Dell’s angels

After the small kerfuffle about Dell trying to get Consumerist to take down a post with 22 tips on buying machines from a former Dell kiosk salesman (see my post below), Dell blogger Lionel Menchaca throws himself on his sword and says in front of blogs and everybody, the company made a mistake.

Now’s not the time to mince words, so let me just say it… we blew it.

I’m referring to a recent blog post from an ex-Dell kiosk employee that received more attention after the Consumerist blogged about it, and even more still after we asked them to remove it.

In this case, I agree with what Jeff Jarvis had to say: instead of trying to control information that was made public, we should have simply corrected anything that was inaccurate. We didn’t do that, and now we’re paying for it.

I believe in the customer voice–that’s why I signed up for this job in the first place. There’s simply no cheating the system. When we’re on the right track, folks tend to say some good things about us (or at least give us a second chance). When we mess up, they let us know quickly and vocally. Then everyone watches our reaction like a hawk.

Lionel proceeds to make 23 more confessions — more tips, really, about how to find bargains and more. It’s a good list.

What’s apparent here is that the message Lionel and company have learned and preach hasn’t reached every quarter and corner of the company. And that only shows how hard it is to change a company’s culture. In the old days, about a year ago, people saw it as their jobs to protect the company from criticism and leaks and complaints. Now Lionel and Michael Dell are trying to change that, to open up. It’s not easy. But I think they’re making progress.

: LATER: Consumerist closes the loop, with a bow on top.