Some friendly advice from Dell

Well, golly, look at this. I get a comment‘ on the post below from someone who says he’s working for Dell:

Hey Jarvis. I honestly think you have no life. Honestly? Do you have a life, or do just spend it trying to make Dell miserable. I’ve been working with Dell the past three weeks researching trashy blogs that worms like you leave all over that frigen blogosphere and I cant honestly say that Dell is trying to take a step towards fixing their customer service. They hire guys like me to go on the web and look through the blogs of guys like you in hopes that we can find out your problem and fix it. But honestly I dont think you have a problem Dell can fix. Your problem is you have no life.

The guy who left that post was too chicken to leave his or her last name. But Chris did leave his or her domain and it does, indeed, come from GCI Group, a division of Grey Worldwide, the giant ad agency. GCI brags that it is working for Dell, “Rebuilding Corporate Reputation Through Grassroots Effort.”

Yes, I guess that we worms without lives live down in the grass roots.

Yes, Dell is doing a great job getting in the conversation.

And yes, I quite enjoyed his apparent typo: He can’t honestly say that Dell is trying.

I just emailed Jeff Hunt, CEO and president of GCI group, asking what the company and this Chris dude are doing with Dell. I’ll let you know his reply.

: Oh, and Chris, dude, if you want to see the problems I’ve had with Dell, you can start here and then go here. See a summary here or an open letter to your client, here. Oh, and I still own some Dells that don’t work. We just don’t use them anymore. We’re an Apple family now. Apple: Computers for worms.

: LATER: I just got a response from Paul Walker of the GCI Digital Media Practice, employer of “Chris.”

Jeff Hunt forwarded your e-mail to me and asked that I look into the comment posted on your blog from a GCI Group IP address. I looked into the matter, and I can confirm the comment was left by a summer intern who got caught up in the emotion around your postings. This afternoon he obviously decided to let you know what was on his mind. In afterthought, he likely would choose his words more carefully. It is important that you understand the intern’s comment in no way reflects the points of view of Dell or GCI. Dell’s aims with its one2one weblog are positive and they have every intention of making it a forum for open conversations with Dell customers.

Fair enough, Mr. Walker. But, you see, this is exactly the issue Dell — and any company — has in all its customer interactions in the age of customer control: The person who answers the phone — or now responds to a blog post — is acting on behalf of Dell and to the customer is Dell, since that person is our connection to Dell. See the AOL cancellation video. Every one of your “customer service” employees and every one of your “public relations” employees in every encounter represents your company. That has always been the case. Only now, we can record their actions and report them to the world. There are many Chrises in many companies. The fact that they feel they can treat customers this way is a good indication, though, of the culture and management of the companies that employ them.

: I want to add that I hope young Chris does not lose his or her poor-paying internship. I’m sure that Chris, in fact, speaks for many people at Dell when it comes to what they think of me and perhaps other bloggers. Fine. I want transparency, I want conversation, this is the transparent conversation. Let’s have it. No more pussyfooting. The customers and the customer-service representatives have a real dialogue. The public meets the public relations company. No one-way mirrors. No hold buttons. No Muzak. No fake supervisors. Chris: Coffee’s on me, young man or woman.

: Here’s PR magnate Richard Edelman’s take.