Dell’s progress

Ad Age writes about the post-Dell-hell progress the company has made in involving its customers in its business, noting my softening and even admiration for their learning.

“You can’t do digital media from one group with one point of view on the world,” said Bob Pearson, VP-corporate group communications at Dell. “It just doesn’t work. In fact, that’s too marketing-oriented. There’s a big difference between pushing your story out vs. becoming relevant in customers’ conversations.”

Mr. Pearson said that the community aspect of IdeaStorm, which allows users to vote ideas up or down and post comments, gives the company depth of insight into its customers’ priorities and allows it to listen for a long period of time. “With the average focus group, you go in for an hour or two, give them some sandwiches and leave. We may be listening to conversation going on over two months. It’s a totally different game.”

I’m hoping to write a story about the Dell saga for a magazine I’ll name later and to interview Dell for it.

I still get comments and emails to this day from people with sad sagas about Dell. The company can’t and haven’t solve their problems overnight. I have no way to judge the success of their efforts to fix their customer service and product issues. So I won’t try to. But I can look at how they’ve tried to change their relationship with the public via IdeaStorm and blogging and a change in the corporate cant at the top of the firm. And I’d like to know how much of a difference that is making.

So please leave comments on how successful you think Dell’s change of heart and mind has been. Has it made a difference in how you think of the company? Would it make a difference in your decisions on doing business with the company? (I’d appreciate it if you’d give me your name for quoting.)

: Also, I’m a month late linking to Lionel Menchaca’s post about the origins of the blog:

Since we launched Direct2Dell last year, one of the common questions I get from folks who want to talk to me is this: “Did Dell start this blog because of Jeff Jarvis?” I get that question even more since we sat down over drinks for a chat with the man himself. The real answer is that he was part of the reason, but more importantly, he was a sign of a bigger problem for Dell. Jeff’s situation was an indicator that our customer service for home users in the United States needed to improve drastically. Many people here at Dell understand that, and we know that we still have quite a ways to go.