Laptop Magazine recently called out poor performance from Dell in its blog post on overall technical support for their upcoming annual Tech Support Showdown. That post drew the attention of other sites like TechCrunch and Gizmodo among others.
As I commented on John Biggs’ TechCrunch post—personally, I’m sorry to see that these things occurred. Improving customer service overall was one of our key goals when we launched Direct2Dell and our broader social media efforts in 2006. It’s a topic I was passionate about then, and still am today. And I’m not alone—many Dell employees work hard to provide great support every day. Clearly, in the case of the Laptop Magazine situation, we fell short of that goal.
The problems Laptop Magazine faced while trying to get basic support simply should not have happened. It is true that our support agents are encouraged to provide details regarding warranty extensions in those situations when customers are near the end of their warranty period or are outside the scope of their hardware limited warranty. They are also encouraged to share information about component upgrades or other peripherals when it makes sense. Regardless, in all cases, our support agents should be focused on resolving customer issues above all else. That was reality 17 years ago when I worked in Technical Support just like it is today.
Regarding the sweepstakes, I verified with our technical support leadership that our support teams do not tolerate the use of daily drawings or other one-time offers as part of the support process. I can also verify that Dell has reiterated that message to our support teams and we are currently investigating this instance. If you are a customer who purchased an extended warranty because of a sweepstakes offer like this and would like a refund, please e-mail us here.
Beyond the sweepstakes, we should have done a better job answering Laptop Magazine’s questions. Each one had answers on support.dell.com and other places. To share those:
- How does a three finger swipe work on a laptop? This will vary by system, but we do have detailed instructions via system manuals online. Here’s the touchpad gesture section of the XPS 13 manual as an example.
- How to back up a computer using Dell DataSafe? Here’s the Dell DataSafe FAQ on support.dell.com.
- How to improve laptop battery life? Here’s an article from support.dell.com, and another Direct2Dell blog post on the topic.
Other basic support-related links: Dell’s Limited Hardware Warranty for Consumer products; see the first bullet point on the page for clarification on what’s not covered in software. Here’s the link for Dell’s Limited Hardware Warranty for Commercial and Public Sector products. While I don’t know which machine Laptop Magazine called to get support for, if it was an XPS 13, maybe my post on XPS 13 trackpad gestures could have helped.
One reason why I’m still involved in Dell’s social media efforts six years later is the simple truth that we can always do things better. Over that time, I think Dell’s done a solid job scaling the online support we offer via support.dell.com (something that Laptop Magazine acknowledged in their post) and via the Social Outreach Services (SOS) team. The SOS team supports you via @DellCares and @DellCaresPRO on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere online. That’s the team I work closest to day to day. On average, that team addresses about 3,000 posts a week in 11 languages overall. It’s that kind of effort that earns reactions like this one from Mike Whitmore pretty regularly.
Still, situations like this are clear reminders that we need to get better—not just in one aspect of customer service, but all of them. That’s what we will strive to do.