Dell and Radian6: It All Starts with Listening

Last June, when I took part in the 2008 Social Commerce Summit, I blogged about the impact of customers talking about businesses they either like or don’t like. That trend continues to increase, and the only way to have a good sense for those conversations is to learn how to monitor them in social media realms.

Everyone says they listen to customers. But what does that mean from a social media standpoint? While the concept of listening is rather simple to describe, the actual execution is anything but. The challenge is similar to entering a large sports arena with 100,000 fans. And tens of thousands of conversations are occurring simultaneously. Now increase the number of conversations to millions across every language – that equals the daily web activity.

Dell first started to tackle this challenge back in April 2006 when we started looking for conversations about Dell in blogs. It’s something that I know Lionel has blogged about several times and he’s said we started from pretty humble beginnings. In those early days, I know we started tracking things with a customized Technorati search string and an Excel spreadsheet.

Fast forward to today and it’s even more complex, primarily because there are many more places where conversations are occurring. It’s not just blogs—they’re also happening on sites like Friendfeed, YouTube and Twitter. As an example, the Vostro keyboard issue started in a Flickr discussion thread.

Over the last couple of years, we looked at a lot of services to help monitor this growing amount of activity. Many of those services do specific pieces pretty well. But until recently, we’ve hadn’t found a good way to monitor all of them collectively—to get a good feel for both the individual voices and the bigger picture of what those voices are saying.

These days we’re using a web-based tool called Radian6, and it’s a big leap forward compared to our early days in monitoring. We’ve been working with the team at Radian6 and are pretty excited to be part of what’s happening next.  Radian6 and Dell share the same approach to social media.

  • Listen to your customers
  • Join your customers online wherever their conversations are taking place
  • Help your customer tell their stories

In this video, their CEO Marcel LeBrun discusses how Radian6 sees brands participating online in new ways.

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17 thoughts on “Dell and Radian6: It All Starts with Listening

  1. Yeah, right… Tell me about being transparent…

    Dell could start acting with NVidia and releasing information like serial numbers of the faulty GPU's.

  2. Yeah, right… Tell me about being transparent…

    Dell could start acting with NVidia and releasing information like serial numbers of the faulty GPU's



  3. I cannot find anywhere else to make this comment; so I will do so here.

    This Ceo talks about resolving issues and listening to your customers.

    Sadly, I have been trying to deal with Dell Customer service in Canada- and have been advised that because my laptop was purchased more than 30 days ago, customer care cannot help me and I need to speak to technical support. Because my particular problem was not covered under warranty, technical support told me to talk to customer care..who told me that they can't help…I would like to complain to someone however, apparently I can only do so if it's within 30 days of purchase otherwise customer care does not care.

  4. This needs to be repeated a third time…

    Yeah, right… Tell me about being transparent…

    Dell could start acting with NVidia and releasing information like serial numbers of the faulty GPU's




  5. R.Schacter: My apologies for the difficulty you've faced trying to get support. I will have someone contact you directly.

  6. Thank you all for the support…

    Still nothing about the recall or anything. If nVidia has already informed it's shareholders about all the losses due to all this issue, I wonder where is it gonna put that money… How about giving it back to Dell and Dell could make what it's suposed to do: replacement!

  7.  Its interesting how this thing just came up on the blog.. If you go to the Blog that announces the 8800 SLI replacement plan for the M1730 ( ), there are costumers there that havent received their orders after 3months of being placed and yet noone has come out to face up and give them some kind of reasoning for this. Can you imagine paying 1000+ dollars for a replacement video card and having to wait for 3 months where it has been delayed and delayed and delayed?!?! I just feel so sorry for those people.. Not to mention the fact that they are being replaced because DELL advertised the M1730 with 8700's as being a beast of a computer for gaming when IT IS NOT. This is not a practice a powerful company like DELL should be doing. This is just aweful.

  8. More the better,

    Yeah, right… Tell me about being transparent…

    Dell could start acting with NVidia and releasing information like serial numbers of the faulty GPU's



    Vostro 1510 (affected by NVidia issue) is less than 30 days old still, couldn't return it because I bought from a reseller.  I don't care what agreement Dell has between it's reseller, it's a DELL.  You should be able to return it to the OEM, period.

  9. I must agree with R Schachter. I am also a Dell Canada customer who is unhappy with customer care. I have been a loyal Dell customer for 8 years now and this year, when I really need customer care, it falls apart. I have spent 2 days trying to find a real person other than someone in customer care (who has not returned my emails or my phone calls) to get my issue handled.

    Is there anyone from Dell  listening or am I just typing to myself?

    North Bay, Ontario, Canada

  10. what a crock…. It has been 5 days since I started my support experience and it is a joke.

    agents for dell tech support have done nothing but tell tales, show phony concern, do not answer my questions and have not fixed the issues and Dell's warranty service providers are just as bad.  One company I was told the dispatch went to does not have it. then another company called me and i am supposed to have the parts, but the parts were sent to a third company. Dell Agent called third company and assured me they had all the parts, and to call them. I did and they do not have the parts, some one picked up the parts but no one knows who or where parts are. The second company is supposed to do the repairs but no parts. And when I spoke to a Dell Agent he admitted that my Customer Care-Next Business day Warranty was basically useless as they cannot provide the service they are selling.

    I am blogging this problem every where I can on the net. Why? Because Dell does not care about customer satisfaction.

  11. I am blogging too. My son's laptop lasted less than 48hrs. Customer service? Diabolical. Tech help? Even with a technician's visit and his request for replacement or refund, I am still sitting here. Calls not returned. Lies and broken promises. Phones slammed down by call centre. No managers or supervisors prepared to talk. Scripted conversations. Wake up DELL.

    Never ever again, and I am spreading the word loud and clear. I left all details on your customer advocate blog. And by the way, you should be monitoring it 24/7. The rest of the world is not having a holiday weekend.

  12. Thats ridiculous… Can't Dell see that this situation is getting worse everyday? I'm no businessman, but I know better than that… As this news goes around the world Dell's next year's profits will reflect the way we – custmers – are being treated now.


    I'll make sure nobody I know buys a Dell or a NVidia product… I'm pretty sure I'll have more and better options then.

  13. I had the Radian6 tool demoed for me a month or two ago; it's a very impressive piece of work. Glad to see Dell using it – especially given the new workgroup features they're talking about on their blog.

  14. Sean,

    Thanks for the post and interesting to see that you have made some serious inroads into "social media monitoring" and started to listen to more customers beyond the walls of Dell.

    Radian6 is a strong tool indeed. We have compared a LOT of them and I can safely say they are one of the strongest indeed.

    For those that are wondering what you can do beyond listening to conversations, here are some insights into "participating" into the conversations:

    Otherwise, has lots of interesting presentations on social media and how companies like Dell are participating in the conversations.


  15. I got a great suggestion from William e Storm .

    Often comments section of blog posts on D2D catch some unresolved customer issues. This blog post is a good example. We do listen and want to help all customers. If you have a technical or customer service issue that is not resolved, then please follow links found on

    This does not mean we will not resolve your issue if you post a comment to one of our blog posts. But it is not the direct path to getting help. Unresolved Issues or email to Customer Advocate with a description of your product or customer service issue is best path to getting quick assistance.

    When we do find a customer that needs our help (on D2D or any blog/site). We work with the customer privatley to prevent posting any private customer information (account numbers, address, phone numbers, email). the team does work behind the scenes at times because customer privacy cannot be

  16. There have been major developments in listening to customers and Dell has gone a good job doing so. 

    The field is getting more complex every day as the net conversation increases.   One not only has to monitor what is said about one's own products but also listen in on what customers want in general via the conversations about competitors products,

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