Dell watches the blogosphere.

I’ve talked about the blogosphere’s effect on customer service before, but a few days ago, I got a firsthand experience about a company that actually does a good job of watching the blogosphere. That company is Dell.

About a day or two after I posted about too many phone numbers, Dell responded. I didn’t even mention Dell besides including them in a general list. It seems like they picked the post up and they responded.

Their comment was fairly useful and while it seemed slightly canned, it still addressed the issue. They provide some specific numbers about how they have improved their customer service and some of the metrics associated with it.

Dell has been putting a lot of resources into keeping up on what is being said about them. They have a fairly large team that works to watch the blogosphere and respond to feedback, a digg-like voting feature for product and service suggestions, a frequently updated blog, and have been putting a lot of time and effort into improving their customer service.

They’ve been tough throughout the whole process as well – Dell has gotten a lot of negative feedback on their blog, over email, and so on. The company has responded to it and has been doing a good job at keeping their spirits up and moving on.

Dell has a lot of competition from formidable companies like HP, IBM/Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, and plenty of others. They seem to be working very hard on being open and accessible and making it clear that they are working to improve. So far, it seems like they are getting closer to achieving that goal.

I haven’t had a customer service experience with Dell as of late. My father, though, had an experience with them lately. His speakers weren’t working, but when he plugged in headphones, sound worked. He called Dell and was on the phone with them for two hours. The representative wouldn’t elevate the call to a supervisor and apparently there was no solution. They ended up calling their corporate sales person, and I think they got the issue elevated after that.  However, the experience seemed pretty terrible and was enough to make my dad think about using another company with better customer service.

Turn arounds are very interesting. Some companies are able to pull it off, while others aren’t. Michael Dell is back in control of the company and he seems to be dedicated to improving the company’s customer service and reputation.

A little test for Dell, though, is that I asked the guy who responded to my blog post to put me in touch with the person who runs their customer service for an interview. A few days later, he replied and said I should hear from someone soon. We’ll see.

7 Responses to “Dell watches the blogosphere.”

  1. Jordan T. Cox said:

    Mar 14, 07 at 11:42 am

    It’s interesting, because their recent and still ongoing Vista Express Upgrade debacle has received what looks like absolutely no attention from them. For awhile after Vista was released, the Express Upgrade phone lines weren’t even connected. The site was also down and slow for almost a month.

    I’ve dealt with their phone support recently looking for a price on a part, and was yelled at by the Indian taking my call when I said I wasn’t authorized to purchase the part – and was only looking for a price to pass on to my manager.

    I also like their idea of having a blog, but it is heavily censored. Just try posting something negative and half the time it won’t go through meanwhile half coherent assemblies of words without punctuation makes it just fine. It’s a neat idea, but poorly executed.

    Let us know if their rep. ever calls you back!

  2. RichardatDELL said:

    Mar 14, 07 at 3:52 pm

    Hi Jordan and Doug

    Doug, we will follow up.

    Jordan, thanks for drawing our attention your experience with the Dell vista upgrade process. Sorry it was unsatisfactory. I know we had some issues and have been working to get things corrected.

    However, I think I will disagree with you about it receiving no attention from us. As issues with the site came to our attention, Lionel, on the direct2dell site blogged about it. We apologized for the glitches we had. Over several weeks in February Lionel continued to respond on the blog and provide updates.

    Second, I think anyone reading various posts on our blog will find lots of negative commentary and we respond and answer much of it. Hey, we aren’t perfect, but we are trying to be open and forthright. You might want to check out the rules of engagement which Lionel adheres to very closely: http://direct2dell.com/about.aspx

    In fact, several blogs have commented on our “rocky” start but how we have opened up and been quite responsive, finding our feet in the blogosphere, so to speak.

    Sorry to hear you think we aren’t doing as well as we should.We will continue to work to improve.

  3. Jordan T. Cox said:

    Mar 19, 07 at 11:03 am

    Richard, three months and no Vista when all it takes is to ship it… that doesn’t sound like a lot’s been done. Yes, it is true that direct2dell provided coverage of the failure-at-launch event but at the same time, something as bad as disconnected phone lines shouldn’t last more than a single day.

    I won’t really respond to the censorship issue, since it’s all done behind closed doors and a hidden veil – the only thing I can say is that the censorship performed does not match the rules provided.

    Third, bravo on the response. I really didn’t expect Dell to make any effort to reach out to their customers.

  4. RichardatDELL said:

    Mar 19, 07 at 11:56 am

    Jordan,

    I appreciate the feedback from you and your perspective. I will follow up on the blog censorship concerns.

    I understand your perspective on VISTA. I believe we were shipping in less than 3 months. The issues were discussed on our blog, and updates provided. While it was a bit more complicated than disconnected phone lines, the fact remains we were slow off the mark and you were disappointed. We are sorry that this was not up to your expectations or our usual standards.

    Thanks again for sharing your views with us.

  5. Jordan T. Cox said:

    Mar 30, 07 at 11:00 am

    Just a note, I tried making a post linking the recent tune-up article to the whole Vista thing* and it never got posted.

    * Which we still haven’t received – I’m terribly thankful that I didn’t trust Dell for my home machine

  6. Jordan T. Cox said:

    Apr 03, 07 at 3:54 pm

    Latest bit ‘o’ censorship:


    Lionel, can you address why it is April and we still don’t have our “Express” Upgrades? I believe that we’re moving into month four of “time beyond which we should have had out Upgrade Kits”.
    http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/04/02/10222.aspx#commentsfa

    Not sure why in the heck that was censored.

  7. Jordan T. Cox said:

    Apr 05, 07 at 11:23 am

    Whoops, it looks like they just take a /really/ long time moderating comments. That one got through, joy!