Ro Parra on Customer Experience, Future of Direct Model


Here I sit down with Ro Parra, Sr. VP, Home and Small Business Group. Earlier today, Ro hosted a group of reporters at a media roundtable.  In this vlog, I ask him to go over some points he discussed with reporters and also asked him about future viability of the direct model.

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10 thoughts on “Ro Parra on Customer Experience, Future of Direct Model

  1. Ro is right, if you look at the commercials that were previously shown on TV 5 years ago, they have changed significantly now about personalization on the systems to purchase. I think one of the newest ones shows this along with the Direct Model.

  2. Quality! Any customer exerpience is optimal if they never have to call for service. Build a quality computer/laptop/music player and you would have a positive customer experience.

  3. Mr. Parra,

    I have a suggestion to improve the post sales customer experience, if you will permit me to convey them to you. I think this Weblog is great by the way.
    I have just purchased an XPS700 machine. The last time I ordered a Dell computer, I was given the tracking number automatically after it was shipped. I cannot remember if it was an automatically generated email or if it tracked itself with the “order status” section of the website.

     Granted it was over 7 years ago but I liked that better than having to wait on hold with customer service to get something that should be emailed automatically. Just a thought as I know you are looking to improve your customer experience by lowering wait times and automating certain services.

    Just my 0.02. Keep up the good work

  4. Good comments from a former employee:

    Years ago I would spec a system(s) for my company, then call an
    employee at Dell to place the order and invariably they would find a
    way to upgrade something, discount the shipping or make it cheaper –
    thus exceeding my expectations and thrilling the customer and making me
    exceptionally loyal. 

    Recently I called to spec a new system for home and all I got was pressure and uninformed upsell. 

    Now on the service front:  I recently had two issues that required
    support – both calls went to India and I thought they did a good
    job.  I find the India employees more polite, educated and easier
    to understand than young, part-time, workers in the south.  Sorry.

    My most recent computer buy – a Mac.  The PC industry, Dell included, has a lot of work to do to keep its customers.

  5. Robert: Thanks for your comment. Sorry you had a bad sales experience this time around.  Lots of people at Dell are working to improve things.  When the time comes to buy another machine, I hope that you’ll re-consider Dell.

  6. I have an 8600 laptop and thankfully have enjoyed my Customer Experience (CE) but I have to agree with Ro on the ways to communicate helps when it can be personalized.  We have established ourselves as top 10 producitity software company.  I would like to think we have been so successful due to how our products  followed what Ro said about the 4 key points.  Post sell, experience during, simplifing, and ways to market.  I’m not sure if this has worked for Dell but we are seeing more partnership with our products as well as retail and online sales. 

    Don’t need to babble but the 4 key points are ever changing.

  7. We own 4 Dell computers.  I would be hard pressed to ever purchase another.  I think Dell will continue to lose customers because of their customer service or I should say rather lack of. I think[ and maybe wrong]  you get what you pay for.  They must not be paying those in their overseas phone banks much.

  8. Speaking of your Direct Business model, I visited one of your Dell
    Direct stores on Black Friday with a friend of mine and was appalled at
    the difficulties with the website that your sales representatives were
    having.  Although the representatives themselves were very helpful and
    professional, it looked very badly on the company when the
    representative could not print out a correct price nor give me a coupon
    that they said they could give.  They ended up printing out a quote
    and WRITING the correct price on there because the shipping and
    handling fees, taxes, promotional discounts, and their own
    store coupons were not properly showing up. 

    At first I assumed the problems were caused due to the
    overwhelming demand of Black Friday, but after I voiced that to my
    friend, another customer who was waiting in line turned to me and said
    “They had the same problems on Wednesday.  I came back today hoping it
    would be fixed.”  I was shocked that these problems were occuring on
    the Wednesday BEFORE Black Friday (and Dell HAD to know about it), yet
    they weren’t bothered enough to fix these issues for the busiest
    shopping day of the year.  Although my friend decided to buy his system
    that day at the store, I decided to wait because the problems they were
    having with the website worried me.

    Later that day I returned and was about to buy the system, but I was
    informed that the website was STILL acting up.  I still refused to buy
    and left and returned earlier this week.  I was still shocked and awed
    that the website could be this bad on the busiest shopping day of the
    year.  What’s even worse is that when talking to my friend, he said
    that he didn’t receive his confirmation e-mail until YESTERDAY, and
    even then the price was incorrect.

    Ultimately, the only thing that made me return was the
    professionalism and the expertise of the employees who worked at that
    Dell Kiosk.  Had it not been for them and their ability to “perform
    under fire”, you would have lost a sale.  How can you expect to succeed
    in the retail field when the system that you provide doesn’t even
    work?  If you can’t get this day right, the most important of all
    shopping days, then how can you pretend to be committed to retail?

  9. Robert: Thanks for taking the time to share constructive feedback on the the two customers’ experiences. Sorry that both have had negative experiences up to this point. I will take you up on your offer to get more information from you so that we can help both of them—you will receive an e-mail from me shortly.

  10. Hello Mr. Parra —

    I’ll make this short and to the point. I’m a senior support engineer. Over the last 20 years or so I’ve been boiled in the oil on both sides of the “Customer Experience” issue and have no intention of diving in again. But I want to share a couple of recent experiences that speak directly to what the Dell “Customer Experience” has become to many people since consumer support was moved offshore.

    So here we go. In the last 4 weeks 2 different acquaintances (who don’t know each other from Adam) have shared with me their passionate frustration with Dell consumer support for having lost laptops that they had sent in for repair. Both repeatedly provided Service Tags and Order numbers, both have spent excessive amounts of time listening to hold music, and both have been told repeatedly they’ll receive email from someone as soon as their laptop is located. One has been waiting 6 weeks, the other some months. Both were long-time loyal customers, both have been reduced to yelling and demanding that their broken hardware be returned in whatever shape it is found in, and both are still waiting.

    There is one thing neither has experienced so far — neither has been put in contact with a Customer Recovery specialist or omsbudsman, or been treated in any way like the extremely dissatisfied customers that they are. In fact, what they described to me was consistent with the actions of level 1 agents who have exhausted their skill set but have nowhere to escalate calls like these to. That’s not a cost problem, that’s a pure and simple management problem.

    Sir, I understand the issues that have motivated companies to offshore their consumer support centers, and honestly never would have written this except for the amazing similarity of my friends’ experiences and the enormous amount of customer respect and goodwill Dell has lost because of incidents like these.

    Out of respect for my acquaintances’ privacy I’m not going to post their particulars here, but I will provide any information you need offline, should you decide further investigation is in order. My email address is attached to this message.

    Yours respectfully,

    Robert Poulk

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