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The value of listening and understanding business customers online

According to Forrester Research, small and medium business owners primarily rely on word of mouth from peers and colleagues and vendor Web sites for information when researching and comparing technology. With the prevalence of Web 2.0 technologies, Dell is at the forefront of bringing these two worlds together by connecting customers online to share information, conduct research and provide feedback. And for Dell, we have the ability to listen and react to customer needs quickly, both on and off of dell.com. Below are some recent examples of how Dell is doing this.

Echoing Forrester’s findings, we see in our conversations with customers that business owners value hearing how others reached their IT buying decision and the impact it has on their business. That’s why we’ve integrated Ratings and Reviews into our product pages to enable customers to share product experiences and learn from the knowledge of their peers in 15 languages and more than 60 countries. Since 2006, customers have submitted more than 100,000 reviews that our product teams have used to make changes and enhancements on products.

Almost three years ago, IdeaStorm was created so our customers could give us feedback on our products and services. So far, more than 13,000 ideas have been submitted, and Dell has implemented more than 400 of them. Based on three ideas submitted by customers, Dell launched the FastTrack program for quick shipping to get pre-configured popular systems directly to customers within 24 hours. This was a first for Dell and has had a big impact for our customers. Each week, FastTrack ships thousands of units to businesses in the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil and we are looking to expand the program more broadly. What’s really exciting is that FastTrack customers have a higher satisfaction with delivery times.

Just last month, another new program based on an idea from IdeaStorm was announced for an enhancement to the site itself. Storm Sessions allow customers to provide relevant and targeted comments on a current business need. Right now, you can tell us what you would like to see Dell redesign our support home page.

Business technology buyers participate socially online more than other adult U.S. consumers. Almost all (91%) read blogs, view videos, or listen to podcasts online (Forrester). With this in mind, you’ll hear more from us on Direct2Dell and see an increased integration of digital media throughout Dell.com.. Check out my post next week to find out more about how we are sharing advice, solutions and resources online to help you make the right technology decisions for your business.

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