Yes, I am amused in a smug way about Dell suddenly discovering that it has problems. See this story at Investor’s Business Daily, which mentions my Dell hell, and today’s New York Times reports on efforts to turn around the bilge-filled barge by finally adding customer service people. The brand is badly tarnished and a few PR efforts won’t fix that. I’m not sure what would. This week’s Business Week innovation special (sorry, can’t find the direct link online) has a simple chart showing the stock performance of the S&P 500 against stocks of companies with reputations for customer care: Starbucks, Target, and an airline (to be named later when I can find the damned link, if it exists) far outperformed the market. It’s so damned obvious: Serve your customers and win. Screw your customers and lose. The mob storming castle Dell was the surest leading indicator of problems at that company and Dell’s executives and analysts were blind fools if they didn’t see it.
The New York Times chronicles Dell’s problems.
Arstechnica reports that Dell’s growth has slowed in the U.S.
Dell, on the hand, did not fare as well. The company is still growing, to be sure, but not as fast as the overall market. During the first quarter, Dell’s worldwide shipments grew by 10.2 percent. That was still enough to keep the company in first place with 18.1 percent of the overall market. Perhaps most alarmingly for Dell, US growth for the quarter dropped under 1 percent [from almost 9 percent – ed]. At least the company’s increased focus on Asia and other non North American markets is paying off, as its international shipments grew to 23 percent vs. the overall market figure of 16 percent.
To this day, I get emails almost daily — in addition to blog links and blog comments — from poor souls who have had their own tales of Dell hell. It is a serious problem that will continue to cause problems for the company.
To all the nice folks who send me email asking for help: I wish I could but I am the last person to have any connection at Dell. I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do except sympathize… and recommend a Mac.
: LATER: Analyst issues sell rating for Dell. [via the comments]
: Also via the comments: Tom Peters finds Dell’s Peter Principle.
Watch out, Dell: John C. Dvorak is after you now. He writes a Marketwatch column noting the growing chorus of vocal victims and asks what’s wrong with Dell. He also nicely notes my Dell hell. Says Dvorak: ” Within the not-so-small confines of the powerful blogosphere there is a growing discontent with Dell and its once legendary customer service that could eventually hurt earnings. This situation might actually be at a crisis point already.”
By the way, Dvorak used to drive me occasionally batty — which is just his goal, of course — but I’ve come to appreciate him now that I listen to him on Leo Laporte’s This Week in Tech. He’s growly and funny and blunt.
Dell is so accustomed to getting complaints from all its customers, it doesn’t know what to do with a compliment. [via Jake]