Credit.
    They have turned me over to a collection agency rather than resolving this matter.
    I have written to Dell Management and customer services. They said they will resolve this.
    But no action has been taken. I am being forced by DELL to pay.
    They have caused me lot of hassle and pain in dealing with them. I am still dealing with them but no action to resolve the issue of wrong billing.

    All I want is to pay them their fair value and be done with them for the rest of my life.

    Need some press / blog help in this matter?



  • Have you thought about what is going to happen with the Macintel?

    Imagine: a machine that runs Windows and OS X directly. People can start on a Windows machine and gradually move over to OS X, one program at a time. It removes the last barrier to switching to a Mac. All the hostility to Microsoft, Dell, Gateway, etc. will evaporate.

    Of course Apple won’t apply its wonderful support to the Windows side, but you’re not getting very much support anyway, and once people get over the largely unjustified reluctance to tackle a new operating system and some new programs, they will find out how satisfying and easy computing really is.

    This is the most overlooked major tech event in the last several years. Watch what happens.

    George Silverman

  • Philip Bowers

    Dell sticks it to the little guy! While I have no complaints about Dell products thier customer service is non-existent. I have been painfully trying to get a promised credit for product not received through their free shipping program. It is impossible to get anyone on the phone (i’ve waited as long as an hour) and have typically waited 20-30 minutes for online chat. They billed me 11/30/05 for a computer that shipped on 12/2/05. I received a recorded message stating it was available for pickup at the post office on 12/19. After three repeated attempts to pickup and standing post office lines for 20-40 minutes, the product was not there. I contacted Dell via online chat and was told they could reship the same method (no offer to ship expedited) and it would take another 20 days. Being christmas for the kids I chose to purchase from a local retailer and requested they credit me. They agreed and stated I would receive the credit within 15 business days. After 15 business days I was promised I would receive it in 48 hours. After a week still no credit. I have spent hours trying to get my refund and in the meantime I’ve had to pay the credit card charge. and purchase from another company. I’m out the money and time and Dell won’t respond to my email anymore. Here is a copy of my email correspondendence demonstrating my frustration and Dell’s lack of integrity.

    Well it has been nearly 144 hours since I received notice that I would be issued a credit within 48 hours. Still no credit. I have gotten a humble apology that is not backed by a commitment to the promise. Now what? I assume my only recourse now is to go to my bank and fill out a dispute claim (which will be another great inconvenience to me thanks to Dell). Dell continues to cost me valuable time and resource. I realize my situation is not the norm, but you I would think an organization such as Dell would have the capacity and ability to handle simple transactions. As a consultant, I could help you tremendously in improving your process. Please respond with my credit issuance ASAP.

    Philip Bowers


    Hostage #

    —–Original Message—–
    From: US_CAG_Ownership [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 10:56 PM
    To: Philip Bowers
    Subject: Credit Status (KMM25796193I21063L0KM)

    Dear Philip,

    Please accept our sincerest apologies for what has transpired for you. The credit has been processed and will be updated within 24 -48 hours. We regret losing out on a valued customer like you. We know that the credit cannot compensate for the inconvenience that you have faced and sincerely apologize for your experience. For any further questions please feel free to visit us again at

    Dell customer care

    Can you tell me when to expect the credit? The representative originally told me 10-15 business days and it has been 14 by my count. This transaction with Dell and the attempted purchase has been an extremely dissatisfying experience. With whom can I express my dissatisfaction that will really care? Do you have a department that monitors customer satisfaction? I realize that I am but one lowly customer and in the eyes of Dell I mean nothing. As a consultant to businesses nationwide I can only express my dissatisfaction in the market space. I used to consider Dell as a consumer friendly company but I think you have moved along the curve of volume business at the sacrifice of customer service. It is typical of companies to choose this path to the almighty ROI. It’s just a shame they do it at the expense of single consumers one at a time. My credit card was billed on 11/30/05 for a purchase I never received. In addition to not getting my money refunded, I am incurring interest at 12%. In the meantime Dell is making a rate of return on my money. And I am simply asked to remain patient. My patience ended after 4 attempts to receive my product at the post office where Dell informed me my packages were, only to have the post office tell me they were not there. The time I spent in line at the post office can never be returned and the interest on my credit card balance will be a stinging insult to remind me of my experience with Dell. Can I please have my credit issued? Oh yeah, the fact that I can only communicate via online chat–which typically took me ten minutes or more to connect, or by email which is as impersonal a customer relation as I care to have all add up to Dell not being consumer friendly. You should tell consumers that you are the cheapest and that you get what you pay for. Nothing.

    Philip Bowers
    One dissatisfied Customer

    Please forward this to the company president if you would. I’m sure Michael Dell is too busy counting his money to be bothered.

    —–Original Message—–
    From: US_CAG_Ownership [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2006 1:25 PM
    To: Philip Bowers
    Subject: RE: Dell Inc. Case #120663999 Team DCH018 Email #~13567760~# Confirmation (KMM25590794I21063L0KM)

    Dear Philip,
    Your request for the credit has been sent to the credit department to expedite the credit.
    Thank you for contacting Dell.

    Dell customer care
    -Messaging Operations

    Original Message Follows:
    I haven’t yet received a credit for my refund regarding the referenced issue. Can you please let me know the status of my refund?

    Philip Bowers
    You can reach me anytime and leave a message or reply by email

    —–Original Message—–
    From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 9:55 AM
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Dell Inc. Case #120663999 Team DCH018 Email #~13567760~# Confirmation


    Thank you for contacting us at Dell Home and Home Office customer care today.

    Your issue has been assigned case number 120663999. We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Please refer to this case number when communicating to any Dell representative regarding the issue we discussed today.

    If your issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, please contact my case manager by replying to this email. Please include the best times for us to call you and your preferred phone numbers. We will do our best to reach you at these times, or as soon as possible thereafter. When replying to this email, please leave the subject line unchanged so we can route your reply correctly.

    Thank you again for choosing Dell!


    Home and Home Office Customer Care
    Dell, Inc.

    How are we doing?
    In an effort to improve our service to you, Dell randomly surveys our customers. If you receive a survey from Dell by email, we would like to hear about your experience with us.

    Did you know about our online support ?
    For additional online assistance please visit our website at or log onto Dell MyAccount service. Through these you can check on delivery or service call status, rebates and invoices, maintain your account.

    Confidentiality notice
    This email message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential.

    Thank you for contacting Dell.

  • I do have problems with Dell products and Dell’s lack of customer service, a finance company that denies any connection to the company although they call themselves Dell Financial Service. My one year old laptop, two months outside of warranty breaks, and Dell won’t even talk to me, someone asks for $1,000 to cover pick up and a part they say they don’t make anymore. I owe $700, which is half what the computer costs, and Dell Financial Services turns me on and ruins my credit, even though I followed all instructions to hold the account pending an investigation. My nightly calls from India were harrassing. No one knew about my case or all my letters. Just a constant deluge of “listen mum, you understand credit mum, don’t be rude to me mum” over and over. I am paying the computer off, have no computer, it sits idly as a reminder to me that every day in every way I have to tell as many people as possible that Dell doesn’t belong in the US, and no one should ever consider purchasing a Dell product when there are very wonderful other products by other companies. I just purchased a Compaq and am very pleased.
    Hell Dell is right.

  • Dell does indeed not give a hell about their customers. My nightmares were minor compared to others. I at least have a working computer (for now) even though Dell could not come close to solving the problem. I hired an expert who solved this problem in five minutes. It turns out Dell created the problem pre-delivery. Dell is constantly chanting re-install and refusing to listen or see third part benchmarks. Michael Dell needs to make an executive decision to change the company’s logo to those three monkey’s (dealing with evil).
    Dell doesn’t even want to know about the solutions to their self inflicted problems. My computer was delivered ineffective performing at 10% of it’s capabilities. I fixed the problem and Dell doesn’t want to know. They claim I failed to follow their self serving and ridiculous protocol, reboot and re-install. Had their protocol called for me to shoot my self in the head I would have refused that as well. In this particular instance a re-install was not necessary and not done.
    My computer was delivered with a serious hard disc problem caused by Dell. The event log dating back to before delivery clearly identifies the date and cause of the problem. Dell doesn’t care.
    If every Dell customer tells or warns 5 others to never buy Dell and refers them to the Dell Hell Blogs we can collectively hit Dell where it hurts. Then and only then will Dell recognize the folly of their short sighted and ignorant and arrogant ways.

  • Robert Guidry

    I used to be a Dell supporter now I wish I would have never even heard of Dell. I was leasing a computer from them for a couple of years. Hit hard times and filed the big ,”B”. The computer was returned and received by Dell. The bill was included in the Bankruptcy but they refuse to removing it from my credit history. It has taken me 3 years of butt busting to get my credit back. I have now purchased a house nad 2 cars and haven’t had any late pays on anything. But Dell still shows up as a no pay on my credit. It’s illegal and I have had 4 different compaines contact Dell and the credit bureaus to have it removed. They say they are sorry and will remove it but they haven’t. I have been trying to get the CEO’s Executive Secretary’s address so I could write a letter, but I haven’t had any luck.
    Now anytime someone talks about buying a Dell I tell them my story and they usually get something else.

    Dell Sucks!