Real People are Here and We're Listening

Real People are Here and We're Listening


The Official Dell Corporate Blog

Real People are Here and We're Listening

Yesterday was the first official day of Dell’s one2one weblog and already Jeff Jarvis and Steve Rubel were kind enough to tell us what we’re doing wrong. Thanks for the feedback, guys.  We'll keep working to get it right.

Shel Holtz weighed in a bit more constructively.  Our intention with this blog is to address issues that are important to our customers. Give us some time and we'll prove it.  Robert Scoble told us to listen, and to link to the folks who don't like us. First step was to launch Dell's one2one. Check. We’re excited to be here, and we welcome your ideas.

Four links and counting.


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  • Its good to read you are listening.  The blogosphere seems quick to condem corporate blogs especially when they (the blogosphere) want these corporate blogs to come out in the first few posts and air all its dirty laundry.  On the flip, corporate blogs can't be effective if they aren't honest.   So, welcome to the conversation.
  • Lionel,
    As I stated in a comment on one of the other posts on this blog, let me first thank you and the other members of the Dell engineering team for chosing a blog as an avenue of communications with your customers, suppliers, peers, and others.  I think we all have a pretty good idea of how effective a tool a blog can lets put these feedback loops to work.

    Specifically, I posted a comment to Ken Musgrave's post on the XPS 700 (You can't get this off the shelf...) It hasn't been approved yet, so I'm copying it below so you can see as well.   I hope that you are serious about listening to customer opinions and making a concerted effort to respond in kind.  

    As a Dell customer of 8 or 9 years now, I've consistently recommended Dell to both family members and friends and have probably been responsible for a dozen or so purchases.  I was also pleased to see Dell computers in use when I started my job with my current employer (to remain unnamed, but my guess is that there are probably somewhere around 12,000 -15,000 Optiplex and Latitude computers in use around here).

    What isparticularly disheartening is the inconsistent and nebulous responses that would be XPS 700 customers have been getting recently. If you are really serious about inviting customer feedback and questions on this blog, then I encourage you and the other contributors here to open a discussion on this topic.  

    ----comment to Ken Musgrave's post

    I realize that this may not be the proper forum to vent frustration about the current XPS 700 delay, I'd invite you to post your thoughts on what's going on with the XPS 700 right now and offer your customers some insight as to why everything seems to be up in the air with the XPS 700.   If you take a look at the Dell Community forums right now, specifically the XPS 700 - General Hardware forum, you'll see a thread about 280 posts long speculating on the causes behind the delay (everything from an aluminum shortage, to Nvidia shortages, to speculation on compatibility with the upcoming 'Conroe'  processor...and on the list goes)
    I do hope that you're aware of all of the commentary and not-so-idle speculation going on in the forum, if not, its disheartening to see that such a loud and (admittedly garbled) message isn't making its way to you.

    I'm patiently awaiting my own XPS 700 and, like others am curious to know about Conroe compatibility (or whether or not i'll be able to change my order once you make an official announcemnet...)  I respect Dell's priveledge to determine its own marketing and sales strategies, but as a Dell customer of 8 or 9 years now, I must admit I'm growing a little weary of the nebulous and inconsistent responses regarding the delay.  As a point of fact, there are 6 different ways for a customer to receive an expected shipping date, and for some customers, all six give different dates...this is worrisome, to say the least. (1. one date in the Confirmation email; 2,3. two different dates on the online tracking site, 4. one date from sales reps, 5 one date from the customer service rep; and 6. a different date from the community forum moderator). "
  • As Apple gets bigger (and maybe a just a little full of themselves) and hardware differences recede between the mac and pc, I'm keeping my eye on you guys.

    If you prove yourselves to be truly listening, you just might one-up Cupertino. When the time comes, I'll be ready to make the switch to a better, more customer-centric company.
  • There we go. It is always nice to know that not only you are paying attention to what people are saying about you, but that you are also willing to honestly and openly respond to your critics. Just be sure that you know how to switch from writing the average communication content, and blog content.

    If you write a blog like you write a brochure, people will treat it like a brochure and throw it away.

    You may be a mega corporation, but humility is always key. I look forward to seeing how the blog evolves in the future.

    Jameson Bull
  • I know some folks have come down hard on you guys already but I'm going to take a wait and see attitude on things. I'll echo what others have said, though, and suggest that you engage your critics early and often. They're going to be the ones that will really show you where the company needs improvement.

    Don't let the PR department put a stranglehold on the content. If your employees are free to be themselves then you'll be able to connect with your customers in a much more constructive fashion.

    Finally, publish a full text feed. Your readers (customers!) want it so give it to them.

    Good luck!
  • Hi guys,

    Welcome to the blogosphere and kudos on responding positively to a bit of snarkiness. Well done thus far. Now let's hope you'll allow negative comments from customers (if you get any) and that you'll respond publicly on this blog!

  • Hi and welcome, from one corporate blogger to another. I don't think I included any links out on my first day of school either, so don't worry. I, for one, don't take that as necessarily an indicator of future link-stinginess.

    Couple of quick suggestions -- how about posting your video bits in a more mac- and share-friendly format like quicktime or an embedded player? On a Mac, having Windows Media Player launch as a separate app is no fun. And WMV clips are harder to pass around and show your friends than some of the alternatives. Just because Scoble does it that way on Channel 9 doesn't mean you have to as well ;).

    Also --- don't just talk straight, but talk engaging, and entertaining and to your audience. A blog is content as much as it is conversation, and you need to consider what your audience might want to read as much as if not more than what you want to say. If you want to reach regular folks who happen to read blogs, I think the content needs to work hard at engaging a broader swath of people. Let a little more hang out; let your personalities, humanity, and the everyday life over there shine through a little more. Take some snapshots that aren't necessarily of your products. And feel free to call me on it if I'm not practicing what I preach over at Earthling.

    Or alternatively, if you specifically want to reach people obsessed with the specs of graphics cards, server architecture, and CPU/case design, (I know a few of those) you might want to make it even more focused and specific.
  • Well, I think both of those guys are providing you strategic blog marketing advice, so I'd say it actually is "constructive."

    But if you were asking me, I'd point out that when I go to your website to buy a server, it's totally broken. The rollovers for the product categories pop up weirdly formatted text, and clicking them doesn't work. Platform: Mac OS X 10.4.7 with Safari. Check out this thing called - it will let you test your site in all the combos you don't own. Then you won't be shutting new customers out just because they don't browse with something you already sell.
  • Another suggestion... put your full posts in your feeds.  

    Your blog isn't setup to make money off of page views, you just want people's attention, so make it easy for us to read it...  I'd like to see the whole thing in my feedreader instead of having to click through to your site to "read more".
  • I've had 2 dell laptops and a Dell desktop. I built my own desktop PCs for the past 2 desktops and now I want to go back to a Dell desktop.

    It is about time to replace my Dell 600m laptop.
    What do I want?
    A Dell Tablet PC with the same quality of design, support, and build as a Macbook Pro along with the backlit keyboard, built-in webcam, and bluetooth support.

  • I found this story today on the internet about Dell Machines and keyloggers. Is this true?

    Do you really have hardware keyloggers inside your laptops?

    Signed, a concerned Dell owner
  • This corporate blog is a great idea but I think you are going slightly in the wrong direction.  Instead of using this blog as an avenue to advertise your latest products, why not talk about Dell as a company, what it's like to work at Dell, why people choose to work at Dell as opposed to competitors.. etcetera - stuff that people don't find out from the reviews at Tom's Hardware or in a Dell direct store.

    You also might want to reconsider the use of a creative commons license.   That is to be considered bad marketing practice for the corporate blog of a huge company.

    BTW, there is a footer padding problem in Opera 9.  
  • "We'll keeping to working to get it right."

    Excellent. I'll keeping to reading your blog until you do.
  • is Dell thinking about making an UMPC device? Dell in the PPC world means cheap Pocket PC with good quality. An UMPC made by Dell with the lowest price in the market would be very welcome.
  • glad you're having fun on this pr campaign. i've never used a Dell, and most likely never will give up my macs... :)

    but since both this blog and the following link are so high on, i guess it's a good opportunity to bring up the topic:

    is this true?
    what's Dell's take on this?

  • Glad you're here. But Scoble is right: The first step is to listen to the conversation about Dell that is already going on in blogs. You want constructive advice? Let me repeat...

    This is what I advised on my blog more than one year ago, on July 1, 2005: I said Dell needed to learn "...about how their customers now have a voice; about how their customers are a community -- a community often in revolt; about how they could find out what their customers really think; about how they could fix their customers' problems before they become revolts; about how they could become a better company with the help of their customers. If they'd only listen."

    Your blog policy at the time, the Houston Chronicle's Dwight Silverman found out from your spokesman, was "look, don't touch." But now you're touching. Well, that's good. But giving us a blog that just tries to sell us the wonders of Dell is not entering into the conversation.

    Someone there should have the guts to deal head-on with the now-renowned customer service problem your company has. Be brave. Be direct. Be transparent. Blog about your hold time. About your customer service satisfaction ratings. About your return rate. About your reliability. Go out and quote the blogs that are writing about you every day and then answer their problems, concerns, and questions. Best yet: Ask your customers what we think you should be doing. That would get you respect. That would be a real conversation.

    If you want more advice about what a Dell blog could be and could accomplish, I know I'm one of many who'd be happy to oblige.

  • Good for you!  I'm no fan of Dell (sorry, folks) - but this is a positive step.

    And, yes, we should all remember there are real people on both sides of any transaction (or blog).

  • I applaud your using a Creative Commons license. I think it's appropriate that the site overall would not permit derivative use, but it would be interesting for you to provide some content that was explicitly intended to be hacked up, mashed up, and repackaged. Dell has few opportunities for passionate users - take advantage when you can!
  • Welcome to the Blogosphere. Please excuse those that think they're entitled to tell the rest of us how to blog. Most of us are just excited to see you joining the conversation. The best of luck!
  • I think it's so cool to see you using social software. I would love to hear about how the talks are inside Dell about the new competition from Apple, after their switch to Intel, which allows Windows to run natively on their computers.
  • Looking at the posters, is the One2One.Dell.Com BLOG really (Multiple)2One BLOGs? Blogs that keep me engaged and that I stay subscribed to have a personality because one person is writing all the entries usually, have an open and honest exchange and can be trusted. The reason Scoble has such a huge following is for all of those reasons stated above. The other "issue" with this blog is that it is a corporate URL and prone to PR restrictions. Can you link to Dell employees who Blog or Dell groups that have group blogs? Don't get me wrong, this is a good start. I just want to know the ground rules before I subscribe.
  • "Your comment or rating has been received. However, due to caching and moderation, it may not be displayed right away."

    Oh yea, to really have a One2One discussion, I'd turn off comment moderation. It doesn't look open and honest. If you have good comment spam filtering there shouldn't be any issues.
  • Can you explain this?
  • My main computer is a Dell and even though I experienced no major problems with it, I have to say that when I had to deal with customer/ tech support, I got mostly rote answers.

    Other things that could be improved is such simple things as an e-mail letting the client know that their customer has been shipped and give then a tracking number or code.

  • Good start. But linking to people people who are critical of your blog shows that it's not being run by your PR department and that they are not controlling your content. That seems to be half the battle for a corporate blog. Subscribed.