No Magic Wands For Customer Service

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So… you wanna talk about service?  Let’s do it.  WARNING: this post will be a bit longer than the norm and is just the tip of the iceberg.  I’ll kick it off and then we will take it where you want to go.

The good news is that we know what we need to do.  You’ve been telling us.  Our number one priority is to get better at problem resolution.  I can almost hear the collective “duh” out there as I write this.  But this problem is complex, from finding the right products on the web, tracking orders before delivery and getting something corrected if it shows up wrong to getting the latest drivers and bios and replacing parts.  We also spend a lot of time helping connect your PCs to other electronic devices you may own, keeping your computers virus-free or even helping you load new software.  Many times we’re helping customers with stuff they didn’t even buy from Dell.  And you want the dell dude (or dudette) that you talk/chat with to be friendly, patient, empathetic and, above all else, knowledgeable about you and your problem.  Oh… and did I mention that you want it to be fast and easy? 

Right.  We got it.  If we could wave our magic wand, it would already be done.  But much too all our chagrin, it takes time.  We are working on exactly these problems… and many more. 

Right about now you’re thinking: “So, if you understand the problem so well… why do you even have it?”   We ended up here because during the days of our rapid growth, each business segment (this is our Dell term to refer to the teams selling to corporations, small businesses, state and local government, etc.) listened to customers independently and tailored policies and services around its customers needs.  For a while, it worked exceedingly well.  

But as the segments grew so did the process duplications and discrepancies.  Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water that slowly starts to boil, we didn’t realize that many of our problem resolution processes were no longer designed from a customer’s perspective.

When you contacted us to fix a problem we didn’t always act like “one Dell.”  Our processes/policies often required multiple groups to get involved.  That’s not good.  It really slowed down our ability to resolve issues and made it too easy for things to fall through the cracks between groups.  This led to difficult return policies, cumbersome rebate policies and confusing pricing structures, for example.  Our agents had to transfer calls to get customers to the people who could solve their problems since they can only see their small piece of the pie.  The organization became complex and difficult for our service advocates to navigate and fix your problems.  We know that.

We’re spending more than a $100 million — and a lot of blood, sweat and tears of talented people — to fix this.  In the past months we have taken a more holistic look at our business.  We are radically restructuring our contact centers — the intent is to redesign the whole process and put customers and service agents at the center of it.  The service agent is our bridge to you and they need to have tools and help available at the tip of their fingers to support you (BusinessWeek Q&A).  

We will make this change, we are well underway, but it took many years to get here and it will take time to re-vamp.  Processes are being reengineered and we are taking a rigorous 6-sigma style approach to doing this, we are increasing our training for service agents and we are developing tools that will help them solve your problems.  We also need to make these tools available to you, as many of you prefer to research and solve your own problems. 

The good news is that improvements will be continuous.  The magic wand won’t get us there all at once, but things are already getting better in many areas.  We have fixed the issue of long hold times for our U.S. consumer customers (those of you buying PCs for personal use in your home).  Last Fall(ish), we had a spike in calls and our average answer time went up to about 10 minutes.  While we didn’t think this was good… we didn’t know how bad it was.  Turns out that the average was very misleading!  We got many complaints and as we looked more deeply we learned that a really big portion of the calls were taking longer than 30 minutes to answer.  Yikes!  We had to completely rethink our staffing practices to handle the volumes.  Now, virtually every call is answered in 10 minutes or less.   In reality, most are answered within 4 minutes.  Whew!  Spikes here and there may throw this off from time to time but “red flags” go up all over the place if ANY customer waits 30 minutes.  We also have found that some of our phone numbers and extensions aren’t getting to the right place or even dead ends… we have cleaned the vast majority of these numbers and are still going. 

A few other things we have done: since May, we have been searching thousands of blogs that mention Dell every day to see what we can learn and to identify problems we can solve.  In June, we began providing free basic OS support (it had been fee-based) since this was the root cause of a lot of customer problems.  In August, in the U.S., we will be reducing use of mail-in rebates and simplifying our promotion and pricing structures to make them easier for customers to understand (More on that in a future post).

I have only scratched the surface of the work we are doing to improve our ability to resolve your problems.  In the coming days and weeks the people responsible for improving Dell customer service are going to join the conversation.  I’d also like to share with you the work our manufacturing, operations, web and product development teams are doing to prevent problems before they happen.  I probably have one of the coolest jobs in Dell, I get to work with Vice Presidents and our top process engineers around the entire corporation on our strategies.  The passion and commitment within Dell is exciting and intense.  We have a sense of urgency.  We have a plan we believe in, and we’re ready to share it and get your feedback.  Where do you want to start?

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  • Anonymous

    You seem to be making some very questionable calculations about who it’s important to respond to. You blocked not one, but two, of my critical comments in the "We’re listening" thread. I have to wonder what criteria you were using to cherrypick the customer comments that would give you the best appearance of transparency.

    This is very poor blogging strategy on Dell’s part, because I then exercised my option to post about the experience <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/7/13/14715/0618">elsewhere</a&gt;.  And I’m considering cross-posting on a number of other prominent community blogs.

  • Anonymous

    Laura, you’ve struck a great chord at just the right moment; I’m finishing up a review of this blog right now.  I wish you the best as you strive to apply the lessons you learn about corporate blogging to what you publish here.

  • Anonymous

    Does this mean you’ll be moving your callcenters back to a native english-speaking country?

  • Anonymous

    Laura-

    Big congrats to you guys for coming out with this post.  I have high hopes that this blog can help you guys in becoming exactly what you want to be.

    Very good work…

    Paul McEnany

    heehawmarketing.com

  • Anonymous

    I found it interesting that a story that featured this blog and Dell’s customer service problems should air on CNBC on the day that it took me 40 minutes to get a change of address made to our account with Dell Financial Services. I chose not to attempt this on the DFS website because it required a login that may have already been created by someone else in our organization. Instead I foolishly thought a simple phone call would take care of it. My first 25 minutes was spent following phone trees that all led to the same point: a prompt that didn’t recognize the account number but would only allow you to reenter the same number it didn’t recognize. I finally quit exploring the dead end branches and indicated I wanted to make a purchase for our small business. Only then was I connected to a live person. After 7 minutes on hold after reaching him, I was transferred to an off-shore call center where the CSR took my COA information and asked me to wait for another 5 minutes while he "filled out the form." Any first year programmer knows you have to prepare for the response you don’t expect- in this case an account number that isn’t recognized. Forget the "people" problems, you can’t even make your technology work right. You don’t need a "magic wand" you just need a commitment to service that, based on my experience today, you haven’t yet made. Why is it that with $100MM and a host of "talented people" you can’t even take a change of address without blowing 40 minutes of my time? BTW: when I related this experience to our general manager his response was "Oh yeah. The only way you can talk to someone at Dell is to act like you want to buy something."

  • Anonymous

    Laura,

    Thank you for your comments;  I’ve spent the better part of the last two years studying organizational complexity and innovation and can understand just how difficult it must be to get the constituent parts of a single organization, like Dell, to move in unison.  

    If I might point to one issue that I have raised on this blog in another post – and extensively addressed in the Dell Community Forum- I hope that you can address the issue of multiple avenues of communication between Dell and customers.  I placed an order for one of the XPS 700 and have since become dismayed because I get so many different messages from Dell regarding the shipping date.  To be more specific, I see at least 6 different ways to get a shipping date:

    1. The date provided in the confirmation email

    2, and 3. The two different dates provided on the order tracking module on my Account site

    4. A Different date from the Customer care rep.

    5. A different date from the sales rep.

    6. A different date from the moderators at the Dell Community forum.

    (not to mention your founder, Michael Dell’s recent announcement that the XPS 700 would be available with the Core 2 Duo / Core 2 Extreme chips as soon as Intel makes the announcement…)

    So, please dont take this comment as another gripe about this delay; to be sure, I’m frustrated by the delay and uncertainty about the Core 2 Duo processor availability, but I think the more pressing concern, from your point of view, has to be this disconect in lines of communication, where the customer gets so many different messages.  

    As a customer of 8 or 9 years, and as a customer who is eagerly awaiting the new XPS 700, I think that we’re in this together… so, I’d like to get your thoughts as to what Dell might do to streamline the message.

  • Anonymous

    In the realm of tech support, I would suggest that Dell phone technicians be more willing to skip trobleshooting steps if the person is clearly knowledgeable, or has followed reasonable steps already, "Ok, before I called, I unplugged everything, re-plugged, rebooted, etc…"

    This is preferable to making them do every single step from their troubleshooting playbook – it saves the call center employee and the customer a lot of time.

    Also, I think Dell is making a big mistake in eliminating "legacy" ports such as PS/2 ports for keyboards and parallel ports for printers.

    A lot of my clients (I’m an independent freelance support tech) are chagrinned to find out the keyboard and/or printer they liked can’t be used on their new Dell PC.  Are Dell sales people asking customers if they’re planning on holding onto PS/2 style keyboards or parallel port printers?  I doubt it.

    And on top of that, there are only four USB ports in the back of some of the more value-priced Dells – so the keyboard and mouse already consume two of these valuable ports, leaving only two in the back for a printer, digital camers, etc…  Yes, there are ports in the front, but most people avoid using them for aesthetic reasons.

  • Anonymous

    I have been a two-time Dell notebook and Axim owner.  The customer support inevitably consisted of long waits to speak to someone in a foreign country, whom I could barely understand, for hours– oh, and did I forget getting disconnected at times.  After all of that, I would be told that the only thing I could do was to re-install Windows.  The first time I actually did it.  What a nghtmare.  Several times I was able to solve the problem myself– for instance, by re-installing some drivers.  I am a health professional with a modicum of computer knowledge– so, what does that tell you.

    When I bought my second Dell notebook, I laughed when making the choice for in-home or mail-in support.  I figured that I would be more likely to be struck by lightening than to have someone come to my home.  I’d be thrilled if I could just get some help when I called in.

    On the positive side, when my CD drive gave me problems, another was mailed to me overnight.

    I am still using my second laptop, but I will probably be in the market for a new one in the near future.  Before reading this blog and finding out that you are working on the problem, I had decided on ABD– anything but Dell– this despite the fact that all of your products have given me excellent service.  I just couldn’t face the prospect of dealing with technical help.  I find the outsourcing unbearable.  The people are nice enough, and I think that they are trying hard.  However, when I can’t understand them and they seem to be reading from some script that dictates that they say my name repeatedly while trying to placate me with politeness (ordinarily something I treasure), I want to pull my hair out– slowly, one by one….   Make me want to buy another Dell, please!

  • Anonymous

    I believe I read the entire blog entry and did not see one part in which you would return the call centers back to the USA?  Dell is at the top of the list in terms of being brought up in CSR "hell" stories around the water cooler, specifically, the call center issue.  

    The call center workers typically seem to be nice enough and hard working, but once they are done with your script, that’s it.  Language makes it difficult to reason and explain the problem, which has to be even worse for people that have less computer knowledge than people like myself.

    Not to mention that it might give Dell a good name again in the US for returning US jobs.

    Now off to find the blog entry on when Dell will try to return to their "new kid on the block" days where they were all about quality.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a thought…

    Preventative? Quit selling the Inspiron series, would ya? I work at an independant computer store and we have a section of our basement dedicated to dead inspirons.

    Or if you wanna keep the brand name (that identifies your company as substandard) fine. But quit making junk. And I know its cheaper to just replace the ones that break cause it cost you so little to make in the first place but posting a blog about getting better isn’t enough. Sounds more like my buddy saying "This time I’m really gonna quit smoking"

    And don’t pitch it like you’ve been growing and now your ready to make this step. That is quite frankly insulting. You didn’t start up a tiny little mail order company with a call centre based out of India, did ya?

    You know what? I really hope you do get a handle on your service issues. It would be so good for everyone. But I’ll save my congrats for five years later, which is really the shortest timeline you could hope for to fix the mess you’ve made

  • Anonymous

    First of all, thumbs up to you guys working on the way that a call is handled. As a help desk/network/computer technician for my community college, I realise how important it is to field a call primarly myself so that the right hand knows what the left hand did. Although personally, i really don’t want some unbearably cheery fake tech person on the other line. All i want is that they are knowledgeable and not a-holes, they can be as un-empathetic and deadpan as they want to as long as they know their stuff and don’t patronise me.

    To everyone else, we are an all Dell campus and I will say that Optiplex systems while more expensive than the Dimension line, are more rigourously tested and quality assured. Optiplex system’s are designed for the enterprise environment and are generally of high reliability. We did have problems with GX260 power supplies and GX270 motherboards but the systems were still within the 3-year warranty. The problem stemmed from poor capacitor chemical formulation which plagued multiple overseas component producers for a time, but this was no fault of Dell’s.

    Computers are complicated, and few other things can have one thing break (or even just change!) and that one thing cascade into other things breaking (especially in an enterprise environment). Windows is a complex mistress to tame when asking that it play nicely and helpfully with third party applications that access its core software components. With malicious stealth malware on the rise, the complexity grows even greater. Please be nice with tech support people, they have to deal with people who can barely turn on a PC and often times people better off sticking to an abacus. While i realise PC’s are complicated and confusing, they are becoming essential like having a drivers lisence. Everyone who owns a PC or uses one for financial/work/business use should take a few courses at their community college and spare the help desk from walking someone through getting to the internet when their IE icon isnt on their desktop or finding out what their IP is. Take a course, save your sanity, protect yourself, save an IT persons sanity.

    -Sir Latency

  • Anonymous

    Matthew, I too feel your pain….

    I have gotten fair service from Dell support even with ESL support personell but calls definitely would have been resolved quicker with someone who was better at English.

  • Anonymous

    So let me get this straight: You’re saying that developing good support takes time.

    Considering you’re not exactly a start-up, you may understand why people are highly skeptical.

    In fact, I’ll go a little further: it took you the entire history of Dell to get HERE. What do you think happened over all those years to get things this messed up?

  • Anonymous

    My experience thus far with Customer service and sales has been positive and have made a posting of my experince to date.

    http://geekswithblogs.net/cweeks/archive/2006/07/14/85231.aspx

  • Anonymous

    I know you all are working hard to improve tech support and your public image. That said, are trying to excuse your poor track record of customer support with your growth and the many demands of being a successful enterprise. This is absolutely the worst message you could be sending to your customers. It’s basically a veiled way of saying "We were so successful at selling our products that we forgot to care about the customer."

    And to be quite honest, even that isn’t even a fair explanation. You didn’t "forget", and it wasn’t some kind of accident. You didn’t accidently trip and drop your customers like you did with grandma’s antique vase when you were 12. You knowingly neglected the customer in your period of growth. You outsourced all (not some) tech support to a foreign country for the sake of "growth". (Which, by the way, is also neglecting those in this country who are now out of work.) When things got really bad last year, you removed your tech support number from your website to discourage customers from calling.

    It’s good to see you are admitting there is a problem, but pushing this off as a necessary consequence of growth is unacceptable.

  • Anonymous

    Is this a press statement on a blog or a blog post? ;^)

  • Anonymous

    where does dell want to start?

    how about start by compensating the thousands of xps700 customers who have been cheated?

    what dell has done with the xps700, either intentionally or unintentionally is extremely unethical

    we have paid top dollar for a premium system and after being forced to endure numerous delays, when dell finally ships it to us, we get processors that are completely outdated and obsolete.  on top of that….we were WAY overcharged for the outdated processors because we paid the market prices from months before our systems will actually arrive.

    dell needs to either

    1) give everybody that ordered an xps700 a conroe (at little or no additional cost to dell because we paid high prices for the obsolete pentium D’s dell’s currently planning to ship us)

    or….

    2) give everybody that is getting an outdated Pentium D a substantial discount in the form of credit back to our accounts, not concession coupons or free printers or whatever other cheap junk dell is currently overstocked with

    either one of these options is the only ethical way dell as a company can compensate all of us here who have been cheated and exploited

  • Anonymous

    I just thought I would mention that I have decided to go with a different computer manufacturer for my next system after the fiasco I had with attempting to re-install Windows.

    Windows Explorer had somehow got corrupted and was acting strange, so I decided it was time to re-install Windows. I inserted the Windows Reinstall disk that comes with my Dell Dimension 8400 and rebooted the system. I started the install process only to find that Windows Setup couldn’t find any hard drives.

    I found that surprising since I have 2 SATA drives working just fine. After a few more reboots to make sure it wasn’t anything I was doing, I called Dell.

    After about 35 minutes of waiting on hold, I got a hardware "technician". I could barely understand him due to his thick Indian accent. We spent about 30 minutes working on this problem. He decided that this was a software issue and forwarded me to the software group. He warned me that this would cost $99. I wasn’t very thrilled with the idea of paying $99 to get help installing Windows when I know exactly how to install Windows, but if it got me up and running again, fine.

    So, now I’m on hold again for about 45 minutes. I get a lead in person that verifies that I am willing to pay the $99. I expressed my concern about this since I didn’t consider the problem to be a software related problem, but reluctantly accepted the charge and got passed to a software technician.

    This person knew what was going on and had me up and installing in a matter of minutes. The problem was that the BIOS RAID setting were set to some obscure setting that was blocking Windows from recognising the hard drives and, according to the technician, allowing the hard drives to operate a little faster.

    So almost 2 hours to re-install Windows due to a bad BIOS setting. I made my case about the $99 to Dell’s online support chat service and talked to two folks (Rocky and Uma, really, you need to get these guys to come up with better American names) and was able to convince them to refund my $99.

    I really don’t understand the reason the BIOS was set the way it was. I am not seeing any speed reduction due to not returning the BIOS to the setting it was when I got it from the factory.

    So I guess my suggestion to you folks to better help us customers is to make sure that if you are going to charge people for "software" incidents, make sure that they are indeed software related. The first technician should have been able to get me up and running without the need to get involved with the Software group.

    Anyway, the point is kind of moot since I am not buying another Dell in the future. I just thought I would relate my story.

  • Anonymous

    If Dell really wanted to address the tech and customer support issues, then they should hire an experienced IT Professional, preferably a process control expert. If this individual has previously had bad customer support experiences, then that is a plus. If I were the CEO of Dell, I would hire 2 people with this profile. However, I would make sure that these new hires were energized with the objective of improving Dell’s support functions. Both individuals should have access to top level management and to the necessary resources, so that concrete results can be produced.

    Part of the job requirements should be that they post to this blog on a regular basis. Dell is making a mistake by having a marketing oriented person as its blogger for this blog. Dell’s customers will not buy more PR jargon with zero results.

    Bottom line, not only real dialogue needs to be produced but substantial improvements also need to be produced, if Dell wants to stop the decline of the Dell image and customer base.

  • Anonymous

    I’m quite happy to hear you do admit some faults and take ownership of your customer service. ::applause::. However, I see a few unexplained components – the mechanics on how you will change it, and more details. I foresee that this will be answered in future blog postings.

    We all know whats on consumer’s minds. They want someone they can easily talk to. Regardless of prejudice, they need someone without accents or has a barrier in communication. One already mentioned here about your call centers, and how they want them in the United States. I know your other call centers offshore are well educated and talented, the only thing holding that back is the communication barrier (or tolerance of customers to adapt).

    You stated you are investing over a hundred million… is that for domestic call centers or offshore. I believe the ROI with domestic call centers is far higher than offshore simply due to first-call-resolution. I’d rather speak to someone once for 20 minutes rather like four 20 minute calls – and thereby costing Dell even more money.

    I personally do not own a dell nor do I recommend one, due to this reputation your company has – poor customer service. However, with an avenue like this blog – you have an opportunity to change that, rather a receipt of change – once your CSR’s change.

    What do I know about call centers and Tech support? I am tech support, domestically here for AOL, and we too have offshore call centers. I see all the problems and obstacles first hand that customers must hop through to get their answers. Hands down, customers find it disrespectful a company would make them call several times to get an answer. They hate complex IVR’s – which you have as well. It took me 8 minutes to traverse your IVR to the RMA queue to replace someone’s hard drive. This is unacceptable.

    Anyhow, I do look forward to your followup and future blog postings.

    Thanks,

    Joseph Manna

  • Anonymous

    I think your headlines says it all, and it’s brutally honest: "No Magic Wands for Customer Service."

    Re-engineering customer service is one of the most difficult challenges for large brands, and I frankly think at this moment in time you are making very good progress relative the "industry standard."  Despite the consumer-generated "media impressions" that emanate from  customer service operations, the reality is that customer service/consumer affairs rarely commands the attention and respect (or resources) of marketing or media planning.  I say this with the frame of reference of having attended and presented to over a dozen conferences of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals, and it’s very clear that these departments are rewarded for two core behaviors: reducing contacts, and reducing time-spent per contact.  Even the PR industry, which is so focused on blog creation and conversations, is largely divorced from core strategies and business processes around customer service, call-support, contact-us.  So against that backdrop, I think you are doing fine.  My one important piece of advice that  I’ll elaborate on my blog later is to keep opening up the direct  online feedback pipe to Dell….not just to the online community, or the FAQ, or this blog comment page.  Your email "contact us" has (to borrow from P&G parlance) "opportunities."  Sometimes consumers just want to "break through" and the perception of the "open door" or "welcome mat" is haff the game in making consumers feel emotionally connected to the brand.  This is something I learned after collecting over a million lettes and comments through PlanetFeedback.com.   Consumer expression divers to "external" expression vehicle because brands fail to absorb and welcome those instinctual "feedback moments."   I think Dell is doing an impressive  job on promoting the welcome mat through very targeted 800 numbers, and WAY better than industry standard.  But some of the real simple stuff like "send an email with your opinion" is very difficult.  I encourage you to look into this.  (Full disclosure: my current and previous firm has done work for Dell, but I have no connection to this project)

  • Anonymous

    It’s good to see that Dell is finally getting it. There is nothing more frustrating to someone than to go out and drop 1-10% of their annual salary on a computer and have the company seem to fall apart at the seams the first time you contact them for support. I have been a systems admin and software developer for nearly 10 years and here are some of the most basic tips I can share with you.

    Create an auto update app thats not full of spyware, similar to IBM/Lenovo’s software update, it updates all software/drivers/bios on a given machine/laptop.

    Provide easy and convenient contact!! If I have a low priority problem or a question I don’t want to wait on hold! I want to drop someone an email and wait for them to get back to me. This should be priority #1! The support should also speak English clearly, and be able to actually troubleshoot a problem not just follow scripts.

    Drop the marketing gimmicks, I know salespeople everywhere are saying oh blah! Seriously though I understand that the best way to make a profit is to confuse and obfuscate to trick the consumer into thinking they are making a killer deal when they really aren’t. Here is an example for you.

    I bought my wife a new Dell E510 desktop in May. The reason I did this is because I was very happy with the Dimension 8400 my work purchased for me over a year ago. I am a bargain hunter so i dug for coupon codes and deals. I wound up getting my wifes machine for a reasonable price of $733.85 before tax and shipping. While typing this missive I rebuilt the same machine, using the best coupon code I could find. Todays cost for the EXACT same machine,  is $809.90 before shipping and tax. Come on, identically configured systems should go down in price. Dump the phony coupons, take away the phone reps ability to be able to flex on prices and just lower the bloody prices to you bottom dollar or the median of your bottom dollar. I know companies make money by people not using coupons, not turning in rebates etc, maybe its time for a large company to show they aren’t looking to make a small profit off those few people that don’t get their rebate in on time.

    Dump the junk! Make a option on EVERY machine to come with JUST the software I choose and don’t make me call and speak to a sales rep to do it. If want to order the machine with just windows on it then just put that on there, provide me a CD with your promotional crud and I may look at it.

    Give me OPTIONS! I know its easier to have only two graphics cards available and supported but you know what, it drives customers away. I will be in the market for a new machine by the end of the year myself, but I don’t want an x300 or x600 card, since I cant order it with the card I want from you then likely i will go to someone who will let me order what I want. The saddest part is because of how open the hardware channel is to people of the world now, we all see that OEM cards are cheaper than retail yet companies like yours charge MORE than a retail card would cost.

  • Anonymous

    Dell announced on Late Thursday that it plans to institute a series of pricing changes over the next 12 to 18 months that will result in fewer promotions and rebates for its consumer and small-business products.  The company stated that the moves should result in a 70% cut in promotions for individual product lines, and an 80% reduction in price promotions for individual products.  Dell VP Rosendo Parra said these moves were being made in order to create "a simple pricing and sales structure" for the customer.  A primary target of these reductions are mail in rebates – which tend to have a messy process for both company and customer.

    This change in promotions strategy comes on the heels of two other huge moves by Dell.  First, the company stated it plans to invest $100 million into its customer service operations.  In addition, Dell took its first steps into the new media world of blogging with their one2one site.  It is this second move that has many people in the bloggosphere in a tizzy fit….(see http://www.montysbox.typepad.com for full post)

  • Anonymous

    I stand corrected the base machine I started with had additional service on it that wasn’t included in the order for my wifes machine. The correct configuration is indeed cheaper coming in at $694.20. See what I mean about confusing though?

  • Anonymous

    Dell’s got one thing right – they have HUGE customer service issues and shoud address them. Jon Couch: 40 minutes to get your billing address changed? That IS a huge improvement!!!! In May it took me an hour and five with the final call being a three way between Honduras, India and me, so I’m thinking "Whoa Dell Dude – you are really making progress!"

  • Anonymous

    I might believe you when you prove your CSRs can understand and speak ENGLISH. Then we can talk about wait time and try another department.

  • Anonymous

    While: "Last quarter, there were more than 400 million visits to dell.com.  On a daily basis, we take more than 150,000 calls, process thousands of e-mails and engage in thousands of chat sessions.  It all adds up to millions of customers per week.", Dell has made many millions of dollars.  

    So you play in the big leagues.  Glad you’ve decided to play to win the whole game, not just with the big hitters.  My company is doing a desktop refresh moving from all Compaq/HP to Dell.  Surely we got a good deal – and we buy desktops by the thousands and laptops by the hundreds.  Have not been able to recommend Dell to others due to infamous support issues, so if you can reform you’ll win the game.  No one expects overnight course correction but tangible progress will earn you goodwill that will translate into more of those billions.  Good luck – really!  Hope Dell can show the industry how to do it.

  • Anonymous

    With regard to customer service improvement, please be careful when emphasizing "friendly, patient, empathetic", and make sure that it doesn’t become an artificial thing that just gets in the way.

    One of your competitors, still probably dealing with it’s major merger, has reps that are trying so hard to be empathetic that they sprinkle and interrupt the conversation with obviously canned statements like "I understand why you are so upset", which is said even if you are not upset! Between the language barrier and the unending "false empathy" statements, it can eventually get pretty frustrating when you just want some answers.

    I suspect that those reps have been given a list of empathetic statements that they are told to use, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they even are measured against an empathy goal for it. That’s really pushing it too far, and defeats the whole purpose of a good customer service experience.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also amazing that I can’t pay my corporate account with Dell Financial online.  I actually have to mail a check, 3 actually, since purchases are not bundled together.  Paying online for a MAJOR computer manufacturer should be expected.  Just my frustrated opinion.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoy this lip service. Customer support has been terrible for YEARS now. And I complained for YEARS about the quality of support and of the product. Dell has done it’s damage in my life.

    I also can’t believe this:

    "And you want the dell dude (or dudette) that you talk/chat with to be friendly, patient, empathetic and, above all else, knowledgeable about you and your problem. "

    No, the fact is I really don’t care if they are friendly, patient, or empathetic. I want two things out of my customer service rep, I want 1) to be able to understand what they are saying, and 2) I want them to fix the problem the first time.

    The fact is, my household has worked with over 10 dell machines which were provided to my family members for business purposes from employers. Four of those ten machines, were attempts to replace for one defective machine. Each subsequent replacement also had a defect of some kind. None of those ten machines lasted longer than 2 years in working order. And as a household built on computer use, we take good care of them.

    Talking to customer support, many of them did not understand simple technical terms I was using to describe the problem. Then, when they were reading their script from the screen, or talking in general, their accent make it impossible for me to understand.

    Tech support knows less than I do about the problems facing the laptops, and they are resistant to taking the whole machine back and replacing it. Replacing a whole machine part by part is inefficient, but that seems to be the dell plan. Especially when on occasion Dell wants to replace the hard drive because the monitor is not displaying a signal (who’s bright idea was that?). Maybe if I could understand asian languages I could get better service.

    As far as I’m conserned dell laptops are throw-aways. I will never buy one again, and now recomend other brands to customers and friends. It is nice that I am an active member of the IT community and can actually reduce Dell’s marketshare in my own small way.

    Throw away your dell, because it’s only a matter of time until it will give up.

  • Anonymous

    Laura-

    great post.  at some point someone must combat all the negetivity with a "yeah, we know, we’re working on it" post.  

    As to where to start – Small business.  I don’t know what you are doing in SB that is different from say Home customers, but SB support is great.  Call wait times are low, and problems get fixed – fast.  CSR reps are native english speakers.  Use what you are doing here as a model for the others.  

    Cheers and thanks for your post.

  • Anonymous

    Laura,

    I was surprised to see you offer up excuses to basic business operating challenges. You even mentioned complexity when discussing order fullfillment. You know, I seem to remember a time not too long ago that order fulfillment and logistical excellence were the hallmark of Dell’s business model.

    I am glad to see Dell working on its issues. But shouldn’t customers expect that? Remember, business is simple… complexity comes through the interactions and performance of the people in the process. While I respect large corporate hierachies, they are also the root of a lot of problems or the failure to take advantage of real opportunities. Vice-presidents and process engineers? Hmmm….

    My experience with Dell goes back a little while, I chose an ABD solution when I was looking for a PC to serve as a low-volume server for some software development work I was doing… your representatives refused to answer any questions about components that had drivers for any other O/S than what was in your offering. I had no problem finding a competitor of yours that stepped up to the plate, saved me thousands of dollars and gained my business.

    You may want to check out our web site and our My-Leverage product. While it is designed to help employees, if you substitute ‘Dell’ for ‘you’ you may come to some critical insights of benefit to Dell and your customers.

    Matt Thevenot

    E2KITS, inc.

  • Anonymous

    wow – so the problem with Dells customer service is that your customers expectations are too high – nice – am I the only reader who finds this post extremely patronizing? I guess the only solution here is no more customers – that will fix your problems for sure. My recommendation: redesign the products around how we actually use them, invest in training and empowering your service agents and impliment a voice-of-the-customer process in your service organization that garuantees that the (whole) company starts to actually listen to customers and stops placating them (with OS-support etc.). I switched to mac after my last Dell broke – best decision I ever made – Im forced to deal with dell at work – hey, my job eats the costs of the downtime – but at the end of each day, I just cant wait to get home to my powerbook. Dells days of valuing investors ove customers are numbered.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that it would help if the service agents had additional flexibility during the support process.  It is obvious that they work off scripts and are instructed not to deviate from them.  There also needs to be differentiation between complex and simple problems such as a clear hardware failure.

    My last Dell experience:

    Upon booting my Dimension, I got a command line window with an error message indicating that my CPU fan had failed.  I verified that this was indeed the case and called Dell.  "Mary" took my call.  From her accent, I can assure you her real name isn’t Mary.

    I explained the situation and Mary insisted that we go through a long and complicated troubleshooting process that lasted in excess of 40 minutes.  It included removing and re-installing the fan, re-booting several times, etc.

    Mary finally came to the end of her script and concluded that the fan was indeed broken and asked what time I would like a technician to arrive to replace the fan.  I told Mary that I did not have the time to wait for a technician and to simply send the new fan.  She told me that this couldn’t be done as it was against policy, posed potential warranty issues, etc.  I reminded Mary that I had already removed and re-installed the fan and that as an IT professional I thought this was within the scope of my capabilities.

    She finally relented and sent the part.  It arrived the next morning and I was shocked to see Fedex return shipping documents for the failed fan.

    Some questions from this incident:

    Why couldn’t we simply send the $4 fan without the 40 minute troubleshooting exercise?  This fell into the category of an uncomplicated, clear cut hardware failure, but Mary’s instructions required that we do the dance.

    Why does Dell wnat a dead $4 fan back?  Failure analysis?  There aren’t many ways for a fan to break…

    Finally and most importantly, how much did it cost Dell in dollars and customer loyalty to replace a $4 fan?

    Some observations:

    Dell says its developing more and better tools for its service technicians.  I hope that these aren’t simply additional scripts, or hoops that your customers must jump through.  The focus needs to be on the customer experience, not cost savings.

    It was aparent that Mary had little or no technical knowledge and was simply reading a script.  She was very polite, but clueless.

    If Dell is serious about improving the customer experience, it needs to not only listen to its customers, but take action to address their concerns.  I’ve seen several posts on this blog and elsewhere asking for call centers staffed with prople that speak english as their native language and that have at lease a passing famaliarity with the technology.  Dell’s current approach is to adopt the least cost model and off-shore its call centers.  This is clearly not what your customers want.  

    I said it before and I’ll repeat it here.  Service has become the key differentiator between PC manufacturers.  The critical question is what is Dell going to do about it?

  • Anonymous

    I think you guys are doing great. Don’t listen to these jealous people who dont understand how hard it is to run company. They claim they have problems, but there most likely the people who have problems, because they don’t know how to operate a computer. I think you guys are doing a great job in general and also with this blog. GREATEST IDEA EVER. I currently own a Dimension 9100 that rivals your new XPS ( tons of upgrades mind you) and an Alienware m5500 laptop, both of which I enjoy. I am glad that you guys own Alienware now, and hopefully some of your strategies can be displaced to them.

  • Anonymous

    Though some problems you do have is tech support, that I will not lie about. You have to understand if someone calls and says my laptop or my computer isnt booting, there are NO ERROR codes to be read. Stop making these people read scripts when they have no idea what they are doing. Other than that GREAT JOB!!

  • Anonymous

    Laura,

    I am so glad you posted on this new blog. I just today had an interaction with you tech support department and would like to suggest how Dell could save a lot of money and serve there customers better. BTW when I have finally reached a live person their knowledge, demeanor and empathy have been excellent. I don’t fault them a bit.

    Background: I brought a Inspiron Core Duo notebook this past April. In June the screen developed a defect. I called June 28 and was walked through the diagnosis process and did indeed verify that the screen was defective. It wasn’t a work stopper. On July 9 I called back to go over the diagnosis and get the process started for a replacement. I have an onsite agreement so the tech assigned me a case # and a dispatch #. The repair tech would call me when the part arrived and schedule a visit  at my convenience. So far, so good. He said expect Tues or Wed.

    So today is Thurs and I started to get concerned. So I thought I would call and check the status. No bid deal;5 minutes. Would you belive 45 minutes.

    As your post points out customer support is balkanized. I had to go thru voice mail hell. The voice recognition is not the best so I have to repeat, the option I want is not listed and it is difficult to get to a live person.

    I suggest that the branching be reorder. First it should ask new sales, tech support or existing case. that’s it. Then people like me could select option three, enter my case number and be routed automatically to the right group. What’s the use of a case number if I have to rehash the story each time or navigate voice mail thrown in with other callers who don’t have a case number or even purchased yet.

    That way your existing customers would get better service, your 800 # bill for people on hold would be reduced greatly and every one wins.

    So when I finally spoke with my tech he could not give me an answer why I hadn’t been called yet. He promised to look into and send me an email on the status. As of midnight I haven’t got an answer.

    By the way I did try the web site to see if I could look up my case # or  dispatch # but no luck either.

    So what a waste of my time.

    What really burns me is that there was no mechanism for speaking to someone who can effect change. Now with this blog I can get this off my chest where it will do some good.

    BTW I am very happy so far with the notebook, my first. Very fast, screen is incredibly sharp and bright (my biggest reason I took this long). This is my only PC now, and I am loving the portable lifestyle.

    I am a blogger myself, so I welcome you to the blogosphere and the web 2.0 ethic of transparency.

  • Anonymous

    Glad that Dell is finally going to a simplified pricing structure- less rebates / coupons

    Actually dell is killing off its own brand by

    – trying to sell on price than quality – the dells lag way behind ibm in sturdiness

    – not sticking to a simple and cool design-constant changes – wide screens/diff resolutions- keep it simple.

    – stop those coupons on slickdeals etc… The amount that someone expects to pay for dell has come down with those hefty promotions that people are waiting for ever for coupons and no longer willing to pay even 1000$ for a entry dell laptop anymore.

    – need a better affiliate program

  • Anonymous

    I think you can make significant inroads into customer satisfaction by moving your customer service call centers back to the USA.  Being the network admin at my office, I call Dell support several times a week, and I have to tell you, I generally find trying to explain the problem to the Indian voice on the other end of the line to be far more irritating than the problem itself.

    I think your sales department should also cut prices in general, instead of scalping those people who don’t know to look for coupons on techbargains.com.

  • Anonymous

    Fine — you’ve made a statement of committment. Where does the commitment now lie? Who has the accountability? Has this filtered down the the person on the other end of my call or email? Not to divert from the strategic initiative, but how is my current prblem going to getr solved … still wating, still see "promises to follow up" by multiple sources – but no action. I feel as though I am in an endless loop – HELP!!

    Does the new strategy include an ombudsman to intervene when support stalls?  

    I appreciate the statement of "we will do better" – but this needs action.

  • Anonymous

    I have two suggestions that could accelerate Dell solving its enormous problems and poor repuation regarding support: (1) Re-allocate 25% of your ad budget into support, and (2) structure support into your marketing department.  Support is about customer relationships.  Marketing should be about customer relationships..

  • Anonymous

    Ohhh Dell. It’s nice Dell is finally addressing customer support issues, but it’s a shame it took a couple quarters of lackluster growth for Dell to step back and try to fix things. To throw in my two cents, to me, a PC is a PC, what sets a PC manufacturer apart is how good their support is when something breaks. The PC part of any manufactuers business seems to be now pretty commoditized, you are all selling the same stuff for similar prices. What sets one company apart from another is the coustomer support, therefore the last few years it should not have been treated as an afterthought, it should have been a number one priority for your business. I was a happy Dell customer until something broke and I had to call coustomer support, which was probably one of the most frustrating experiences ever. Never (and I mean NEVER) again.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a suggestion that would save customers time and save you time and money:

    You probably already track the most commonly asked questions.  Among the 50 most commonly asked questions, some of them could theoretically be resolved in a couple of minutes.  Two examples are:

    Address Change

    Ordering backup discs with O/S, drivers (many Dells ship without)

    It would be great if EVERY sales agent and tech support person had a list of the 5 or 10 most commonly asked questions and a one-click way for them to nearly instantly resolve these things.  Don’t transfer to the department that is supposed to do this simple task – just do it.

    I ordered backup discs with the O/S and drivers a few weeks ago and it literally took a total of 50 minutes – I started with chat, which, after a painfully slow dialog eventually transferred me to sales, which eventually transferred me to tech support, which then took over 20 minutes to actually order the discs (I then received two sets, and they weren’t precisely the same – this indicates to me that the disc set was not automatically configured based on the Dell system I own – which is stored in your system obviously since I ordered it from Dell).  Very little of this 50 minutes was spent waiting for initial contact.

    Many years ago, I worked briefly doing tech support for Microsoft Windows 3.1  We had a one click way to very quickly send off replacements for corrupt O/S discs.  Those calls always took less than 5 minutes.

    Maybe you can strive to get certain types of simple calls such as address changes and disc replacements in 5 minutes or less – with the person who first receives the call – no matter what their department.

  • Anonymous

    Laura…

    Over the past three months I have helped three people buy Dell Inspirons (6000/6400s), but have honestly begun to have second thoughts about recommending Dell because of bad service.

    In one of the cases, the built-in wireless mini-card could not connect to the person’s router. She made multiple calls to Dell (Small Biz) support, spending hours on the phone with people she could hardly understand, and ultimately was sent a reconditioned card of the same model # to install herself. (This replacement made no sense given the many postings on Dell’s messageboards suggested that this card had compatibility problems, and in fact had just been dropped as standard equipment on new 6400s and E1505s.)  As mother of two small babies, with no technical expertise, it was unreasonable to expect a person such as this to do internal surgery on her laptop, let alone not providing her any written instructions to do so.  She paid for onsite service, but could not get it.  Her first two months with Dell may have poisoned her taste for the brand forever.

    How can I as a consumer advocate in good faith recommend Dell to anyone who might suffer similarly if they have a problem.

  • Anonymous

    I also have had the call center circles of hell experience.  I own a company and for several years, the lean and mean years, I built my own computers (often Frankenputers from canabalized components).  At the end of last year it was time to upgrade my order desk and decided it would save me time, since I have almost none, to customize a box online.  After some surfing I decided Dell had the best bang for the buck, I bought an XPS.

    Right out of the box there was software – read Microsoft – Peanut Butter.  I called customer service to clean-up the gooey, sticky, mess.  The first problem was that the guy in India that I spoke was adament that his name was “David”.  Please!  I live in the Bay Area.  The accent is recognizable.  Its always bad to begin a relationship with a lie.  After being bounced through various tiers of “expertise” I was told to reload Windows.  I lost my cool and unkindly said that such a request implys that: 1. Dell is using the wrong operating system. 2. Dell’s burn-in and preship qualification process s**ks; or 3. Dell assumes that those buying its systems are tech challanged.  After four hours of wasted script reading I said I’d had enough and would call again the following day.

    To Dell’s credit my previous call was logged and I was immediately routed to Ottawa.  Where they couldn’t help.  Finally I was sent to a tech center in New York.  They were able to help!  Total time: 7.5 hours of phone time.

    I was wrong!  I can build a box, burn it in and put it into service in about the same amount of time I spent going through the circles of “customer service”; Despair, all who pass through these gates.

    Customer service is what brings customers back.  I have no reason to purchase another Dell.

    adeziner

  • Anonymous

    Okay, so where do I begin?  I have more than a score of Dell systems & notebooks ranging from lowly Dimension 2300s all the way up to two PE2800s (one with dual 3.6GHz Xeons and my latest pride & joy, which sports two hot yet really cool Paxvilles).  What I like most about your service is I rarely ever need it.  That speaks volumes as to the quality of your build.

    When I did need service on my Inspiron 600m, honestly, it was like a game to me.  I knew exactly what was wrong (the custom faux-wood cover panel was placing pressure in a specific spot on the rear of the LCD and causing a discolored/distorted area) and I knew exactly how to fix it (the cover panel needed to be removed).  Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to remove the cover myself and I didn’t want to risk damaging the LCD.  So I called up your tech support.  Here’s how it went:

    Dell: Let’s try changing the resolution

    Me [1.2 seconds later]: Okay I changed the resolution and the problem still there now what?

    Dell: Let’s boot into safe mode and try it.

    Me: [.5 seconds later]: Okay I’m in safe mode it’s still there

    Dell: You rebooted already?

    Me: Yeah, the computer is fast now what?

    Dell: Let’s go into the bios

    Me: [.1 second later]: I’m in the BIOS now the problem is still there

    Dell: [getting the hang of it]: Okay we’ll send someone to replace the LCD

    Me: The whole LCD doesn’t need to be replaced but if that’s how you guys want to handle it fine.

    The bottom line is, your tech agent was cooperative and respectful of my time and I got the next day service I paid for.  Good job.

    THE SAME CANNOT BE SAID of your newly acquired company, Alienware.  I won’t bore you with the details, suffice to say Alienware’s tech support call center is incompetent, full of people who have no issue outright lying to my face, and I have no expectation of having my dead Alienware ever being repaired in my lifetime.

  • Anonymous

    When a customer has a problem and they repeatedly try to get it resolved through customer – tech support, then if it is not satisfactorily resolved, the customer may eventually give up. Dell doesn’t honor it premium next business day support, so the next step is to take the issue to management.

    When I was having my BSOD problems and talking to India and getting nowhere, I decided to call Dell in Round Rock. I explained that I had a problem and I was getting nowhere in their normal channel, even though I had paid $500 extra for premium next business day support. I was informed that there was no one that I could talk to. So, I asked for Michael Dell’s email address and was told that he "DID NOT HAVE AN EMAIL Address".

    This was the final straw for me and this is when I wrote off Dell. I can send an email to Bill Gates and I can get a response. I did this in attempting to resolve my BSOD issue, except that I was making some suggestions for the next version of Windows. My email got routed to a senior executive and I received a follow-up email. Microsoft employees and executives will respond to substantive constructive email messages.

    Because of the way Dell has deliberately redesigned its customer – technical support, once you have your customers money, you tell your customers that it doesn’t matter what your problem is, you have no recourse.

    Then Dell’s executives why so many people are so unhappy with Dell and are posting about it on the internet. When a company tells its customers in effect "up yours", is it any wonder that there are a lot of mad people out there, who feel that they have been ripped off.

    Fixing customer – technical support is not rocket science. So long as Dell is only giving lip service to improving in improving its customer and technical support by putting a marketing – PR person in charge of this blog.

    Where is the meaningful dialog with Dell? Where are the tangible results? What is Dell’s plan? What is Dell thinking. When a customer buys a new computer and one of its parts is defective, whose bright idea is it to send a refurbished replacement?

    Maybe top level management needs to be replaced at Dell starting with Michael Dell. In the 90’s, Dell was an excellent company with excellent customer – technical support, so it not as though, Dell doesn’t know what it takes. Dell’s management wants their customers money, so they can post another record-making increase in net profits but you don’t see any need to honor your commitments to your customers.

    Even the EU is fining Dell for its deceptive business practices.

  • Anonymous

    I remember when I got my last Dell, an 8400, last year and the slideshow part of Windows XP wasn’t working.  I called Dell service to ask what to do and got the answer: reinstall Windows.  Now in my view that is not an answer.  And it is even more not an answer after the customer service rep took almost 40 minutes asking me the serial number of my computer, my monitor, etc etc only to tell me to reinstall Windows.

    I realize this was a problem with Window — a Microsoft and not a Dell product — but Dell would sure win me over by telling me exactly what to do quickly and helping me fix the problem as opposed to giving me the feeling the service rep had no knowledge of computers, or even Dell itself, and no real interest in helping me.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps if we got rid of the foreign workers calling themselves "Bob" and "Alice" who take forever to turn pages while they look through canned answers?  This is a highly ridiculed practice that even Dell makes use of.  Have you figured out yet whether this has finally cost you more regarding company image (harder to recoup in the long term) than the short term benefits you are realizing through "Bob" and "Alice"?

    And fielding questions about equipment that wasn’t even purchased from Dell is wasteful of the obviously limited company resources.  As a stockholder I consider that negligent waste.

  • Anonymous

    My one and only problem with Dell, has to do with it’s next day, on site service plan.  When my Dell computer ‘died’ one day (really, smoke coming out of it and everything!) I expected a service tech to show up and fix it the next day.  No way Dell was going to make that happen.  They wouldn’t replace it, or even give me a loaner while I sent it away to be fixed.  Customer expectaions aren’t too high, Laura.  Customers simply expect Dell to live up to their contractual obligations.  Dell, by having no intention to do so is defrauding it’s customers.

    Don’t even get me started on the Dell guy who called to sell me an extention on my ‘next day, on site’ service contract…..

  • Anonymous

    Long Comment, two sections.

    First:

    I have a suggestion for ALL computer companies to improve their offshore CSA.

    Good or Bad Customer Service often is due to communication problems or the lack there of.  In my experience with Dell’s (and other companies) offshore customer service agents, the difference between Good or Bad will be determined when the CSA answers two or three (or four) of my basic questions while I complete the tasks assigned to me by the CSA.

    1)  What country is the CSA located?

    2)  What time of day is where the CSA is located?

    3)  When is the next lunch or meal break for the CSA?

    4)  When in the end of your workday?

    What intrusive questions !!!!

    Actually, I am trying to establish two way converstations with the CSA.  CSA’s often refuse to answer the first question, inpart, I am sure, due to corporate requirements as well as problems due to racial, social and other geopolitical garbage.  Personally, I really don’t care whether the CSA is located in India, Philipines, Ireland or where ever, I am just trying to relate to the person, and better understand the CSA’s accent, vocabulary limitations, speech patterns, as well as the person’s willingness to relate to me.

    Good Customer Service happens when both parties can communicate with each other.

    Bad Customer Service happens when one party refuses to communicate with the other party.

    So why all of my “intrusive questions”?  Well, let’s see, I have had to reformate the HD of my Dell a total of 4 times in the 55 months that I owned the computer.

    No, no, not due problems related to Dell.  The first reformat was due to corrupted APC’s UPS (Universal Power Supply) software that shutdown the computer after a power failure and then refused allow the computer to restart (even in safe modes).  The nice Dell technicians worked with me in trying to isolate and correct the software problem (even though the APC software was user installed).

    And that reformat was a major chore for me as I had never done a reformat, and needed to get the businsess computer up and running by morning the next day.

    In the midst of the reformatting that I discovered the true need to communicate with offshore CSA.  A very patient CSA and then an even more patient second level technician worked with me trying to get the computer restarted.  When they failed to get the computer to properly restart, the second level technician determined that a reformat was appropriate, and passed me back to the first level technicians for the reformatting process.

    And suddendly, what had been a smooth going process (smooth going if you consider about 2+ hours of hair pulling frustration on my part being smooth going) turned into an ugly process…..

    …. I had reached the end of day at the call center….. people wanted to go home.

    Thus, from that point forward, whenever a potentially complex issue has arisen I start asking intrusive questions of the CSA….. basically I want to know if the person is going to be able to complete the troubleshooting tasks at hand without having to run into end of shift or lunch break issues.  One nice CSA agent for Microsoft actually truthfully answered my question  “I just back from my meal break and you can have me for the next 5 hours if you need me” …. and about two hours into the problem solving, the CSA actually asked me if I would allow him to take a quick restroom break (of course I would, gosh darn, I use a portable telephone just so I can walk, talk and take care of other matters).

    I had a dead HP all in one printer.  15 minutes with the nice offshore CSA person I declared my printer to be “toast”.  I guess “toast” does not translate well into what ever native language she spoke.  But a minute of laughter ensued as we discussed the various ways the Americans can describe a bad/dead object.  The CSA person actually said she could be fired for laughing with a customer…. her bosses could think she was laughing AT the customer.

    The nice overseas Microsoft CSA guy said the same kind of thing.  Not allowed to discuss personal business or engage in meaniless chatter.

    Had a problem with my MSN account after a software update that would not allow attachments to be received, but I could send attachments if the size was between certain values jpegs, but Excel files were restricted.  One big screwy thing.  Some way, I got passed to 11th to the exponential level technican located in good ole USA.  I was only the second person in the world that had discovered this little problem  (which turned out to be problem between the MSN software and their antivirus software which was corrected 3 days later after the next antivirus software update).  In the midst of trying to trouble shoot the problem, we are passing jpegs of various sizes in attachments.  I send a picture of my dog, and one of my wife.  I ask if the tech received the pictures.  Yes.  “What do you think?”   The tech’s response was puzzling…. “we are not allowed to comment on what we see”.  Gosh darn, this guy is 11th to the exponential level technician and he can’t tell me that I have a good looking dog?

    Anybody catching a pattern here?  We stupid Americans like to talk, and we like for people to relate to US.  So lighten up on the CSA’s.  Let them talk about their families and admit that they will be taking a required meal break in 30 minutes.  If I tell a joke, let them laugh.  If my wife is ugly in the picture that I just sent, then say so, I am a man, I can take it.

    Good converstations start with people being relaxed and relating to each other.  If I am calling your CSA’s, I am going to be tense, don’t make the situation worse by not communicating with me.

    Second:

    As stated previously, I have had to reformat my hard drive 4 times (THAT IS FOUR TIMES).

    The first time was clearly the fault of APC, and the nice people at Dell customer service took care of the problem even though the problem involved user installed software (TWO THUMBS UP TO DELL).

    The second time for the reformat was due to a virus that loaded during the install of my new printer.  Basically I suspect that I said yes to install new printer drivers, and most likely opened the computer to accept the virus that was pinging my computer at that very moment (the load time of the virus was right in the middle of the load time of printer drivers).  One of them UGLY viruses.  Beagle something or another was his name.  One of them viruses, trogans whatever that causes your nose to turn green, your toes to fall off, your wife to take your dog and move to her mothers, and your computer to send your bank account to Russia…. bottom line, Norton said it usually requires reformating HD.

    The third time was the very same day!!!

    After I re-installed XP (this was pre SP2 and the built in firewall), I allowed XP to call home to activate itself.  Well gosh darn, look what slipped into the computer, something named Beagle and three of his friends.

    My own fault.  Stupid.  You are suppose to load Norton, THEN let XP call home.  Norton’s suggestion was reformat.  Duh, my fault.

    Fourth time?  It wasn’t a virus.  Task manger is my favorite program.  I personally know every file in System32.  Regedit is my middle name.  And in case I missed something, Norton and one of those highly recommended free antivirus packages could not find a virus.  But don’t tell all of this to the Dell CSA’s.  It MUST BE a virus.  A virus that got past Norton Firewall and can not be detected by Norton Antivirus is the only thing that could cause your problem.

    The symptom was weird.  Page file was being consumed at a horrific rate.  After each restart, the amount of consumed page file was increasing.  And page file was being consumed at a rate of 10% per hour, thus causing even more restarts of the computer (which then lost a bit more page file with the subsequent restart).  At the point I called Dell CSA  the computer was loosing half of page file memory with reach restart.  Dell CSA’s answer to the problem….. MUST BE a virus.  Could not be anything else.

    This MUST BE a virus is a common theme for Dell CSA’s.  Yes, two of my reformat’s were clearly viral.  Norton was giving me flashing Red screens of warnings in both instances.

    BUT…… MUST BE a virus?  Always MUST BE?

    IF the virus got passed Norton, and could not be detected by another antivirus software, AND nothing, and I mean NOTHING, could be found in Windows, or System32, or Program Files, or Task Manager that should not be running, then why is the conclusion for virus a MUST BE?

    Yep, I reformated the HD.  Solved the problem.  Best conclusion of others was that I suffered from a corrupted driver or dll.  Eventually I might have been able to track the culprit down (if I did not loose all of my page file in the mean time), but reformating the HD was most likely the easiest and fastest solution.  For Dell CSA MUST BE a virus was an easy conclusion to a difficult problem.  Not the right answer, just an easy answer.

    And those easy answers (and incorrect answers) are the usual answer that many of us receive to our more complex problems.  Instead of blaming a virus, how about admitting that “I don’t know the source of your problem”?

  • Anonymous

    My biggest problem with the dell support has been with using the phone support. You will get transferred countless times even after going through a menu that is supposed to take you to the right place.Hiring another 5000 people for a call center in India is going to solve your support issues! Reconstruct your contact centers in the US please.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11100758/

    What is the point of hiring another 5000 people who I will have a hard time hearing/listening to and will just reconnect me with someone else? Why cant you just hire a smaller number of people who actually speak english as their native language and will deal with your problem personally? Just last week I called dell and was redirected to another  department which wasnt even open(dead ends indeed). I called back specifically asking when I could reach this department and the guy said they should be open even though they werent and he could not even tell me when they would be available. Long story short I still need to replace my video card and you would have better sales if you had a competent system.

    When I call to fix a problem with my computer I want to speak to one person who can handle everything. So for example they could give me tech support and then afterwards I could directly purchase replacement parts from them. No more nonsense.

    The one support service I was happy with was the online chat. I had received help on two occasions using this and was satisfied quickly both times but using this assumes that you have another computer in the house that is working so a decent phone support system is still needed.

    Im purchasing a new desktop soon. Possibly the 700xps if you can get it out in time. At this point im not sure though because the main reason I originally purchased from a manufacturer is your system’s dependability.

  • Anonymous

    I was surprised reading the replies since so many business customers complained about Indian tech support.  Except for a brief stint, we alway get support from US call center.  Our call usually last about 10 minutes.  Usually we told them what is broken and yes we did test this and done that diagnostic and they’ll say wait a minute while they document it and that’s it.  The part usually arrive the next day.  

    We usually only call tech support for replacement part.  We use Google and Dell forums for diagnosing problems.

    I am sure that Dell will find using the remote control software, blogged a couple of days ago, will help alot with tech support.   I found it invaluable at work and at home I used Logmein to help family members.  Just remember to talk to the user at every step and telling them what you are doing and why.

  • Anonymous

    Not too big on history, I’m guessing?  Where does Dell quantify the brand value or goodwill value?  Ford saved $11 per Pinto, but didn’t actually come out ahead you may recall (and yes, the "recall" pun is intended).  Dell needs to focus on quality hardware and quality support (the latter being lightyears away).  Put the people from Round Rock back on the phones.  Spend a lot on your support crew.  Don’t hire a guy named Rajneesh for $3.50 a day and make him tell me his name is "Joey".  That’s a crappy thing to do to him and to me.  I don’t buy Dell these days for the same reason i don’t buy Lenovo- I don’t approve of what the company stands for or how it conducts itself.  Put a price on that point of view if you can.  It may only be $0.11 per Inspiron (the Pinto of laptops, now literally thanks to the battery-fire thing).  

    And perhaps beyond the scope of this particular post, there’s also the irony of the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation committing $300 for "global childrens issues" and "central Texas community issues" as the benefactors profit by moving jobs out of Texas.  Maybe central Texas wouldn’t have so many community "issues" if the folks there still had jobs?  

  • Anonymous

    There is no magic wand, but there are some customer service things that would make CS better.  A simple one would be to move the call centers back to the U.S.  I know it is much cheaper in India, but is the loss of customers worth the savings?  I don’t know – maybe it is.  My XPS 600 is not worth the $3000 I paid for it, and when I had a problem I spent over an hour on the phone with a guy that didn’t pick up on common phrases, pauses, etc. in our conversation.  It was very difficult to communicate with him.  He was polite and tried to help, but he just wasn’t efficient and a lot of time was wasted.

    Put your call centers near technical colleges where you can get lots of cheap American college student labor.  They know just as much and are cheaper.  

  • Anonymous

    Laura, reading through your post, I think I saw two things;

    -Workforce Management was not being handled correctly, but has since been corrected. Nothing but good 🙂

    -Processes are being unifed/corrected, also yay!

    -As mentioned numerous times by other commenters here, out-sourced tech support jobs to India aren’t hitting it. I don’t care where the centre is located, but the agent has to be able toconnect with me on a human level and a technical level as well. And yeah, "Bob"… right. Just be honest about the name.

  • Anonymous

    Laura, I hate to say this but your post, while long on copy, was pretty short on any real, substantial information. Other than reiterating what Dell has been saying that you are going to be spending $100 million to “fix” customer service problems, you haven’t given much concrete evidence of what steps you are taking.

    When you say you are radically restructuring the contact centers can you be more specific? Are they coming back stateside?

    What exactly is a holistic look? Sounds kind of squishy

    What kind of tools will these service agents have – a better script to follow or more independence to really fix the problems?

    Lots of clichés, but not a lot of substance as far as I can tell, but maybe it’s just me.

    And then in conclusion you say “We have a plan we believe in, and we’re ready to share it and get your feedback. Okay, what exactly is the plan?

  • Anonymous

    At this moment I’m on hold with Gold support.  Any particular reason why I must be subjected to the same three or four snippets of  information ("blah, blah, blah. Just visit us at dell.com/goldsupport dot com …") over and over again?  Say it once and then give me something useful like an estimated wait time.  To tell the truth, I would rather listen to Vogon poetry than to hear that woman tell me "… Just visit us at dell.com/goldsupport dot com" one more time.  Even elevator music would be preferable.  The long hold times are a problem, made excrutiating by these repeated messages.  Do you really think I will change my mind after listening to the same message 74 times and hang up and use the web site?  My mind is numb by then.  I’m for sure not listening.  Besides, I use the web site when it makes sense to use it.  If I just have a question or the need of clarification, I use the web site.  If my system is dead in the water because the memory is bad, like it is right now, then I call.  

  • Anonymous

    Just throwing in my two cents.  You’ve lost me as a customer.  I bought a desktop and the Dell Axim about 2 years ago and the customer service was so horrible that I will not go "Dell" again.  I’ve resolved to work with local resellers – at least that way I can call someone without 1/2 hour hold times and understand the language they’re speaking.  Just a thought, you really need to test major changes like outsourcing your call centers to India before moving full speed ahead with that.  And I mean poll customers for their feedback, not just test it and evaluate it internally.  These are costly mistakes that have been made.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll quote the first line of your post:

    "So… you wanna talk about service?  Let’s do it. "

    The problem is that we’re not talking – your post is an admirable effort at opening dialogue with the readers of this blog, but then if you don’t respond at all to any of the comments that are raised, then its just as if you hadn’t posted anything at all. Talking, after all, does imply an exchange between conversing parties…and thats what’s missing here.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with Laura Bosworth that the process for good customer service is a complex process. However with all other bloggers I also agree Dell needs to get its call centres back to USA and UK. As a UK citizen i find it extremely difficult to communicate with the foreign advisor. One of the reason is that the level of understanding of English is not adequate by the advisor or sales rep. I have had many problems with the Inspiron 6000 and I have intermediate knowledge on computers and software since 1998, most of the solutions the adviser gives is to reinstall the drivers. I did this several times but still it did not solve the problem. I am at present stuck with the laptop but in due course will purchase another but I am having second thoughts with Dell. I agree that Laura and her colleagues have a huge task, but they can resolve the problems by listening to what the customer says and wants. With the latter I mean Dell should listen to its customers whether home user or corporate user because its the LANGUAGE barrier that communication breaks down. The only way to resolve the communication barrier is as mentioned earlier to either USA or UK with dedicated staff that will strive to assist the customer and make it a more enjoyable experience. I know cutting call lengths will take atleast 1-2 years. However, if Dell trains its staff to a more competent level that can deal with Inspirons, Latitude, Optiplex etc etc issues more accurately then maybe that is a start. Dell needs to go back to the foundations of customer services. It is a very big organisation but sometimes taking two steps back can take you one step forward. To be honest I don’t blame the foreign reps for their English, its more with Dell that the issues needs to be resolved. If Dell are taking this very seriously then we should see a drastic move. The call centres in India should be monitored at all times because in the past when I wanted to know more information regarding how to return the product as I deemed it faulty, I went atleast through 8 people with a waiting time of 40 mins or more to find out my call was cut by the advisor. This cost me in terms of hanging on to "find" the correct person. I could tell the advisor was panicking which then jumped to another advisor and then another. This is time consuming and deliberately by the Dell staff to avoid customers who are not happy with their purchase. If Laura Bosworth is reading this please and I say please start from the foundation on how to communicate with customers. Its not that difficult, all you need is dedicated staff that will do their job and strive to help the customer have a better exprience. I believe no advisor should put customers on hold and then put the phone down. This makes the customer very angry and they will take their anger on the next advisor. You can’t blame the customer its your own staff. I am sure Dell has the software to monitor its calls and checking whether they staff is doing the job properly. I know you will probably think I am writing things that dont make sense. But it is the truth if you want customer rentention then you need to your customer service upto date. There should be no scripts to follow as one blogger mentioned regarding the foreign staff not knowing what to do when the matter gets to an extremely difficult position. I know this from my past experience but now when i want something to be resolved it gets to a breaking point to think why did I ever purchase a Dell system if their CSR does not know how to handle customers. Laura please make your bosses realise this is a bigger issue than making profit because profit will only be made if the customer comes first.

  • Anonymous

    Laura,

    I applaud your attempts to turn around to put customer into Dell Service.   I’m a federal government buyer of computer equipment, and I also manage a HDI certified IT service Desk of Tier 2 and 3 support agents.   I have a couple of suggestions for you based on your posting:

    First: throwing $100 million onto a problem deeper than cash is not going to cast the magic-fix-this wand and resolve your issue.  I bet you a nice bottle of red that I could fix your problem for $100’000. There are several deep-seated issues that have caused your market-share to go to HP, and your Customer Service is one of them.  It’s been going on for a few years.

    For example:

    I’ve called your tree to get the highest-level tech support for our workstations two years ago. By the time I figured out who to speak to that handled Federal purchases (20 minutes), the person was just reading scripts on her machine. She had about as much tech skills as a turnip.  I asked to be escalated to the next tier after wasting another 20 minutes.  15 minutes on hold, and I get another person who is suppose to be tier 2, yet she doesn’t know too much. Suddenly, I speak with a guy and we hash out our problem at the right tech level and figure out what was going on with our workstations – 2 minutes of geekspeak later we had a fix.  That took 1.5 hours.

    Second: the next time I called was one year later. Again, hard time to figure out who to speak to – got transferred to the ‘federal’ help desk, in INDIA.  I’m a Reddy (aka Hindi), and even I had a hard time understanding his Punjabi accented English. His arrogance, snotty attitude made me simply hang up and search the terrible community/forum postings on the issue I was seeking.  Seems that a lot of people were having the same issue, but no one from dell were responding.

    Solution 1. When a company buys computers in bulk (i.e. with six or seven figures attached to the purchase), give them ONE number to call. When I call, I expect to speak to a tier one person in under 2 minutes. If she/he can’t fix my issue, another 2-5 minutes to speak to a tier 2 geek.  I want a GEEK to GEEKSPEAK with.   that is what I expect for spending my MILLIONS on dell products.  Still listening? Good.

    Solution 2. Get rid of any overseas outsourced call centre where english is not their first language.  There are affordable call centre’s in Monton NB Canada for example, and others in Ireland, UK.  British accents are VERY easy to understand, and Canaidanees is better even than our American.  Stop listening to execs who can save you a million or two on overseas callcenters.  If you must, use those guys as tier 2-3 support for INTERNAL dell issues – you know, the geeks you call when DELL needs help.

    Solution 3. Make your web-based self-service more modern.  Go visit any vBulletin discussion form and see how they work. Then go make one for every model of computer you make.  Let the community support itself.  Sticky FAQ’s, how-to’s, etc.  Let your staff pick those who help you out moderate your own forums – heck, pay them a few hundred a month, or give them a new computer.  Let people post inside, have people answer the problem, and then you have a community-oriented community-based knowledge base. BTW – it’s self-sustaining too.

    Solution 3 – make returning products as easy as dropping off a letter. The amount of time spent with numerous phone calls from customers calling back, with the same issue, would be easier and cheaper to let them RMA anything they want just because.  It’s far cheaper for a tech to take a look at something (which you can outsource), figure what needs to be replaced – or reinstalled, and then fired back.  Heck, even firing over a new computer would be cheaper than 10-20 phone calls that total over 10 hours of customer service time.  RMA should be easy-peasy with a no-hassle return/exchange.  And make it quick – under 1 week.

  • Anonymous

    I read the first reply and thought "oooh juicy" — then I read a few more later and thought "OOoooh the replies from Dell should be interesting~~"

    I read the Blog the first few days, but got bored when employees weren’t commenting on replies that seemed — commentable.

    This post was created July 13. Today is July 19.

    Where’d Laura go?

  • Anonymous

    Laura,

    It’s nice to hear that Dell realizes some of these issues, but I must voice my agreement with many of the readers here – I think one of the greatest things Dell could do to improve their customer service department is to move their call centers back to the USA. For one thing, it would provide many more Americans with much-needed jobs. Secondly, I work in the IT industry for a mid-sized business, and as a systems administrator, I don’t need someone to walk me through powering off my notebook and rebooting it. The people that answer your phones from India, or wherever it is, are obviously running off a script, and they don’t know anything about computers, so if you ask them to skip a step, they’re completely lost. In the business world, I don’t have time to troubleshoot an obviously-defective mouse for 45 minutes with an incompetent foreign service rep. However, that appears to be my only option.

    Oh, and another thing. This new voice-recognition menu system you guys have implemented for your phone menus? AWFUL! It doesn’t recognize anything I say, and it consistently is telling me "I’m sorry. I didn’t understand." It takes me three times as long to get to any kind of tech support (assuming, of course, that it even routes me to the correct place at all), and I’d MUCH rather just wait on hold for 3 minutes for a service rep. Especially if you can train all your service reps on all your PCs, instead of having dedicated "Inspiron specialists," and "Dimension specialists," and "Optiplex specialists." No wonder Dell support is going down the tubes…

  • Anonymous

    My company purchased 2 inspiron notebooks and we have to comment on the sheer amount of additional software that is added by you guys.  We have spent the last 3 hours trying to remove software.  Some of it can’t be removed by Control Panel, so we have to do it the hard way.  What gives?  The performance slowdown is ridiculous.  We spent money for a dual core chip and one of them seems to be always working to load all of this extra software.  Any ideas other than a full system wipe and XP install?

  • Anonymous

    My feelings with Dell are mixed.

    I like to keep things in perspective, so I can’t be all negative about Dell.

    De system’s that they deliver have good quality.

    I have worked a long time with their "Precision" workstation series, and they were fast, and cleverly designed.

    Ad most people here, my experience with Dell support was bad.

    I won’t go into details…it’s getting repetitive.

    It seems to me that Dell consists of a core of people that are very clever and can design systems etc. very well but the servicedesk feels as if it consists of people picked from the street, drilled in a day and put behind a desk.  

    I have had quite some experience on a servicedesk myself before my current job as full time system engineer, and I still like servicedesk work. It’s about knowledge, structure (ITIL) and keeping customers happy and especially make them feel GOOD about a company.

    I think good support effectively a least doubles  customers satisfaction.

    They have a product they like, so the like you a bit, something breaks down, you helpt them even better then they expected –> they love you and will buy again in the future.

    With high-end expensice products (such as xps700) this is even more true..

  • Anonymous

    Just another post.

    There was a previous post regarding "value added software", also known as free software that Dell and other companies so generously add to the computers that we purchase.

    My question is pretty simple.  How can we as customers avoid having "value added software" from being added to our Dell computers.

    This "value added software" is a real pain for us IT people.

    In the past year I have to clean up two computers for my small family business.   I am the IT person by birthright, and basically because the prez, aka "dad" was born before slide rules were invented.

    One of the computers was a nice Dell Pent D with 1 Gig RAM etc that I actually purchased for my father the PREZ of the company.  I must have spent a good two hours cleaning up his computer so that he could actually enjoy using the computer.

    The problem?  "Value added software", also known has shovelware.  Included in the shovelware mix is that fine predatory software company AOL.  I even ordered the Earthlink internet package in an attempt to avoid the dreaded AOL, but alas both of those fine pieces of garbage were preloaded on the computer.

    And everybody knows about AOL.  Disabling the foul smelling dog droppings is not as simple as using the control panel add/remove program, as AOL has itself loaded and cross loaded into every possible knock and cranny of the computer registry as possible.  Even after I figuretively sprayed Lysol on the computer, some part of the AOL stench still remained and would pop up at in opportune times trying to load itself as the default internet browser.

    And Mom, bless her heart, decided that she needed a new computer because Dad and got one, and remember hearing the foul words that I spoke about Dell and AOL et al, decided that she would buy an off the shelf HP from the local office super store.  I spent the better part of 5 hours cleaning that lovely sewer pipe of preloaded spyware and memory hogging scum.

    Think I am happy about shovelware?  Not on your life!!

    I know, AOL and other predators actually PAY the computer companies to preload their garbage on the computer.  That is nice.  So, why do I hafta buy computers loaded with the dog droppings?  Is there a nice way that I can pay $$ more and avoid having to spend hours of my precious business day cleaning up a problem that I did not create nor desired?

    What do I consider shovelware?

    Anything from AOL (the should be be pretty obvious), as well as ANY internet browser other than MS IE.  IF I want another browser, I can download the browser at a later date.

    Any software that is a trial version of anything.

    Any software that is available as a free download, ie REAL Player,  Google Search DivX, Yahoo Messenger etc etc etc.  I have 3mps DSL, I can download any free software that I so desire.

    And while I am at it, anything that RINGS HOME is also a pain in my backside.  Home often does ATI or nVidia really produce a new graphics driver?  Do we really need computers that are freshly produced that need to ring home to update the drives the day that we receive the computer?  I really doubt the graphics cards will need a new driver in the next 360 days, but computers are being set to ring home for graphics software, Adobe and other software products on a daily/weekly basis.  Why????

  • Anonymous

    I am one of those frustrated and unhappy dell customer. I am not a techie and I am immigrant from Hyderabad, India.

    I am in customer service business for the past 30 years.

    My take on Dell is,  it got too big and acted like all big business do in this country, pennywise and pound foolshi. Attend meetings and hire PR firms and consultants and focusgroups and forget customer

    Dell tried to save pennies to improve their stock price and i ncrease their stock options. That is the reason they moved their call center to India.Never in million years they thought how customer fees about the change or cared less. Or coupon will take care of it.

    Customer does not want inexpensive or cheap deal. They want "VALUE". Look at Toyota and learn. Toyota does not sell cheap but they sell value.Toyota is not looking qtr to qtr, they are looking for life long relationship.

    What I saw so Dell is not getting it. They are not sorry for what they did to customers, they are only sorry that they got caught.

  • Anonymous

    QUOTE

    When you contacted us to fix a problem we didn’t always act like “one Dell.”  Our processes/policies often required multiple groups to get involved.  That’s not good.  It really slowed down our ability to resolve issues and made it too easy for things to fall through the cracks between groups.  This led to difficult return policies, cumbersome rebate policies and confusing pricing structures, for example.  Our agents had to transfer calls to get customers to the people who could solve their problems since they can only see their small piece of the pie.  The organization became complex and difficult for our service advocates to navigate and fix your problems.  We know that.

    UNQUOTE

    Well, my experience with Dell Customer Service is different.

    I am waiting for a Dell Customer Service "A" to fax me a document that Dell require me to sign (regarding replacement notebook).  I waited for a day but no fax arrived.  I send the email to the Customer Service, no response.  I phoned the Customer Service center, the customer service "B" respond to tell me that the Customer Service "A" is not available (on seminar and will be back next day).  Customer Service "B" promised that she will informed Customer Service "A" about the document.

    The next day, no fax.  I phoned again the office of Dell for Customer Service.  Customer Service "C" respond and said "she will pass the info to Customer Service "A".  The third day, still no fax.  No call back.  Nothing.

    I phoned again and ask a customer service to help me.  That is Customer Service "D".  CS "D" didn’t even ask what help she can give me.  So I ask for help.  I told her that I’m waiting for the document that your office need to send to me so the process of replacing my notebook will start, Note that, the Customer Service has a record of the incident # and she or her department approved a replacement will be done.

    The CS "D" said "Sorry, I cannot help.  We need to wait for CS "A" to contact as she is assigned to your case".

    How I wish that your Customer Service Department in every part of the world has the access to customer accounts. I’m sure every department has assignments – CS for Home users, CS for SMB, CS for Corporate.  Those assigned CS for every usergroup should access to their usergroup’s customers so if the CS is not around for # of days, the customer need to wait for CS to be available (after his or her seminar or his or her holidays).  

    I can understand a delay or "no idea" response of CS if the case that I’m bringing to them is not about customer service, not about after sales, not about returns, not about replacement.  The fact is I phoned the "right" group or department so there should not be a "sorry I cannot help you as I’m not assigned to you".

    If the CS "B", "C", and "D" only has access then maybe… the very first day that I phone .. the document is with me already but nope… I have to wait for CS "A" to be available (after her seminar).  I have to wait for 4 days.

    I really hope that this comment of mine will be posted.  I’m not asking for solution since this "done".  The document has been received and your CS apologized for the delay.

    All I want is this post gets posted and to let you know a customer experience and looking forward for improvement so my next purchase will become a good experience.

  • Anonymous

    Mohammed Tahir Taj said:

    QUOTE

    I agree with Laura Bosworth that the process for good customer service is a complex process

    UNQUOTE

    Yup, especially if the reports received by their CS from their Tech Support department is a lie.  

    The process is "Customer need to phone the Tech Support (TS).  If the tech support confirmed it is an issue with the hardware (out-of-the-box & satisfaction/return policy is still active), the tech support will assign incident # then pass it to next department.  Depending on the request of the customer.  

    If the Tech guy reported a lie or wrong report, the Customer Care’s response to the Dell user is … of course.. wrong.

    I have such incident.  The TS lied to the CS.  The TS said to the CS "Before the customer phoned us, she reformatted/reinstall Windows so it’s not our notebook’s fault but the customer’s fault".

    That report of the TS to the CS is a lie because I didn’t do anything with tne notebook other than press the "power on" button, turn off the sytem, then press the "mediadirect" button to view a movie.  The MediaDirect didn’t load.  

    When I phoned the TS for support, they are the one who instructed me to do the following:

    1.  Repair MediaDirect (failed to fix)

    2.  Delete all partition except dell diag partition

    3.  Fresh install Windows XP then install all drivers

    4.  Re-install MediaDirect

    The TS and I was on the phone for nearly 2 and half hours.

    In short, they are the one who asked me to delete, reformat, reinstall but their report to the CS is a lie.  

    So yes, I agree with you Mohammed Tahir Taj… that it’s a complex process.  That will be hard for their CS to give the right answer to Dell customer.  The problem doesn’t happens with Customer Service Dept only but also from their Technical Department (those who answer the user-phone support calls then pass the information to the next department).

    Suggestion to Dell:

    Record all conversations between a customer and a Dell representative so you can review each conversation everytime there is a complaint or whenever you want to evaluate your representative.  You’ll sure… can find out who among your customer service is doing good or bad.  They can find out who is giving the right report – the TS or the customer.  They can find out whether the response given by everyone in Dell who has access to phone support is doing a good job or not.

  • Anonymous

    All Dell cares about is sales. If you have any problems  you need to ring an 0870 number and hold on for ages. You are then passed from person to person because either the person to whom you are speaking doesn’t understand the problem or else can’t be bothered. It is also difficult to understand most of the staff. I won’t buy dell again.

  • Anonymous

    Improved customer service? I just had a terrible experience trying to purchase a replacement battery for my Dell laptop.  The first person I spoke to at your call center had such a heavy accent that I finally had to say, "I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude but I can’t understand what you’re saying — can you please pass me on to another operator?"  After finally accomplishing that, the next person, whose accent was different and only slightly more understandable, didn’t have a clue about your products.  It took forever to get the right part number and then he couldn’t answer the most basic of questions.  35 minutes of my time to buy a battery — I WILL NEVER PURCHASE ANOTHER DELL PRODUCT.

  • Anonymous

    Hi,

       One important word that Dell has always kept ahead of others is the word Experience. At Dell we start our day with the knowledge that any one can manufacture and sell computers, but what really sets a company apart is the value they provide for their customers and we have always believed in providing this value. Having said this, I will not claim that every thing is picture perfect, yes there are a few short comings that need to be fixed and there are things that have to be corrected. This process has been an ongoing one and at every step we take, there is a lot of self review involved in the process. The basis of this self review is completely based on the feedback we receive from you, our customers and at every point we take the necessary steps to ensure that things are correct and made right. I have observed that, there are a few of us who have indicated that they do not wish to buy another Dell system, this comment is what is most important to us, because it is customers such as these, who can tell us where they found a problem with the service and we can make the necessary corrections. I can only request every one of you to come forward and tell us what it is that needs to be fixed and I can assure you that everything will be done to enxure quality service is provided.

    Your Sincerely,

    A Dell Technical Specialist.

  • Anonymous

    Firstly fair play to you for setting up this blog. But this is only the start – please, please listen to what people on here have to say. For what it’s worth I think your hardware is excellent, but the customer service is so infuriatingly bad I will never buy Dell again until you get rid of your Indian call centre. The multitude of posts above support my feelings on the call centre and I hope you give them the attention they deserve.

  • Anonymous

    I’m happy to hear that Dell is dropping the rebates and the sales gimmicks. I tried to buy a notebook computer online about six weeks ago and had to call for sales assistance since the price at check-out didn’t match the price I’d been quoted when configuring my machine. She bombarded me with special offers for this model and rebates for that model and discounts for various configurations and extended warranties for other models, while periodically putting me on hold to "check with her manager" about other specials, then pressuring me and making me feel stupid for not being able to instantly grasp and compare all the various options she was throwing at me and not jumping at what she presented as the best deal, even though it wasn’t for the model I actually wanted. I ended up going with what seemed to be the best deal (Inspiron E1505), and not the computer I really wanted (the smaller E1405). I’m sure it is a perfectly fine computer and the larger size won’t kill me, but I felt like I was scammed into buying something Dell was trying to get rid of. It has certainly detracted from that new-computer excitement I would like to be feeling. The whole experience was unpleasant and grubby.

  • Anonymous

    In my opinion the first thing I’d like to see is a FAIR financing solution. DFS and CIT have got to go. Working with them is like pulling teeth. And it is your reputation they are playing with. Unless of course ripping off the general public is exactly what Dell wants.

  • Anonymous

    Here are the big problems I see.

    1) God-Awful Call Centers – I have had a lot of calls to Dell that have taken hours upon hours to complete.  This is all because of your lousy India call centers.  "Bob" doesn’t know what "Vicki" said would be done, and so on and so forth with the fake named staff.  None have any clue what they are doing and you can barely understand them as they barely understand you.  Bring your call centers to places that actually speak English.  I’m not going to go on about it since the other hundred or so posts talk about it as well as on the thousands of websites.

    2) Legacy Ports – You have been eliminating ports from your computers.  PS2, Serial, and Parallel are all gone. Although many users don’t need serial and parallel, some do, and they should be there for those who need them.  PS2 should definately still be there, it is tried and true and works perfectly for mice and keyboards, and also doesn’t consume 2 of the limited USB ports (more on that below).  What happens when your keyboard needs replacement (or you don’t like the one you get, more on that below too), you can’t buy one in the store because nearly every standard keyboard is PS2, which means you can only use Dell keyboards, or expensive wireless ones which not everyone wants.

    3) USB Ports – USB is the standard for connecting devices to a computer.  Your older ATX computers used to have the keyboard and mouse connect via PS2 and they had 4 useable USB ports in the back on the lower end products and 6 on back of the higher end products, now the newer BTX computers have 4 useable USB ports in the back on the lower end products and 5 in the back on the higher end.  Now the PS2 ports have been eliminated (see above) and the mouse and keyboard are relegated to USB connections, which makes for only 2 useable USB ports on the back of the lower end products and 3 on the higher end products.  All of your competitiors have more useable USB ports in the back than you offer.  I am not including the front one in my count because I rarely (if ever) use them, and if I were it would only be temporary, since it would look ugly with a mess of wires dangling out of the front of my computer.

    4) Firewire – This should be standard to include at least one if not two firewire ports.  Compaq and HP include them on the lowest bargain systems, so should you.

    5) Keyboard – Your PS2 keyboard used to be great.  It was one of the selling points to me.  I loved it – the near silent keys, that had great tactile feedback and were soft to press, but responsive as well. Well…your new USB keyboard is none of that.  To be honest, it sucks, big time.  It feels cheap and performs cheap.  Every key on the keyboard rattles away as you type.  They keyboard is nowhere near responsive or silent.  Everything feels lifeless.  And since it connects via USB and the exclusion of PS2 ports on your computers, it is near impossible to get a non-Dell wired keyboard.

    6) Junk software –  To be honest, I think that it is dispicable that you find it necessary to install all the bloatware (junk software) on a new computer.  It takes hours to uninstall.  One computer became corrupted after uninstalling your junk, and I had to send it back for a refund – which caused Dell to lose money.  All the pre-installed software trials cause a lot of software problems.  If all this software were not installed, I am sure it would eliminate about a third of your tech support calls.  Do you really think that by giving me a trial of AOL 56kbps dial-up, that I’m going to pay $25 a month when the trial is up, when I can get high-speed DSL 768kbps for $15 a month? Do you think I will use a trial of Picture Photo Album (~$30), when I use PhotoShop (~$700).  What makes you think that I want Musicmatch on my computer.  I use iTunes.  Your current slogan is Dell…Purely You.  Well, all this junk software that I DO NOT want is not purely me, but Purely Dell.  I don’t want to have to spend precious hours uninstalling everything only to have failed uninstallations, fragements all over the hard drive and registery, software conflicts, and to top it all off, have Windows become corrupted and have to send the whole thing back – which wasted time and money.  Since you are paid to install this crap by the software companies, I would rather pay more when ordering a computer to not have it installed.  Have an option: "click here to have no preinstalled bloatware — add $25".  Another option would be to provide the programs on a disc with a brochure explaining why I would want them and let me be the judge of what I would like to install on my computer.  When I purchase a computer, it should be mine and not Dells anymore – I don’t like the Google toolbar at all, but the only reason its there, is so Dell can get revenue from Google sponsored sites you visit.  My purchase of a computer makes it mine, not Dell’s to make money off of.

    8) Reinstallation Discs – You used to provide all the necessary discs in the box for Windows, drivers, DVD software, etc., and have since changed to not including them and just putting a poorly developed partitioned ghost image on the hard drive instead.  Also, the partition takes up valuable space on the hard drive and only restores the system to the out-of-box condition with all the junk bloatware software trials again.  This is not good.  Many like to have a clean install of Windows without the bloatware that you install or like to have assurance that they have discs in case of a hard drive failure or upgrade so they can reinstall everything onto a new hard drive.  By not providing those discs by default and for free, all of that is not able to be done.  I still can’t understand why you charge $10 for a Windows CD-Rom other than to help your bottom line – a CD costs about 1 cent to manufacturer, and should be included with the my computer.  I paid for Windows, I want the disc for it, I paid for a DVD burner and software, I want the disc of the software, etc.  

    8) Mouse – I know this is minor, but why on earth do you continue to have a ball mouse standard (except to charge the extra $10 for an upgrade).  Ball mice are obsolete – this is the 21st century.  The optical mouse should be standard.

    9) Media Card Reader – I know this is minor as well, but of every one of your computers that has a media card reader, every media card reader rattles away.  I have noticed this at all of your mall kiosks, friends computers with it, etc.  Find a way to tighten it up so it doesn’t rattle when the fan revs up.

    10) Close down your mall kiosks – This would help your bottom line slightly, but would help the consumer more so.  You see, when a company has a presence in a state, the company must charge sales tax for any sale in that state.  By Dell opening kiosks in nearly every state now nearly everyone has to pay 6-9% over cost of the computer which they didn’t have to in the past.  Not having to pay sales tax on a $1000 purchase ($60-$90 tax), was a benfit and would steer customers to you since they could save on tax over pruchaseing at a store where they would have to pay it.  Now that savings is gone.  Another reason Dell is losing customers.

    11) Go back to black and silver – Stop making those ugly white (E510, XPS 200, 400) desktop computers and laptops (E1405, E1505, E1705, etc).  The silver on them is nice, but the white has got to go.  Maybe two tone silver with black accents, or black and silver (like the E310 and B130).  I mean, right now, they look like kitchen appliances.  Think about it, most computer devices are black or silver, your keyboards, mice, monitors, etc, are black and silver, and yet your desktops and notebooks are white and silver.  The computer just doesn’t match anything with those ugly white shiny sides (desktop) and trim (notebook). Yuck!

    I hope Dell can get their act together and go back to being what they were: A computer company who built a quality product and was there before, during, and after the sale.  Go back to being cutting edge and have a good solid reputation.  Be there for the customers, not the stockholders.  Go back to what you were, selling quality computers at good prices and supporting them with quality service.

  • Anonymous

    I am encourage that Dell is taking steps to at least listen to some to the criticism that in my view is costing them business.

    As an IT manager, I have been purchasing Dell servers and desktops for 5 years now and in summary I think it is excellent kit but I now do not use the Dell support and I prefer to use (and pay) a local company, we need fixes quickly whether it is hardware or OS related.

    Generally I was happy with the support that we had from the Irish support teams, they were patient and good humoured and we had no communication difficulties. My experience of your off shore call centres is very different

    Some of my support calls would make a great comedy sketch, I spend a lot of my time doing support internally, so I do know some of the issues involved and therefore some of the troubleshooting procedures required. But last year I spent two separate calls of almost an hour to a remote call centre (India?)  to try and convince them that I had recieved a new projector that had a dud bulb.  

    I just wish I had the presence of mind to record it – it was a classic

    On a serious note – Quality of support has already cost dell business, our sister company will just not deal with Dell again due to their server support & that has been the case for 3 years now, from my point of view I consider Dell kit to be good value for money but the support is just not even worth considering for me – life is too short 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I think what I am reading is that everyone is forgetting how companies can offer low, low proces that they so demand…. Endorsed software that is preloaded on the systems… Have an issue with it? Purchase Latitudes that only come with the OS.  Thanks for spending the time to research though, all of you complaining really have a place to talk…

    TO:    Number Six  – you may want to be careful quoting directly what a Dell Tech rep said when you are not dictating word for word at that moment.  Your remembering what was said is not submissable to quote directly. if you are displeased please list it as something that was discussed in a less formal form. I have never had that sort of issue with Dell Tech support with my company, but I suppose it all falls back on research… Dell offers an enhanced support that gets nothing but US Dell Techs and that is offered on every PC and Laptop.  

    That is why you call the reps at Dell… So that they can assist you with the knowledge about their procduct that you obviously do not know….

    I did that and never have been more pleased…

    I have dealt with HP and unless you fork over some serious dollars, you have to go through a reseller that may not have to keep their business up to any certain "customer" oriented standards…

    good luck. it’s hit or miss.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that: as much as you may dislike Dell, the grass is not always greener on the otherside…. especially when you are talking a much larger (revenue based) company that has even less time to care about you.

  • Laura_Bosworth

    Steven,

    You provided a really great list of items that we should be (often already are) thinking about.  Be on the lookout for folks from our design teams to respond to many of your points in future blogs, such as legacy and USB ports and the look and feel of the systems.  Also, take a look at Michelle Pearcy’s post “No Bloatware, Please” that talks about the steps we are taking to reduce junkware.

  • Anonymous

    I am a student at Central CT State college doing a project for my management systems class. My group decided to use Dell as our "problem" company, specifically focusing on customer service/call center issues. I appreciated Laura’s original posting, but where’s the follow up? There’s 2-3 weeks of comments from real customers and she hasn’t aknowledged one of them, except for the suggestions on software/design improvements. What about the real problem of unhappy customers?! I hope that Dell takes all of your comments seriously and actually improves!

  • Anonymous

    To Whom It May Concern,

                                          I have read many blogs and can see that are alot and i mean alot of customers that are not happy with the service they have been receiving. Laura if you are a director of Dell have you told your top level management on how customer’s are feeling. It is time for Dell to restablish it self as a cutting edge company that tries to meet or exceed the customers expectation. I will give some hindsight views on how to improve your services and I hope Dell takes notice especially those executives who so far do not care what customers are wanting.

    Solution 1. Dell needs to bring call centres back to US or UK or even Canada as one blogger suggested. Dell needs to have 2 or 3 types of services. The first is to solve normal issues such as faulty LCD, WiFi card not working etc etc. The second, should have a different number so as soon as a customer rings ot would be answered straight away by a technical advisor that knows everything possible with qualifications to a reasonable standard regarding Dell products. The third, is for those customers who pay for the premium service they calls should be answered straight away not wait. Regarding segmentation, Dell should have professional well mannered speakers/advisors that can accordingly speak to government officials, business men/women with confidence to try and meet their requirements. Its not difficult, there are people that you could employ to improve the service but i would recommend to Dell its time to change to the 21st century and use the IT skills/software at its disposal. Dell is entering a period where volume orders are targets rather than customer service. The drop of market share to its competitors is because Dell marketing to operations is not fucntioning properly. Its time for Dell to use the Direct Model properly and the executives must stop thinking about numbers and should itself realistic targets.

    Solution 2. Maybe it is time to hand the magic wand to a new CEO. Someone young, enthusiastic that is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Someone that is going to use his/her business acumen skills to the potential. It happened with IBM in the 80’s and 90’s im sure Dell need to think about new management and also to outsource or sell some of its areas that are causing the problem.

    Solution 3. Either ditch the Inspiron range because selling laptops that are made of plastic, have alot of problems with sooo many junk software such as 30 day trials. The customer does not want this. they want a reliable system that would operate but if problems arise they can be instantly solved. Dell needs to target the Inspiron range properly like it does with the XPS/Latitude and Precision range. Dell needs to compete in the home user segment the same way with the XPS/Latitude and Precision range. Sell for what the money is worth paying for not for some dodgy service and notebook. Or give all the operation to Alienware to solve for the consumer market and Dell can market itself as a dealing with the Precision/Latitude and XPS.

    The XPS is very attractive but needs more models to make it more consumer/professional orienated. I suggest Dell starts to make more 15.4", 14.1", 17.0", 19.0" and 12.1" notebooks with all ranges consisting of high quality graphics card from ATI or NVIDIA. I advise that they do not use an integrated graphics for this range because then it does not look premium or the high end as Dell perceives it. The notebooks needs to be made from magnesium alloy or something sturdy/strong. Look at Lenovo on how they segment their notebooks for their businesses and consumers. They make it simple to choose with all clarified by what the consumer or business needs/wants.

    I have no qualms about the Precison and Latitude range as they are well segmented and marketed.

    I think Dell has soo many managers, they should delayer some of its staff so there are managers not too many which then causes alot of problems. Dell needs to sort its business structure so that communication between middle managers can communicate with high authority easily. There needs to be a feedback form for all staff to complete with confidential wriiten on it. The reason is to improve business service with suggestions and ideas that can bring success back to Dell like in the 90’s. The paper should be circulated in all departments and should have post to put them in. The top managers then can look at them and try to identify why the staff are having alot of problems and why business is slowing down. This should be put in tables and charts with a presentation every quarter to identify and resolve issues. I think the big directors need to use the intelligence/skill they have properly and treat different customers accordingly.

    I hope this will help, I could have wrote more but time does not let me. However i hope dell take my suggestions seriously because i am a consumer that normally purchases from Dell but now i have second thoughts because of the service. It can ruin Dell’s reputation.

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Hi Wendy, I apologize for the ordering issues you’ve encountered.  Please send another comment with your e-mail (not to be published) so that we can contact you directly.  Thanks in advance.

  • Anonymous

    The writer asks, "Where do you want to start?"

    How about at the beginning?!!

    At the very most elementary and basic of customer service experiences.  Which in my experiences is the root of Dell’s problems.

    Dell Service is not getting the simple stuff.

    And I know as I in the midst of my own worst customer service experience ever, and it is with Dell.

    It should have been quite simple really.  I simply ordered printer cartridges for my Dell printer.  I order things online all the time (even groceries), so I know the routine and I also know how things can go wrong.  But that’s when a company has the opportunity to win me as a forever customer.  And Dell hasn’t even come close to doing that.  In fact, Dell has lost me as a customer forever.  

    My order was never delivered.

    The customer service reps were not only NOT helpful, they were clearly reading from a script, and when asked anything that wasn’t on the page they were looking at, they’ had to go check.  Oh, but they were polite, formally so, but that’s about all.  In my situatiuon, I was told that once Dell received the package back, I’d get a refund.  Well, since I never received the merchandise, I had no way to ensure it was returned.   So then, after checking, the Dell rep suggested I could contact the shipping carrier (as opposed to having the rep contact their shipping carrier, which is I believe what good customer service would do).

    I worked directly with DHL to find out what happened  (they were wonderful, by the way).  Seems the package was damaged and DHL received instructions, from Dell, to return it to Dell.

    But of course, Dell’s service either doesn’t know this or probably more likely doesn’t have a checklist script on what to do in this situation.

    So, I don’t have my credit.  

    Or timely responses.

    And forget meaningful conversations with a service rep.  

    I could probably go on, but what it all boils down is that at the simplest, most basic level, Dell’s customer service is a huge failure.  And if it’s not working at the most basic level, there is not hope of fixing it for more complex service issues.  

    One more note to the writer, and this also has to do with basic customer service experience.  When a customer expresses their disastifaction, whether via the phone, email or even a blog, the company needs to respond.  Directly and immediately.  Even if that response isn’t going to fix whatever it is the customer is unhappy about.  

    Otherwise the customer is lost.  

    I will not ever purchase from Dell again.

  • Anonymous

    I am a totally frustrated customer. Here is my situation – totally a condensed version.

    I have been a Dell customer for years. We purchased an XPS 400 in April as I got a job working from home and needed a faster computer. more memory…and the two hard drives seemed perfect.

    Well, I began my customer service experience over two weeks ago and have probably spent over 24 hours on the telephone. Please note, that when the call center was in the US I never had any trouble with the techs figuring out the problem.

    My screen kept freezing and I was getting a USB port error.

    Well, they had me troubleshoot everything – no problem there – just time consuming. I was passed from person to person and everyone wanted to do the same things over and over again. I even went so far as to erase everything on my system, reinstalled everything and still had the same problem – this was after spending my first 12 hours with tech support!

    I called back the tech’s direct number and never heard from him. Luckily I was then on vacation and didn’t need my computer. When I got home, I began the process all voer again. Had to troubleshoot….they then said it was the motherboard and memory cards and they would send new ones to a tech to actually come to my house and fix the computer. YEA! They promised it would be done by last Thursday (Parts got here Wed.) Well, I called to see if I could get the tech’s number….they aren’t allowed to give it out…they called the tech and left a message…this went on for a couple of days and they finally called the tech’s supervisor and the tech called me. We had the new components installed this past Saturday.

    I talked to the tech and she was wonderful, but she covers 28 cities by herself – what is up with that????

    The system seemed ok, but 20 minutes after the tech left it began doing the same thing again. Well, we had to go school shopping so I began my new oddesy with Dell Saturday night. By the way, more things were not working later in the day – the CD drive, DVD drive, keyboard failure off and on, Ghost can’t read the drives and back up…I called customer care because I just wanted to send this thing back, I was losing time from work and couldn’t afford to keep going thru this. Well, I was transferred to four other people and finally got back to customer care where I started and was told that a manager would have to call me back and it would be Tuesday!

    I called Dell Tuesday after receiveing no call and was transferred around again and finally made it up the ladder. I was told that my 21 days expired – DUH – that I couldn’t return the computer. Then I was told that I could return the computer at a 30% depreciation and no refund on the warranty that we paid for which is good thru April ’08.

    This system was expensive and I was not going to pay $600 – $800 for nothing.

    They are sending a new tower within the next 15 days. That doesn’t help me with my job and I am not a very happy customer. What if the new one does the same thing??? I don’t even want to think about going thru this whole process again.

    After this experience, I will not be dealing with Dell again.

  • Anonymous

    I do have some good friends in Dell working in Customer Care, Tech Support and Sales… and my impression is that those with prior background in Hotel line tend to have better customer response.. as they listen more..

    I did encourage some of my friends did try to buy Dell on the phone but was "turned off" when the sales rep did not listen to their needs.. One of my friend (50 yr old) who was trying to buy a simple Inspiron notebook was immediately turned off when the rep quoted a whopping config with XP Pro and Office.. He only wanted a simple system to replace his older system… at the end.. no deal.. he is prepared to wait till christmas.. could have been a simple sale..

    Perhaps.. a good point to glean from the hotel line on finer points in customer interactions…

  • Anonymous

    Conversations require interaction.

    I see only two ‘statements’ from Ms. Bosworth.  I would be a lot more ‘hopeful’ if I even saw ‘assistants’ saying something like: "jan,and mary,and fred have all referred to xxxx ,,,we have contacted yyy and he/she has told us that zzz is happening"

    Even if it ain’t happening, it would feel better if ‘somebody’ would at least pretend.

    Those of us "out here" appear to be having the same experiences …I have absolutely no desire to speak if I don’t have any belief my words have any effect.

  • Anonymous

    Plain and simple, get people answering the phones and can do more than barely speak english outside of the book their reading their responses out of. Nothing against other races, but it really makes the process slow and arduous when my question doesn’t fall within the 5 prewritten responses they’re trying to fit my question into.

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Networks,
    I hear you and plan on issuing more comments moving forward.  Resolution for customer service issues are taken ‘offline.’  (This post has a a direct e-mail link to the support team.)  Suggestions to the business need time to come to fruition and you can expect Laura to post updates along the way.  Here’s her latest about the ASCI study. ps: Laura is currently overseas but I’ve flagged your comments to her.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe i don’t understand the structure of this site.

    I found some comments from Ms. Bosworth on different a "thread" — one where only ?Directors? post.

    I’ve been to Vendor "focus groups" where the ‘customers’ sit in one group and "tell" their stories ,,,,and all the "vendor people" sit in another group and posture for each other.

    Is this what we have here?

    p.s. Ms. Bosworth’s last comment says she is out of the country

  • Anonymous

    We have the real time clock in our PC’s but Dell is going to upgrade us to Surreal time

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Menchaca, I appreciate your note..

    — please understand that if "we" are expected to speak with people "overseas" in ‘real time’ [[tech support in India(?)]] — "we" don’t understand why Ms. Bosworth ("currently overseas") can’t speak with us in ‘real time.’

    — or even more creative, give her a staff

  • Anonymous

    I have been wrapped up in the whole XPS 700 debacle since June 28th (when my order was placed).  My current ship date is Nov. 8.  This has been, without question, the most frustating and dumbfounding consumer exerience I have ever had.   The most frustrating aspects have had little to do with the XPS 700 delays (I would rather have delayed shipment than a defective PC) and everything to do with the lack of knowledge, access to information, and responsiveness of Dell customer service.  It took me almost 6 weeks after my order to find out there was a delay in shipping the systems.  After two months of customer service frustration and three missed/delayed estimated shipping dates, I was finally transfered to the the dedicated XPS 700 dept.  After being basically blown off by one person ( her advice was " just wait and see, maybe it will ship next week").  I braved the phone tree once more and spoke another member of the XPS team who, after some prodding, looked into my order and told me that the processor and operating system were no longer available and that I could either cancel and replace the order or wait for my order to be cancelled automatically!  I asked her why no one informed me that my order needed to be changed and would never be shipped and her response was silence.  No, "I don’t know", no "I’m sorry sir, I’ll look into it", just dead air!   I was speechless, the end result of the conversation was the cancelation and re-placement of my order and a new estimated ship date roughly 5 MONTHS after I placed the order!  I asked why the order coudn’t be altered instead of cancelled since it hadn’t gone into production yet, "It’s standard operating procedure."  I asked why the order couldn’t be put in with the original order date so that I wouldn’t be at the back of the line after two months of waiting, "It’s SOP".  

    That said, here are some suggestings for Dell based on my experience:

    1.  Inform your customers of any delays in parts or shipping and offer solutions.  For example, if there is a significant delay on a processor or the processor becomes unavailable, offer to let the customer choose an equivalent processor without having to cancel and replace the order.

    That I have to wait three more months and even though I ordered in June will get my PC later than someone who order a week ago is absolutely ridiculous!  

    2.  Give an accurate estimate of delays.  If I am told a delay will be 1month, I’ll probably be annoyed, but I won’t call back every week when my ship date passes to ask why.  This will probably reduce your call volume.

    3.When a customer calls customer service and goes through the process of giving identifying information and explaining what the call is about only to be given a case number and then dumped on someone else’s voicemail, that  case number should mean something.  When a call gets disconnected, routed incorrectly, or filtered back into the automated system, the customer should be able to give that case # to customer service and be correctly routed without having to re-explain the reason for the call.  I have a notebook full of case #s that seem to have absolutely no purpose other than to fool the customer into thinking that someone is working to resolve the problem.  

    4. RETURN PHONE CALLS/RESPOND TO EMAILS!!!  I understand not all calls can be answered and it takes time to respond to every message, but every message should be resonded to.  Since Dell seems so big on "SOP’s, make it standard operating procedure that every message must be responded to within 24-48 hours.  Using the words XPS 700 in a voicemail or email to Dell is the surest way to guarantee the message will never be returned

  • Anonymous

    Well the reason I found this page was DELL continuing poor service. I am not sure what your time line for improvement is but you need to pick up the pace. After trying unsuccessfully to link my DELL AXIM to my new DELL GPS I read on the DELL FORUM that I need to update the ROM. When I did this my Axim would not hard reset. When I called for support I was told I was not covered because a DELL represenative had not told me to upgrade the ROM. After much arguing the representative agreed to ship another unit. Turns out DELL has a policy of shipping refurbished units to replace the defective new units they sell. To add insult to injury the unit I got was dirty. When I called to complain I was told too bad. Even after waiting 20 minutes to speak to customer service I was given a take it or leave it response. Furthermore, the DELL tech people still couldn’t troubleshoot the GPS probelm. My suggestion is fire all of the service people and use the millions of dollars to reduce the price of products. At least then people would feel like they were getting what they paid for.

  • Laura_Bosworth

    Folks: some really great comments here, particularly from those of you with specific suggestions for improvements. 

    I am realizing that for many of you reading this thread, it may seem like we are not answering any of your questions.  Know that we have reached out to folks with unresolved issues that should be addressed.  At the same time, we do have relevant links for you to escalate issues.  

    You all have given us a bunch of great ideas on things to write about and instead of commenting in this thread, we’ve published our responses as blog posts.  Unfortunately, as our blog grows, folks are joining at different points of the conversation and it is getting harder to easily find some of our responses.  So, here is a list of the ones that I think are most relevant to the overall “experience” issues that you all are bringing up.  (I am not linking to the XPS or battery recall only because there are too many posts on them.)  I hope these help:

    Downs Deering has written about things we are doing to make sure we do a better job of fixing customer issues and how we use global sites.  He also talked about a relatively new program that we have reaching out to bloggers who have had a bad experience.

    Michelle Pearcy responded to the hot topic of “bloatware” in No Bloatware, Please.  We continue to do work on this and appreciate your insights.  

    I shared some of the plans and initial progress we’ve made to streamline a variety of processes in Prevention is the Best Medicine, where I talked about improving the rebate and returns process, simplifying pricing, and clarifying order communications.  Another post goes into some details on what we are doing with our phone routing systems in The Telephone System…Getting it Right.  

    I have also written about the formal program we have in place to gather customer feedback, as well as shared some external results that quanitify how customers feel, such as the American Customer Satisfaction Index and the PC Magazine Reader Satisfaction Survey.

    This is by no means a complete list, but each one of these posts was inspired by your discussions.  Some of the technology posts are also in response to comments and thoughts.  So, even though we are not commenting daily on each thread, we are taking your feedback; and making sure it gets to teams who can make changes and use it as the genesis for interesting future posts.

  • Anonymous

    Lets see now… Customer service..  Call in to ask a simple question regarding if the XPS 400 can accept the new Conroe cpu, tech support online said yes, and it was docuemented, than low and behold, it cannot.  

    A number of question from customers to customer care or tech support, and don’t forget sales dept, and the answers are sometimes absolutly wrong……

    Someone needs to train, explain, teach, hire those that know something about computers, and the all important communications between the division that knows what a system can have upgraded, what systems are not gaming systems ( B110 the 2400 the 3000 the 3100 and so on ) to the sales phone site, so customers know what to buy, and what not to buy.  Too many times the sales, the tech support, the customer care individual does not know the answer, and guesses.  Those long timers on the Dell forum know more than tech support or sales.  Why do we have to set the record straight and give the bad news to the new customer that his/her system cannot be upgraded to a better video card, or cpu, etc.  Why is it that we know so much more than those at your end  ?  Pathatic if you ask me…..

  • Anonymous

    Laura,

    It appears that Dell’s idea of a conversation is a BBS where customers can make statements and Dell can read them and act on them if they wish but there seems to be no two way communication. I count roughly 98 posts on the thread and your comments only account for 2 of them. In the half month of July since the thread opened to much fanfare about 84 posts came in during those 2 weeks. In August I count only 14. Has it occured to Dell that it has dropped the ball in yet another one of their customer service areas? Could the post count be down so low because your customers don’t actually think you want to converse? Why aren’t you commenting daily on each thread? Isn’t that the expectation of a blog? The only conclusion I can draw from Dell’s lack of interaction was that someone thought this would be a big PR push (it was) and then it could be ignored like the rest of your customer service problems. We’ve always had the ability to send you emails- I thought this would be more than that. Big surprise!

  • Anonymous

    Laura, After 10 days no response to my post and no further postings. Guess this thread has run its course. BTW it was July 13th when I played the phone game with your CSRs trying to change my DFS mailing address. Guess what? I just got my statement yesterday at the old address. Same old Dell. My next laptop will be an HP.

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Jon Couch: sorry about that.  I’ve noted your e-mail address and will have someone contact you.  Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to add to Jon Couch’s criticism of Laura’s not-so-helpful posting of links for email feedback — the trouble has not been an inability to give feedback via email or phone, rather that Dell seems incapable of responding in both a timely and effective manner.

    I do not share the concern about CSR’s English language abilities.  India is part of the British Commonwealth after all, and I have rarely, though occasionally, spoken with anyone who does not appear to be a native speaker.  I think the problem is one of culture; specifically, it appears that the Dell culture assumes that an apology and a complicated system of transferring customers will either appease or get rid of the problem.

    As an example of the overly complicated system, could someone tell me why I need a case number for every call.  Isn’t the purpose of a case number to actually track the resolution of a given issue across multiple contacts?  I currently have 4 case numbers, or is it 5, for 1 botched order.

    To add insult to injury, I’ve just today received a reply to my email from 4 days ago using the web form that Laura mentions.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the email response came within the hour after I got off the phone with a CSR Supervisor who was able to order the hardware missing from my order.

    While this email response mentions my hardware issues and references the order just placed by a CSR for the missing hardware, it quotes the comment I entered in the web form and proceeds to entirely ignore everything I except the hardware.  Of greatest concern to me is what I perceive to be a possible bait-and-switch strategy, and I believe this emphasizes my point about the problem being cultural rather than linguistic.  I doubt the respondent knows what I mean by bait-and-switch, because I have had to define this for every CSR and Supervisor with whom I have spoken.  Rather than engage the customer, Dell representatives consistently gloss over issues and give canned responses.

    We’ll see if the ‘Escalation Specialist Department’ will call me as promised…maybe someone there can address the silliness of case numbers for every single call and unethical sales techniques.

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Matthew: thanks for the feedback.  I’ll be sure to let Andrew and John know.

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Matt: Thanks for the comments.  I’ll dig for some information on case numbers.  Please let me know if you don’t get a call from Dell.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Lionel.  My post also caught the eye of Andrew Durrett in your Online Community Outreach Team.  While I will reserve final judgment until the necessary screws and cable arrive, I will say that his staff member, John actually listened carefully and addressed my concerns in detail.

    My concerns were addressed sufficiently that I think I should say it does sound very unlikely that I was the victim of a bait-and-switch sales technique.  Rather, it seems likely that Dell’s vendors could use a lessen in maintaining their end of inventory systems.  Neither lean nor customer-focussed and still a problem, but definitely not unethical.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a classic reason why Dell support doesn’t work for everyone. I have a hearing impairment. Consequently, I prefer to deal with support issues via e-mail. Here’s the reply I got today from Dell Support today:

    “Based upon the service tag entered, it appears that your Dell system was purchased in Canada. Unfortunately, you have reached Dell’s Technical Support for the United States. Dell Canada Support is not currently available via e-mail.”

    Thanks, Dell. So much for ‘seamless’ services delivered via the web.

    By the way, my problem is well documented (and shared by others) on the Dell Support Forum. It is too complicated to try and explain on the phone. Those involved are too busy trying to make a living with our computers to spend the hours necessary explaining this. We hoped to reach someone at Dell who can read…

  • Anonymous

    From:  Was-going-to-buy-a-Dell-laptop

    Thank you all very much!!  I am happy that I spent more than two hours, more like three I think, doing my research on warranties for laptops, most specifically Dell.

    Looks like the time I took today has saved me a whole bunch of time, not to mention agony, in the future.  I will not be buying an Inspiron 9400 after all, thank you very much.  Your stories have saved my sanity!

    I am going to Plan B.  And obviously will not recommend Dell to anyone. Ever.  I’ll send them to this Direct2Dell and let them see what their future with a Dell could be like!

  • Anonymous

    From:  Was-going-to-buy-a-Dell-today

    Believe it or not, I am happy that I spent more than three hours, more like four I think, doing my research on warranties for laptops, most specifically Dell.  [I have dial up!]

    Looks like the time I took today has saved me a whole bunch of time, not to mention agony, in the future.  I will not be buying an Inspiron 9400 after all, thank you very much.  Your stories have saved my sanity!

    I simply can’t believe with such a large number of people complaining about the language barrier and scripts and phone techs with no knowledge, Laura has completely ignored this segment of complaints and is not even commenting on it!  That tell’s me that there is no way they are going to be changing this. 

    I have already spent some time on the phone with India… And I was BUYING… I was trying to find out a couple answers that I needed before I hit the ‘add to cart’  ‘buy now’ button, for my laptop.  I couldn’t get him to understand that I needed to know the difference between ‘return to depot’ and ‘limited warranty’, besides the $100 difference in price.  Apparently it has to do with being able to bring my computer in to a local [5 hours away] tech instead of sending it by courier to the depot 12 hours away. 

    But all that doesn’t really matter after reading all this stuff of yours, I am able to see that I would be very fortunate to get far enough in to the repair process that I would actually ever need a repair person… they want every thing done by phone… well I am very computer/ parts/hardware/software/components illiterate.. I am a bookkeeper.  And that’s frustrating enough as it is,  🙂  I don’t need to fix my own computer after I spend $200 or $300 for extra warranty. 

    So I am going to Plan B.  And obviously will not recommend Dell to anyone. Ever. 

    I’ll send them to this Direct2Dell and let them see what their future with a Dell could be like!

  • Anonymous

    The writer asks, “Where do you want to start?” How about at the beginning?!! At the very most elementary and basic of customer service experiences. Which in my experiences is the root of Dell’s problems. Dell Service is not getting the simple stuff. And I know as I in the midst of my own worst customer service experience ever, and it is with Dell. It should have been quite simple really. I simply ordered printer cartridges for my Dell printer. I order things online all the time (even groceries), so I know the routine and I also know how things can go wrong. But that’s when a company has the opportunity to win me as a forever customer. And Dell hasn’t even come close to doing that. In fact, Dell has lost me as a customer forever. My order was never delivered. The customer service reps were not only NOT helpful, they were clearly reading from a script, and when asked anything that wasn’t on the page they were looking at, they’ had to go check. Oh, but they were polite, formally so, but that’s about all. In my situatiuon, I was told that once Dell received the package back, I’d get a refund. Well, since I never received the merchandise, I had no way to ensure it was returned. So then, after checking, the Dell rep suggested I could contact the shipping carrier (as opposed to having the rep contact their shipping carrier, which is I believe what good customer service would do). I worked directly with DHL to find out what happened (they were wonderful, by the way). Seems the package was damaged and DHL received instructions, from Dell, to return it to Dell. But of course, Dell’s service either doesn’t know this or probably more likely doesn’t have a checklist script on what to do in this situation. So, I don’t have my credit. Or timely responses. And forget meaningful conversations with a service rep. I could probably go on, but what it all boils down is that at the simplest, most basic level, Dell’s customer service is a huge failure. And if it’s not working at the most basic level, there is not hope of fixing it for more complex service issues. One more note to the writer, and this also has to do with basic customer service experience. When a customer expresses their disastifaction, whether via the phone, email or even a blog, the company needs to respond. Directly and immediately. Even if that response isn’t going to fix whatever it is the customer is unhappy about. Otherwise the customer is lost. I will not ever purchase from Dell again.

  • Anonymous

    I just cancelled my alienware order.

    3 weeks of lies and abuse.

    If you’re thinking of buying, my advice is LOOK ELSEWHERE!

  • Anonymous

    My story is too long to go into here, suffice to say my issues with Dell are still not completely resolved. 

    It has been, without question, the most frustrating customer service experience I have ever had.

    For details, visit my blog: http://rkosloskey.blogspot.com/

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Reynolds: My apologies for the frustration.  I encourage you to send an email to our Customer Advocate team.  They can help address the issue you discuss on your blog.

  • Anonymous

    Well, my issue has finally been resolved.  It was fairly amusing and somewhat satisfying to see the Customer Advocate team be tortured through the same problems that plagued us in our pursuits to have our problem resolved.

    In fairness, the Customer Advocate working with us, Debbie, did an excellent job staying on the case right till the end.  But when even a Dell rep has problems figuring out what to do, and gets dropped calls trying to help us resolve the issue, you have to wonder what it will take to fix the core problem facing overall customer support at the company.

    Today’s adventure in customer support has also been cataloged in my blog for your review.

    http://rkosloskey.blogspot.com/

  • Anonymous

    Hi All…I needed a video card replaced on a two week old system. Here is the latest from the tech support guy who ordered a new card from me. Please, give me your thoughts!:

    Hal,

    The reason the box says refurbished is that under Federal Law, no part can be labeled as “New” if it is not shipped in its original packaging. Since Dell buys in bulk, once the items are removed from the pallet, they have to be labeled as refurbished as they are no longer in their original packaging. No, we do not specify “refurbished” on a part, but it is due to this Federal Law which is why it is labeled that way.

    Thank You,
    XXXX
    UID: xxxxxx
    Case: xxxxxx
    Original Message Follows:
    ————————
    (Tech’s Name):

    Just got back home on Tuesday and saw the DHL package which was
    supposed to be a new video card. The outside of the box is marked
    very clearly “REFURBISHED” with a date of August 22, 2006. I am not
    very happy about this so, I have not opened the box.

    My preference (call it what you will) is to have a new card since
    this computer is only two weeks old. I am sure you did not put in a
    request for a refurbished card…did you?

    Thanks XXXX…I will wait to hear from you.

    Hal

  • Anonymous

        Hi, I recently bought a laptop e1405 at dell..More abt my woes and consequent Cust Support here.
    I perfectly understand, things could certainly go wrong..and your exchange system is in place..
    But the one intriguing point was.. I spoke to a tech support & and another second  level tech support.. Both helpful and competent.. (inspite of the long wait times..) And finally was transferred to customer services..which seemed like an endless wait.. And i hung up…

    Point 1. I am assuming, the call wasn’t answered, because the cust serv for small business is from 7am-7pm CT and i was transferred outside that time.

    Point 2. Everytime, my call got transferred, he asked my service tag & call back number .. Isn’t it the same session and Call centers can capture such allied meta data and transmit them along with the call ..

    Ideal scenario :
    Me: hello, I am calling abt yada yada, my service tag is yada yada..
    tech supp 1: ok mr xyz, can i call you back in this number you are calling from.. (abcde) [ from ANI -call id]
    me: No thats my board number, the last 4 digits would be abcd
    tech supp 1: transferring you to tech support 2
    tech support 2: (gets a screen pop along with my ticket, & call back number.. And confirms with me before proceeding..)
    me: yes thats correct.. (if this information is necesasry for any transaction, like cancel, exchange, etc, you can authenticate user at that point..)

    By the way, your IVR call flow is good. But speech recognition for asian voices is bad..

    I hope you are already moving in this direction…

  • Anonymous

    Here is an actual presales exchange that I just had using the online chat feature on the Dell.ca sales website. Did my presales questions get answered? No. Customer service at its best? No.

    You be the judge:

    10:10:10 AMSystemInitial Question/Comment: I am pricing an Otiplex 745. Why is the price for the AS501 $40 when included, but $39 if bought separately?

    10:12:16 AM You A second question, why is the price of 2007FP $449 when included, but $399 if bought separately?

    10:12:20 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 well in that case you can by that separately

    10:12:30 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 I’m not very sure why the difference is

    10:13:42 AM You A third question doesn’t the Optiplex 745 come with a standard keyboard included in the price? It only seems to offer high-end keyboards as choices.

    10:14:21 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 no it does not come included

    10:14:21 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 Is this system for personal or business use?

    10:14:31 AM You Business use.

    10:14:40 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391ok

    10:15:27 AM You How do I order a standard keyboard with this computer?

    10:16:21 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 what is the base price of the computer you are looking at

    10:17:15 AM You $678

    10:18:21 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 ok

    10:19:35 AM You Abhishek, still there?

    10:20:01 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 yes

    10:20:20 AM You Any more comments on the questions I asked?

    10:22:01 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 I’m checking the options available

    10:22:41 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 you can add Smart Card Reader USB Keyboard

    10:23:51 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 or you to search option in the website and type keyboard you will get the list of items

    10:24:33 AM You Yes, but I don’t want a Smart Card Reader USB Keyboard. I want a standard keyboard such as the Dell USB Entry Keyboard.

    10:26:22 AMCA SALES Abhishek 870391 do you want me to add a normal keyboard once you place the order

    10:27:18 AM You Is that necessary?

    10:33:32 AMSystemCA SALES Abhishek 870391 has left this session!

    10:33:32 AMSystemThe session has ended!

  • Anonymous

    For goodness sakes.  If you are going to hire people that cna’t understand English, can’t you use supervisors from the U.S.  Also why can’t you have a 1-800 number you can call in the U.S.  It seems suspicious to me that you are not given a U.S. (Sorry we can’t do this)  It is the most horrible experience I have ever had in my entire life.  I am going to tell everybody I know to never get a DELL computer.  How you think you can get away with this is beyond me.  Why not have somebody in the U.S. handle this.  Ya’ll are crazy!!!!!

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Gregory: Really sorry this happened. If you were not able to resolve the issue, pleasew send a comment with your e-mail so that we may contact you. I can have someone from our support team contact you to fix this.

  • Anonymous

    As a long-term Dell “Preferred” (that’s what it says on my financial account) customer, I can only say it is time to give up.  My service experiences over the past two years have continued to worsen only.  No improvement.  I purchase for companies I consult to, for my home, etc., under several phone numbers.  As a consultant, I used to be able to charge my clients less of a maintenance fee because I could rely on Dell’s service side to save me time and be effective.  What has been understated here, though time is mentioned often, is the VALUE of that time.  It now costs me considerably as I waste time with voice mail, options that make little sense, and people who cannot effect change.

    The final straw was when ordering a notebook for my son for this Christmas, my order was sent to an unknown individual in Mississippi, yet charged to my “Preferred” account.  Four and one half hours of time spent after seeing online my order signed for in Mississippi, being insulted by some service reps telling me my customer number was not me and they could do nothing, receiving evasions instead of answers, being told a replacement order would be made, then could not be made due to security reasons, being told a special case manager would contact me and didn’t……well, you get the picture.  It is time to re-evaluate the value Dell provides and start recommending a competitor for our needs and my clients.

    The best way I can fully illustrate the issue is on one occasion where admittedly, my temper was sorely tested, the service rep asked me, “What do you want us to do?”  I responded with, “What anyone else in service would do, which is treat me like the Preferred account holder you say I am.  If you had purchased the notebook from me and I had shipped it to someone else and charged my account, I would find a way to issue the replacement, move it up in queue, and get it to my son by Christmas if I had to overnight it at my own expense.” 

    Clearly, out-sourcing without empowerment was great for Dell’s margins but the ultimate cost will likely be the fall of another major American corporation paying lip-service to the terms customer and service.

    It’s the old saying, “Word of Mouth can kill you!”

  • Anonymous

    Msg to Glen T ,,,I am experiencing similiar issues with “Chat” — I’m thinking that the Chat Tech has a 20 minute timer — he/she must get past that to get “credit” — I have requested elsewhere if this is the key —

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Beth: My apologies for the frustration. I will share your comments with someone in support who can help once we have a way to contact you. In the Note section just below the comment box, I added boldface to the last sentence to encourage people with specific product or service-related issues to use the resources in  Contact Us.

    That said, we are happy to reach out to you directly—just need some way to contact you. If you would please submit another comment and enter your e-mail address in the e-mail field, I’ll have someone contact you directly to help get your issue resolved.

  • Anonymous

    After an impossibly frusterating experience with DELL customer service a couple of weeks ago, I took the time to write a detailed message for this board. It contains no profanity and is not “off-topic commentary”, yet it still has not been posted. I keep re-submitting  and somehow my thoughts never make it past the moderator. It’s a good thing DELL offers a physical address where I can send my comments to manangement in letter format  instead…oh wait…they don’t do that either. Nice!

  • Anonymous

    After some hard word and lots of phone calls with lots of people at Dell, I finally talked to someone that could help.  One e-mail here [email protected] help a ton.  The person I spoke to after sending this helped me with options and with a accurate time line of when my solution was doing to be implemented.  Took longer then I wanted, but satisfaction was ultimately gained.

  • Anonymous

    I have a homogeneous Dell environment at my office that I am responsible for and have had for several years, mainly because of Dell’s business support and online management tools. Traditionally I have had few or no problems, with the exception of long calls routed overseas. The basic tech knowledge is good, and the overseas reps are friendly and patient but the language and comprehension difficulties for server environments are a real drag. The calls inside the US for comparable issues resolve much quicker. Spending time to jump through script hoops to get a call ”escalated’ back inside the US support phone tree seems isn’t cool considering the investments we’ve made in Dell as a partner. Right now I am on a 90 minute call to get a replacement part and technician sent out to install it (part of the service contract we renewed), which is what I requested from the rep in the first 5 minutes of contact (this is a recurring issue with history and the replacement and tech install was a suggestion from a prior, now closed support ticket on same issue.) How do I as a customer get around this time vortex? I actually like talking to people in other countries and don’t mind thick accents, but ESL reps have comprehension issues that impact time management. Could there be a consistent group number to call for previously established issues and relationships?

  • Anonymous

    To Gregory Mason:

    One of my clients experienced a similar problem to yours. His small business account somehow got cross-linked in the Dell database with another account. For YEARS, each time we made an on-line order with Dell, the initial transaction would go through, but the followup confirmation e-mail would never arrive. Eventually, the order would be silently cancelled, because the cross-linked account holder would tell Dell that they had not ordered anything. In one case, his order was cancelled because the client’s credit card company wanted confirmation before authorization, but he was never contacted by either party.

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Becky: My apologies for the runaround. Can I ask you to submit another comment with the e-mail address field completed? I can have someone from the support team contact you to get things squared away.

  • Anonymous

    The service I received when contacting Dell for help is why I am typing this response from a MacBook.

  • Anonymous

    I have been a long-time customer of HP and it never crossed my mind to switch. After some technical and mechanical issues with my current HP and numerous calls to out-sourced call centers–and poor customer service, I decided to give DELL a try.

    I’m not sure I am confident that the big name that I’ve heard so much about regarding good customer service and great computers is really the same company anymore.

     I am disappointed after reading all the posts that Dell has succomed to the sub-standard service and support that so many companies have fallen victim to.

    Tell me why I should buy a Dell!! What guarantees do I have as a consumer and investing my hard-earned money into your product and not have the service and support that I pay for? I know there are no guarantees in life, but there should be a bigger emphasis keeping customers happy–happy customers leads to return customers!!

  • Anonymous

    What the future holds can only be speculated about. Whatever the capability of the future technologies, the best implementations will be lean and will relate to the right care at the right time in the right place using the right technology. WBR LeoP

  • Anonymous

    It’s February of 2007, and the customer service I have experienced with Dell is horrible to the point where it would be funny if it was not so infuriating.  Along with a general lack of competence among Dell representatives, I have even repeatedly had Dell representatives make statements to me that later turned out to be false. 

    If you’re reading this statement and you’re undecided about whether to purchase a Dell, here’s one consumer who is warning you that his experience with Dell has been awful.  Not only did Dell produce a piece of garbage that I happened to purchase (just google Inspiron 5150 and Lundell Settlement), they lost my computer when I sent it in for warranty service.  After over two months and nearly one dozen phone calls, I am continuing to attempt to get my computer back, fighting misrepresentations and dilatory tactics by Dell representatives.

  • Anonymous

    Recently, I had the misfortune of dealing with misplaced order (error on Dell’s part). After talking/emailing Dell’s customer service 8 times (!) to correct their error, for total of 4 hours of phone calls (including hold time), I gave up and demanded full refund. The process was incredibly frustrating — and I maintained my composure at all time — with one representative transferring me to another, which often meant another 20-50 minutes on hold. At the end, I asked for simple refund of the price difference between the part I ordered and the part I received. Dell’s representative had the audacity to offer roughly half the amount, and in store credit form.

    The refund process itself took full 70 minutes. And in the process, the service representative asked for my email several times. They had my customer service number, so why do I have to repeat my email several times?

    So, this is it. I am switching to Mac.
     

  • Anonymous

    While your statements have all the right spin, I seriously doubt we will see anything improve. I have bought several Dell desktops and notebooks over the past year but it is very unlikely I will buy anymore. The support from Dell is simply awful. Every time I call I wait and wait and finally get some person in India that hasn’t got a clue and can’t do anything but read the same script over and over again.

    I get transferred between people and disconnected or sent to busy or non-existent Dell phone numbers.

    It took me several calls to get the Dell Dollars I was supposed to get for 2 PCs in January and probably cost more in my time than they were worth.

    I also bought two desktops in January that were advertised as Vista ready with the Dell-recommended video card. I now find out that the video cards won’t support the Aero interface. Thanks a lot Dell!

    The best customer service I have seen in years is when I call about my IBM servers. I speak to actual Americans AND they have answers.

  • Anonymous

    Ok after an odyssey that spanned 5 months and three continents Dell did resolve my problem; for which I am grateful.  I realize we as customers do in times of flustration  traumatize CSR’s, but we have paid our money and in some cases time and money and expect support.  I do want to thank those at DELL USA that did resolve my problem.  Later this year when I upgrade to a new desktop DELL will get my full consideration.  Again ‘THANKS’

  • Anonymous

    George: It wouldn’t be fair to generalize Indian population as a whole. English is their primary language in nearly all urban schools (secondary in rural) and only language used in college entrance exam. They may have accents and not familiar with American slangs, but English is not their weakness. Main problems with Dell’s India-based customer service are (1) scripted response (most of the time, I feel as though I am talking to automated knowledge base system), (2) poor training, and (3) lack of enthusiasm (it seems excellence in customer service is not promoted nor rewarded — no customer service evaluation survey, for instance).

  • Anonymous

    Dell decided to cut costs by oursourcing their help desk and technical support services to India. The problem with this is that they took a bunch of oridinary Indian citizens, taught them a little English, and then had them start answering calls from the US. I doubt any of these people had ever owned a computer nor had any of them ever worked on a help desk before. What they should have done was to hire Indian people and had them relocate to the US for a while to learn the business and the language. Then when they returned to India they would have had a clue to what was expected of them and to know what US customers expected of them. There’s a saying that Dell should take note of…you reap what you sow.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I am soo relieved to have so many others that have had the same unacceptable service as I have. Dell, your customer service base is rapidly eroding you realize -The good news is that we know what we need to do.  Well, when do you plan on doing it? Not now because you take no accountability for the continuing unacceptable service level. I have spent two days on the phone with people who can’t even comprehend simple english. I called to cancel items I ordered less than 48 hours before. I was told with the lessor value item that they would credit my account and I could keep the item but for the second order of $300.00 they could not credit me because they didn’t have a shipping #. How is that my problem? I love being told by a customer service rep that he is going to put me on hold so I am going to have to wait or that I just like to talk??? What?? Gee I don’t know if you could comprehend simple english maybe I wouldn’t have to repeat my self for 45 minutes- all I was trying to do was cancel an order. Laura that is how you are improving your service level? It’s sad you have to publicly em brass a multimillion dollar company in order to be acknowledged as a customer. Gee Laura, yikes a spike in calls – maybe because you have to call several times to hopefully get some one you can actually help you- so far after three hours over two days I have lost that battle and you have lost a customer for ever.

    PS Laura- Maybe you should switch to a business model that works and update your resume…..you will need it soon.

     

  • Anonymous

    I want some one to help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I am contacting my states attonerys office ……..

  • Anonymous

    This is my fifth call to you MF call center……I WANT SOMEONE TO HELP MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

     

  • Anonymous

    Why do you think DELL has slipped to HP lately? Or Gateway?

    You can actually get ahold of someone who SPEAKS- E N G L I S H at these companys, and they actually try and help resolve your problem.

    Dell is a Dinosaur whose time has passed. Find a reliable mainstream company that provides customer service in practice and not in PR gibberish.

     

  • Anonymous

    I think you need to use rural American people for your customer support. I refuse to use any company that uses foreign labor for jobs that Americans should be doing. If you want to employ Indians, then move your business to India and incorporate over there. India has one of the largest and strongest Communist parties in the entire world. If that is what you want to support, you can do it without my dollars.

    Many companies are also using China for support…gee,…in spite of all the human rights violations. I guess the Almighty Dollar takes away the sting of those violations.

    So go ahead and support Communism, foreign workers, and various other governments who really hate the U.S. and are hell bent on our destruction. Your products have suffered quality issues for years. You will be known as Packard Bell 2.0.

  • Anonymous

    Just switch to Mac folks..it’s the best thing I ever did, and I no longer have to talk to India. Someone above brought up a good point. Laura, maybe you should re-think the aspects of customer service, and then polish up your resume…judging by the reputation Dell now has..you may be in the marketplace for a job soon.

  • Anonymous

    Wow.  I’m just glad that so many others have had the same horrible experience with Dell’s so-called customer service.  Ms. Bosworth, where in this blog do you mention that you are going to bring customer service back to the USA, so that people will contact Dell, and actually be happy with the results?


    Wait, you don’t mention that.  It seems that this is just what you learned to do is business school, writing a blog with words like “Yikes” “Wow” that you think will pacify your eroding customer base.  You know, if you really meant what you were writing, it would be nice.  Instead, you seem to think that this blog of fluff is going to satisfy people.  I ditched my last Dell in late 2006, and never intend to buy another one, as is the same with many of my colleagues.

    Bring Dell back to the respectable company that it was when it began, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll receive postive feedback again.

    Good Riddance, Dell. 
  • Anonymous

    Laura, you keep responding here, but never mention the outsourced call centers!  Why don’t you stop your corporate-speak, and answer the questions of your consumers??

  • Anonymous

    After being promised a “90 days same as cash” promotional offer by the sales rep in Tennessee, I found out that he screwed up my order three ways and didn’t give me the promotional deal.  His supervisor made minimal contact with me, but the short version of the story is that I managed to cancel the order and close the DFS account.  I feel mighty lucky that I didn’t actually go through with the purchase.

     I have read on many sites that lots of customers have been hosed by the financing deal.  They are told they qualify, but they really don’t (nobody does), and then they git hit with huge interest rates.  I spent one frustrating week trying to get this all resolved and I consider myself fortunate that I didn’t end up with the kinds of customer service nightmares that so many others have had.

    I’m using a ’99 HP desktop and really thought Dell was going to be a good choice for a laptop.  Not anymore.  I’m going with another HP. 

  • Anonymous

    I have owned several Dell computers and have been very satisfied with the machines themselves.  However, your customer service is atrocious as you can barely understand the actual support staff.  I’m tired of dealing with an Indian call center employee who is apathetic about what he does.  They show no sense of appreciation for the actual customer and do nothing but refer to some manual they probably have for dealing with people.  All I act. accomplished with my calls pertaining to a big hit on my bill due to some financing questions I had, was a sense of frustration and the knowledge that I will never again buy from dell.  Congratulations.  Either hire people that can speak something better than pidgin English or don’t sell to the American public.  They don’t actually transfer me to the people I need to talk to or when I ask to talk to a supervisor, they tell me they are the supervisor.  Anyway, pertaining to my actual problem regardless of my bad experience with your actual support staff.  I’m contacting the better business bureau, the staff writer for the chicago tribune’s local business section, and working on other options.  I don’t appreciate this waste of my time, I might send you a bill for the time I wasted on your call center.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if contacting the BBB would work in this case, as they probably have an entire wing of their building devoted to “Dell Customer Service Complaints”

  • Anonymous

    Over the years, I’d heard many good reports about Dell computers, and had come to view Dell as the gold standard for PC’s.  Confident of their product quality, I seriously thought about purchasing a Dell this year.  Then to confirm the wisdom of this notion,  I began talking with Dell owners, which was most everyone I knew.  One-by-one, I told them of my intentions.  But, to my astonishment and dismay, these people all said essentially the same thing. First, “Dell machines are fine, but the customer service is awful”–rude, difficult to understand CSR’s, etc.”  Second, “I’ll never buy another Dell.”  

    This brings to mind elementary marketing maxims. “You win customers one at a time, but foul up and you can lose them by the millions.”  And, “Nothing sells like word of mouth.”  Of course, the road goes both ways.  Negative word of mouth can finish you off. “Once burned,” etc.  Sad to say, once a customer is lost, they tend to stay that way while  complaining to anyone with ears to hear. 

    The beginnings of a strategy leading to an eventual resolution and turnaround seem obvious enough.  For starters, move Dell’s CSR’s to the U.S., and monitor them to death for consistent QA. Next, buy saturation advertising to promote the daylights out of the change. Admit you seriously screwed up, fall on your corporate sword, and vow to do a whole lot better.  Short of that, I fear Dell is done for.  Mercifully, the product is apparently still well regarded by the public, so there is reason for some cautious optimism.

    Personally, I may still consider buying a Dell, but honestly the likelihood is remote.  It’s a real shame too.  Without superior service, the best product on earth won’t sustain sales growth.

  • Anonymous

    I know you all are working hard to improve tech support and your public image. That said, are trying to excuse your poor track record of customer support with your growth and the many demands of being a successful enterprise.I am so mad! I just want to scream. I chatted with dell on Monday and They said “

    You will be receiving an empty box within 2 business days which will be delivered for shipping the system, and then to contact DHL at 1-877-335-5782
    during their normal business hours Monday-Friday between 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM Central Standard Time to arrange pickup of the system at your convenience. Estimated return time after shipping the system to depot 5-8 Business Days.” Now it is Friday and I try to see when We would be rec’vd said box to send and they inform me that I was suppose to call to get this box sent to me!!!!

     You knowingly neglected the customer in your period of growth. You outsourced all (not some) tech support to a foreign country for the sake of “growth”. (Which, by the way, is also neglecting those in this country who are now out of work.) When things got really bad last year, you removed your tech support number from your website to discourage customers from calling. It’s good to see you are admitting there is a problem, but pushing this off as a necessary consequence of growth is unacceptable! I wish I could speak to an american when I am calling from America!

  • Anonymous

    Just reading through the above comments, by far the most common gripe is the outsourcing of Tech Support to India. Only time will tell whether this message is taken on board by DELL or whether “feedback” exercises like this are principally PR stunts designed to give disgruntled customers the illusion of being listened to. The ball is in your court, Laura!

  • Anonymous

    Hi all: My experience in the last 3 weeks shows that despite Laura’s and Lionel’s efforts, little has changed at ground level.

    I have a burned out motherboard on an Inspiron 9100, (which is so well documented on the dell forums), and trying to get Dell to do the right thing is still a nightmare. Less than 3 years old and the solution they have offered is no solution at all (spend $500 to replace the motherboard, which of course anyone who has followed this topic knows is not a viable solution).

    The links provided by Laura above to the “customer advocate” are a joke… I get the same person as my “customer advocate” as I got when I emailed the Canadian contact for “customer service”. In that email she is listed as the “supervisor” at customer service, her response to my problem “you will have to call technical support, customer service cannot help you.”

    The Oxford Dictionary defines advocate as “a person who supports or speaks in favour” (English spelling).

    She seems to be wearing two hats and neither one fits her…. Laura, Lionel, anyone home?

    The most recent of my many documented contacts with Dell on this issue is when I then phoned Dell Customer Service in Canada and spoke with two supervisors, the first hung up on me after I refused to believe her claim that she was the final authority on this matter at Customer Service. I am willing to bet a search of her Company ID number and name comes up blank!

    The second supervisor was a bit more forthcoming when I explained that I intended to complain to the heavens about Supervisor #1. Supervisor #2 finally acknowledged that there is indeed someone there who can speak with me, who has authority to deal with my problem. This someone works in the “Executive Escalation Team” and although they were going to call me within 72 hrs. I still await the call…..  Sad, Sad, Sad…. duff sigurdson

    For many thousands of dell customers this is wearing pretty thin….duff sigurdson

     

  • Anonymous

    I wanted to update the saga of my experience with customer service. Although I am not expecting a magic wand to fix my problems I do have hope for a satisfactory resolution. But it keeps getting more bizarre by the day!

    Another unusual development from Dell Customer Service, I was contacted today by the Executive Support Officer in response to a complaint I filed with the better business bureau and he offered me %10 off the purchase price of a new motherboard as a resolution to my problem!

    A $40 discount on a $400 part for a top of the line computer I paid almost $3000 for less than three years ago, said computer having a well documented flaw in the design and hardware…..

    This makes a mockery out of the new approach to customer service that is the topic of this thread.

    I never hoped for a magic wand, only fair treatment.

  • Anonymous

    well, let me try this again, apparently my post yesterday offended someone and it has not appeared here. Perhaps dell and lionel are sick of me because I won’t go away… I know it isn’t because i am rude or offensive, I try to keep it polite, although I may sound cynical at times! And I did mention that I felt the “magic wand” is being used instead (figuratively speaking) to beat me down rather than to try and fix my problem.

    So, to update the posts on this topic (above), I wanted to share with dell users the sad saga as it goes from bad to worse.

    I just found out the motherboard dell was so kind to offer at a 10% discount is in fact a “refurbished” motherboard and it is not even in stock! A motherboard, mind you, that Dell removed from the XPS Inspiron line because it was such a turkey… they replaced it with a Gen2 which had a different motherboard!

    Why is it that car manufacturers are forced to recall lemons even when out of warranty but Dell just says in effect “so sad, too bad”

     

     

  • Anonymous

    I see the starting date on this blog and I’ve been dealing with Dell for years via the large company I work for, and let me say this, the customer service has not improved. I wouldn’t say it’s worse, but it’s gotten no better than it was years ago. So whatever monies that have been spent to improve it have had zero ROI value to this customer.

    I have this same problem with a 4100MP and a 3300MP. 12 feet from a 6×6 screen and sitting on an almost 3 foot high table the image is shooting so high I have to stack books underneath the back of the units to bring the image down off the ceiling and onto the screen is should be shooting towards. I see it has an adjustment arm on the front of the unit(s); they really should’ve put that on that on the back feet. Has anyone actually needed the image to display any higher? I mean really, it’s ridiculous. Our NEC & Sanyo projectors have no problems (and must actually be raised a little to display properly) in this exact same set up. I call into Dell Customer Service and they claim they’ve never heard of the problem, which is silly since I read all kinds of comments talking about this exact same issue on projector rating websites, etc. (Dating back into 2004) So anyway, does anyone have a solution to this problem? Stacking books and things underneath the projector really destroys the whole professional look I’ve got going in these meeting rooms. And now I’ve got my CIO on me about it.

  • Anonymous

    TERMINATE YOUR ENTIRE CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT.  IT IS A JOKE!

    SIMPLIFY THE ENTIRE ABUSIVE MESS, WHICH DOES NOT PERMIT PURCHASES, AND IS COUNTER PRODUCTIVE .

    DELL IS THE ONLY BUSINESS I KNOW OF THAT DOES NOT HAVE ENGLISH SPEAKING SUPERVISORS ON DUTY.  THERE ALSO IS NO ONE EMPLOYED WHO HAS ANY AUTHORITY.

    IF YOU TRY TO GET YOUR COMPANY MOVED INTO THE 21 CENTRUTY, MAKE IT USA ONLY, AND I WILL ASSIST YOU – FREE OF CHARGE – IN REDESIGNING YOUR VERIFICATION NIGHTMARE.

    DR PAUL CHECK

  • Anonymous

    Paul C, if you were actually a PhD you’d realize writing in all capitals is just well, to be brutaly honest stupid.

     I generally avoid Dell product’s like the plague simply because of support problems. Plus the quality of the products has been declining along with the price (but thats to be expcted in all fairness)  I personally have no problem listening to someone with an accent pulling ones head out of their asses tends to help with that. (For an example of how much most people over-react to someone’s accent see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za2qEfOlFdc )

    Anyway, what annoy’s me most about my recent experience with Dell’s support is it seem’s their buisness IVR system seem’s to be missing options. My Client ordered twenty 19′ monitors from Dell (higher end LCD line) Well, after 2 weeks one of them had a dead power supply I call this number.. Suprised there is no option even for perpheral’s on their buisness support number (800-387-5757) when I finally get ahold of someone I say i need to setup an RMA (this is their technical line option) and the agent just says “Whats an RMA”….. I state the company name I am with and also say I can provide you with serial numbers for the effected unit as they are monitors and do not have an express service tag number.. I just get cold transfered over to the End User/Retail Consumer support IVR.. Which also has no option for monitors..

     In 3 years I am yet to see any improvement in Dell’s support, if anything its in a steady decline

  • Anonymous

    I want to buy a laptop from DELL. Actually i am in chennai in India. So i require a list of branches available over here. Will you please provide the list. thank you………

  • Anonymous

    Dell Credit does not want you to close your account. Try it…took me two hours and I was disconnected SEVEN times.

    This is after they assured me it was closed two months ago. Never, ever buy a DELL.

  • Anonymous

    I bought a Dim 8400 in 2004…I have been plagued by “not responding” and “blue screen errors” since my purchase.

    I have had three Dell Dim 8400s sent to me to try and fix the problems with operation, and getting the right components ordered…

     In a drastic attempt to gain some attention, I stopped paying my bill to Dell…They wrote off the debt and I have not been bothered from them about it either…

     For free, it’s a great deal, but to purchase, you get screwed.

     And don’t bother trying to get help from India either….

  • Anonymous

    I have been a customer of Dell since 1993 and have purchased 5 computers (All desktops) over the years and have been very happy with your service and have recommended you to everyone I have talked to. Until I purchased a laptop this year!  I purchased this laptop on Feb 19, 2007, since I got the laptop I have hardly used it. It has had issues – I have not been able to locate the CD/DVD drive and it had a driver issue which made it unstable, it was always shutting down on me. I loaded my graphics software and tried to use it once – it was dismal, so slow – so I gave up on it. I agree with Petee that Inspirations are useless, even my old 95 computer with Windows 95 is quicker than this!

     

    I bought the Inspiration 1501 on sale for $549 and added updates, I thought, and the cost came to $766.42 with tax.  I thought I added extra ram to bring it up to 2 GB, extra 20GB added to hard drive ($35) and better screen. I’m not computer illiterate, but I didn’t have time to be bothered with the problems, I have a job to do and just want to get on with it, so I put it aside and didn’t look at it again until recently!

     

    This week my son came up and looked it over and told me that I only received the standard computer that was on sale according to the paper work – so what happened to the computer I ordered and why did I pay so much more for something I did not receive? There were always paper issue at the start too and I didn’t get any until I called it up on the Dell site.

     

    I would like this issue to be resolved and your good name restored, please contact me and let me know what to do about this matter. I either want the computer updated as it should have been the issue with the driver resolved or my money refunded for the updates not included.

     

    The invoice on line is for the standard Inspiration 1501 – which is what I received – so why was I charged more ($708) for an item that was on sale for $549.

     

    I have chatted on line and called both customer service and tech support and I have been handed from department to department and now I am getting frustrated. This is not helping. The customer support is useless, when you can understand them, they are very gracious but that is not helping me. So far I have taken 2 days of my time trying to resolve this issue, and I feel like charging DELL for the cost, never mind the cost loading software that will never work well!

  • Anonymous

    hi, I need the imagin or the picture of the  motherboard from the computer dell inspiron 600m how can I take? please tell me a soon is pocible.thank!
     

  • Anonymous

    I am thinking to buy Dell GX270 Pentium 4.0 (Refurbished) for 154.00 canadian dollars for my personal use. Can any body let me know how old this system is, and whether it is ok to buy it. Thanks

  • Anonymous

    This is all well and good, but even if what you say is true there are other issues that fall between the cracks.  For example I am an I.T. professional when I call dell support I do not expect to be treated like a common user who knows next to nothing about computer.  By the time I call tech support or customer support I have already done 99% of everything they have in their scripts.  You need to find away to assess the level of expertise your customers have and tailor your support to each and everyone in a unique manner.  You can not treat people like bubble gum we don’t all taste the same.

     Then there is the issue of your products and practices that prevent knowledgeable user from upgrading the Desktops and Laptops they buy.  To be more specific Dell’s MediaDirect software and the practice of hiding MD in a hidden partition which in turn makes it nearly impossible to clone to a larger hard drive.  Sure if you know what hoops to jump through you can do it, but that means removing MD and using DOS based utility to fix the Master Boot Record by replacing it with a generic one, then using another utility to unhide and recover the partition used by MD.  Once that is done then you can clone the drive.  Why should anyone have to do through that much trouble to increase the size of their hard drive?  The answer is they should not have to and this is something Dell needs to address yesterday.

  • Anonymous

    Gee, how ironic my last "comment" was never posted!

    I won't bother with the details of the previous post except to say it was about substandard customer service & how long I'd been working on resolution. Since then I've emailed the customer advocate & gotten no response.

    In one of the many emails from customer service, I was offered a $25 coupon – I explained that if they really wanted to make me happy send me ink for my printer instead because I can't get the ink anywhere else (No Staples within 100 miles of me) & that the coupon wasn't going to do me any good. I was told "No problem" & that it shipped 1/21/08.

    So here's the punchline folks……They actually charged me for it! So again I have to start with the emails and phone calls to customer service. I'm done with Dell – my products are going to be bought so I can have local customer service from now on!

  • Anonymous

    Is Laura still overseas? How about Lionel? Laura's last post was 2006 & Lionel's was January '07. Guess customer service isn't important to them anymore!

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    AnnieD: I'm sorry if I missed your first comment. And sorry for the problems you've encountered.

    I'll ask someone from Customer Care to contact you to get to the bottom of the issue.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your comment Lionel but it should never have gotten this far! Ever!

  • Anonymous

    The Customer Service Department is a joke.  Empty promises!!

     

  • Anonymous

    Hello , im new here, my name is Lenkaa , i have been reading your site for long , a very nice community 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I recently had a horrible customer service experience thru the call center.  I ordered a laptop online for my 13 year old and paid dearly for delivery charges to get it there as a gift.  Weeks later and I still have not received it!!!

    It seems that the delivery company (DHL) delivered it on March 3rd to somebody that was not me!  Someone without my name signed and took the computer.  When I called customer service to see why my package had not arrived, I was shocked to hear that they had delivered it to my address (which I don't believe because who walks up to someone's door and signs for a package when they don't live there?)

    I was treated badly by the call center and transferred to a few different people.  I was told that a replacement could be up to 2 weeks and a refund even longer.  No concern about the money I spent for delivery!  I am so upset that I could cry!!  I guess that's Dell's version of customer service.  If I ever see this laptop that I've paid dearly for, I will be surprised.  Shame on Dell for all their false advertising about how important the customer is because I believed them, like an idiot!

  • joanne_hamann

    Chanda,

    I am escalating your issue. You should be hearing from someone soon.

    Joanne

  • Anonymous

    hello all…

     

    DELL Rocks….!!!!

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    Kevin: Sorry to hear you're having a problem with Dell support. I'll ask someone from our Customer Service team to contact you soon.

    As far as your other comments, I agree with a lot of what you say. While social media initiatives like this blog have helped us to improve the quality of our service (we've gone from almost 50% of customer feedback in the blogosphere being negative to where it's about 20% negative today), it's clear that we still have a ways to go.

    Thanks for your feedback.

  • Anonymous

    I find it interesting, Lionel, that you will apologize and offer a phone call for the above complaint, but I have been posting about my ongoing, weeks' long problem with customer service all week….and have received ZERO response.

    http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/12/04/36984.aspx?CommentPosted=true#commentmessage 

    We are still spending hours a day on the phone trying to get answers, only to be transferred like a ping-pong ball between Customer Care, Modification, and Financing departments. Customer Care says Modification handles our issue, Modification says Customer Care handles our issue, transfers us back, then to Financing, then to Customer Care…never the same person twice, always the run around.

    Still waiting…. Hey, Kevin, I'll bet you $1000 my experience has been worse.

    Offering a phone call from Customer Service for a problem with Customer Service staff does seem a little silly. I would prefer to speak to someone a little higher up on the food chain. I certainly think the trouble I am having is worth an upgrade to overnight shipping, and I do believe I should be charged the "new low price" that is advertised for the system I have ordered ($700 less and mine isn't even out of production – depending on who you speak with – after weeks and weeks of hassles).

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    LE: No excuses from me. I missed your earlier comments, flat out.

    I'm sorry that for that and to hear you have had a rough time with Dell up to this point. I can see how it might seem that you will get more of the same, but let's see.

    If you are interested in working with me a bit, please send me another comment with you service tag or order #. I will get all the information your three comments over to them.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your efforts, Lionel. In an attempt to not use this forum for my own personal situation, I have a challenge for you that might address my problem in a way that doesn't single me out, since I don't think this is an appropriate utilization of your time. I do appreciate you taking the time to hook us up with someone who can keep track of our order, but to this point we are no closer to knowing when (or if) we will ever receive our system, and have since the last post received 3 more shipment delay notifications. So, this is what I would like you to find out, if you can:

     

    Is this a problem we alone are having, or is it a product-wide problem? In other words, is everyone with current orders for the system we are waiting for also in perpetual "delay" mode, or is it something that is only happening to us?

     

    I look forward to an answer….any answer….as long as it is an honest one.

     

    Thanks again!

    ….still waiting….

  • joanne_hamann

    LE,

    Sorry to hear of your problems. I will have someone check into this.

     Joanne

  • Anonymous

    Gee thanks…. but so far "checking into" the problem has yielded but one answer and that is "I don't know"….this has been the answer for 2 weeks, and before that it was the answer for 8 weeks…. How is "I don't know" an acceptable (and apparently final) response to a customer who has not received what they ordered? How does anything get done there? …..oh wait, I know the answer to that: "I don't know" 

     

    So….when the bill comes and I have still not received every single piece of what I ordered….that will be my answer "Gee…I don't know why you haven't received payment….let me check that account…..Oh, I show here that your payment is in the enveloping stage"

     

    So, when you have "someone" check into it, make sure it is "someone" who has something more than "I don't know" as an answer.

  • Anonymous

    Did finally receive the system, but not the "Quest Envelope" which was to be "shipped separately overnight," and frankly is one of (if not the) the most important aspects of this package. We have been waiting for this part of our order for about 2 weeks now. We're back to making multiple phone calls and getting no answer or solutions. No one seems to know anything about where it comes from or how to check on why we have not received it. How is this possible? I don't know how anything gets accomplished in a business that is run this poorly.

     

    This has been, overall, an extremely frustrating experience from the start, with no end in sight.

     

    …….still waiting………

  • Anonymous

    ……..and?

     

    Still no "Quest Envelope"

     

    Still no one who knows why we haven't received it or where it comes from.

     

    Still no one "checking" anything, including the "customer advocate" who promised to call us with anything she could find, and we haven't heard from her in over a week.

     

    And I still don't know if we are the only customers having problems with this. We certainly cannot be the only ones who ordered this package. We're closing in on the 3rd month of problems with this order.

  • joanne_hamann

    LE,

    Your issue has been escalated. Someone will be contacting you. I apologize for the delay.

    Joanne

  • Anonymous

    Still nothing…..

  • Anonymous

    how to get coupan codes help me  any one plzzz

  • Anonymous

    I have also purchased an XPS m1730 WoW edition, and it has arrived arived over a month ago. My problem is that I have not recieved my "Quest Envelope". I did spend about 2 hours on the phone getting bounced from call center to call center untill I got someone who actually knew, or led me to believe they know about what what the "Quest Envelope" is. Anyways, they assured me that it will arrive, I just need patience. That was 3 weeks ago. Any help, or info as to what is going on would be appreciated.

  • Anonymous

    I have purchased Dell 3100 Pentium in Aug'06. Now the motherboard had a problem , I need buy a new one to replace. Please give me a quoctation and the delivery time (Johor Bahru) for this issue.

  • Anonymous

    I need service center address located in Hyderabad, andhrapradesh, India. My Inspiron 1520 not working at all.

  • Anonymous

    I need the address & the phone no. of the DELL service centres for repair purpose in INDIA.

  • DELL-Todd S

    HI Paveen,

    I would recommend going to our support site, http://support.Dell.com.  There is a small drop down window where you can select your country or region that you are looking for support in.  The pages will refresh and give you contact information for our support groups in India.  If you are looking for a specific location the Dell techs that you can reach should be able to give you the information you are looking for.

  • Anonymous

    This is my first time visiting your site and i must say i like it a lot.
    Your article was an interesting read.
    I will surely check back here more often!

    hooka

  • Anonymous

    I bought a PC a couple years ago and put it on a DFS account.  I made all my payments on time but one.  That "one" was only a day late because I had a moment as we all do.  No big deal I thought, I've been a good customer, I'll call and see if I can get them to lower my rate back down from the 29.99% they jacked it up to.  Boy was I wrong!  I got some person from India to whom I explained the situation and was promptly told that "Dell has no controll over the interest rates, that the federal reserve sets the prime rate".  I was astonished.  Thinking that the person clearly misunderstood what I had said, I repeated the situation and was again met with the same answer!  I tried to calmly tell this person that I was not asking Dell to change the federal rate, only mine, and again I was met with the robotic response of "I'm sorry but Dell cannot change your rate, the rates are set by the federal reserve."  After wanting to absolutely scream with frustration I promptly hung up and completed a balnance transfer to another account.

    This past year I was in need of a laptop.  i had NO intention of getting a Dell and went against my better judgement.  I spoke to someone in customer service asking a question that I can't remember, but this time somehow I managed to get someone who was not in India.  I was astonished.  She asked if I was going to purchase my laptop from Dell and said "oh God no!"  When asked why I told her and she offered me a promotional rate.  Sure, whatever.  I did it however, much to my dismay the printer that showed up was clearly wrong.  I had ordered a laptop with wireless capability, and a printer to match.  My printer has no wireless capability.  (sigh)  I have no interest in calling and dealing with anyone to try to get this matter resolved because I'll probably be told that the federal reserve decides which printer I get. 

    I can strongly say I will NEVER buy another Dell product and sadly not because of the product quality, but because of all the hassle associated with the process.  I found out aboutthis blog today in Good Housekeeping.  There was an article about guess what?  someone else who had nightmare issues with Dell financial services. I'm sure Dell won't care about my pidly little problem that has aged a little; at least this feels somewhat therapeutic.

    I'll be in the market for a laptop for my son in about a year, rest assured it won't  be Dell.

  • Anonymous

    I read this post and had to laugh out loud. On a call with a call centre agent today, I started hearing some of the nonsense excuses that Laura provides in her original blog post … but they were being used to blame ME for a defective hard-drive that Dell put into one of its substandard computers.

    About a year after helping a friend purchase a desktop with extended warranty, it stopped booting – a Blue Screen of Death error occurred very eary in the boot process. The error message suggested the hard drive was damaged. After exhausting the online troubleshooting (not much I could do since the computer wouldn't boot!) and consulting some tech forums I called Dell and they asked me to run a basic test. They claimed it was a "software issue." I patiently explained that no software changes had been made and everything, including the Dell Troubleshooting site, suggested it was a hardware problem.

    Within a few minutes the agent was offering to sell me "software support." I explained that when my friend bought her Dell, she bought a COMPUTER – not just a box and monitor, but a system that included hardware and an operating system. If after normal use and the hardware could not even load the operating system, then this needed to be rectified since it was still under warranty. I said the only "software" that I was having trouble with was the operating system – which DELL sold to me preinstalled!

    So isn't it hilarious that I find Laura claiming that Dell is going to provide "free operating system support." Imagine that – Dell is going to support the operating systems that Dell re-sells and pre-loads onto Dell machines! But clearly they backtracked on this offer, since the agent today said that if I ever wanted to see the OS again, I'd have to pay dearly for it (she actually didn't know how much it would cost but when I asked it if would be $100 or more she wouldn't rule it out). How embarassing that after two years Dell still has't bothered to remove the blatantly false promise of OS support from its own blog! (Laura says "we're not always acting as One Dell" – what an understatement!)

    It appears that Laura's research – conducted with the best of intentions, no doubt – finding that Dell "helps" people install stuff they "didn't even buy from Dell" has been distorted and garbled down the chain of command, so that now whenever a call centre agent hears ANY complaint about a boot issue they are instructed to immediately blame the customer for foolishly installing faulty programs. But in this case there were no such installations – my friend is the most ordinary home-user you'll ever meet and wouldn't even know how to mess around with the boot directory if she wanted to.

    When, after half an hour, I got a "supervisor," she had the nerve to tell me that if I wasted money on "software support" and they determined they couldn't help me (which is exactly what would happen – how can I fix software if I can't even start the machine!), then I would be referred back to her "hardware support" department – even though she said they couldn't help me! Rather than pay money to speak to another frustrating call centre agent, I started searching more help sites and discovered that I might get more information by running the computer's diagostics from the CD that came with the machine.

    Lo and behold! Partway through the test I get an error message indicating that the hard disc is corrupted. It gave me a code, which seems to indicate the exact sector of the hard drive that is damaged, and told me to call Dell technical support. I couldn't believe it – now even the computer itself was telling me that I had a hardware problem that only Dell could fix. So now I know exactly what is wrong with the computer and exactly what needs to be done with it – it would cost next to nothing for Dell to replace the hard drive and everybody would be happy. But that's not the Dell way.

    Instead my friend is going to have to continue paying monthly installments for two more years for a useless machine sitting on her floor. Great work Laura – you and your team have somehow managed to make the Dell customer service experience even WORSE than it was two years ago!

    And by the way – according to your own agents you don't exist. At the end of my call I asked if there was a customer relations department or ombudsperson I could talk to since my problem was obviously not resolved and my friend is extremely dissatisfied about paying for a product she cannot use. They said no such department exists and if I wanted any more help from Dell I'd have to pay them more money. No thanks.

  • Anonymous

    After ordering a new monitor, new memory, new mouse – was told I had a year interest free to pay off… paid one month – min. of $20.00 but, I paid $35.00 and planned on paying off in the interest free year.  Recevied my second bill…. suddently I h ad $200 plus and finance and interest fees applied… called customer service… was on phone at least one hour, talked to 6-7 people, got disconnected twice, told the same info over and over… finally asked to speak to a supervisor… no one could take care of my extra charges… had to be transferred over and over again… finally I said enough is enough, hung up, and wrote a check for the balance I owe… I  have had it with Dell's customer service and it will take a long time – if ever to buy again from them.  I may not know all I should/could about computers but, I know service and the lack of…. Donna Lewis

  • DELL-Todd S

    @ Moureen

    I'm not sure why you can't access the http://www.Dell.com site but it could be because of the version of flash or other software you have installed.   Switching to a different version of IE wouldn't change the effect since both would be using the same flash version.   I would think.  Not positive, though.

    You can call into sales at 1-800-WWW-DELL to contact one of our sales reps and place an order.

  • Anonymous

    I've been trying without luck to access dell.com for a week to order a new pc. But an 'object expected error' comes up each time. I can access HP, Apple, and any other pc company website without problem, but dell.com. I've even turned off all protection and it happens. Went from IE 8 to 7, still no luck. Today is my final attempt to view and order a replacement.

     

  • Anonymous

    CUSTOMER SERVICE IS BROKEN!   I have been insulted, lied to, hung up on, deliberately transferred to people that couldn't help me just to get me off the phone – there is no way to contact these people in writing or get anything that they say on the record.

    I believe there is a reason for this – they don't WANT anything they say or do to be on the record, and they have caused me nothing but misery and heartache in every dealing I have had with them.

    The last time customer service seemed to even be TRYING to do their job correctly and recognize that they could be held accountable was when their department offered chat support.  For some reason, the knowledge that they might be handling issues on the record changed everything …

    All areas of customer service (not to be confused with tech support) need to be overhauled.  There is not adequate communication, adequate knowledge, adequate documentation, adequate accountability. 

    I have three Dells, the first is 8 years old – it is dead now, but still stays on my floor in the hopes that I might someday revive it.  I bought Dell because they were inexpensive, and if you bought it at the time of sale, the hardware warranties and support were good.  But customer service will drive me away – if there are not MAJOR changes made AND SOON, I will NEVER buy another Dell!

    And what is this "Your Tech Team" thing?  I am paying extra money to talk with people who are doing what Dell Technical Support USED to do with any system still under warranty?  Or is the big sales point merely that the agents are located in the U.S.?  I bought a subscription, but I feel like a fool – there are so many knowledgeable tech support agents already working for Dell, especially in their Central America call centers and the Phillipines – yet they are being restricted as to what questions they are allowed to answer now?  They know the machines, they know the answers, but they are not allowed to say?  Everything comes from the script, no matter how knowledgeable the agent?

    I'm very, very tired of being treated like ignorant trash.  Courtesy, respect, understanding that without customers, THERE CAN BE NO CUSTOMER SERVICE DEPARTMENT and hence – no jobs!!!!! would be nice. 

    This past month and a half has made me despise everything Dell. 

  • jim marcucci

    I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I RECENTLY PURCHASED DELL PC. I HAVE HAD NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS. NOBODY CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    IN THE FUTURE I WILL NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING DELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jim marcucci

    CUSTOMER SERVICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT'S A JOKE. THERE IS NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. 

  • jim marcucci

    AMEN TO THAT. LIKE YOU, I HAVE HAD NOTHING BUT PROBLEMS WITH MY STUDIO HYBIRD. I WILL NEVER EVER PURCHASE A DELL PC AGAIN. I WISH I WOULD HAVE COME TO THIS SITE BEFORE I PURCHASED THIS DELL.

  • aberr

    I didn't read all this but I can reply any way.   One thing Dell got it together on is selling.  But once sold then it's hide and seek time.  There is nothing I can get now that I actually have my new computer and am making payment on it.  I had a computer problem and all Dell wanted was more money  for tech support that I was told when I bought the compure that I had.  The computer is good..The sales person was good….,..but the rest of you all are very bad..   and I would hesitate to buy anything from Dell again….You know, it's so bad they won't even give me an itemized statement.  It's just so twisted and crooked and devious there.  You all must pay the sales department an honest wage…then get people off the streets or at the race track for the rest of your business dealings.

  • Lionel_Menchaca

    @aberr: I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with Dell Support. That's definitely not how we want to represent this company.

    If there's still some outstanding issues we need to help you resolve, please send an e-mail here with your service tag and a description of the problems you need help with.

    Again, sorry for the poor experience with Dell Support.